Butch Baer was considered a fill-in public address announcer for the state high school baseball tournament in Marshalltown in 1993.
Little did he know then that the fill-in role would lead him toward his 25th year announcing multiple sports for Marshalltown High School.
For more than two decades Baer has announced varsity football, volleyball, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys track and baseball on a volunteer basis at MHS. Throw in his work at the state baseball tournament in Des Moines, and previously Marshalltown, and Baer has announced more than 1,000 athletic events.
The 67-year-old is a 1967 Marshalltown High School graduate.
“This is my way of giving back to not only my community, but also the high school I went to,” he said.
Butch and his wife Mary also had three daughters attend MHS.
A professional approach
Baer works out of his home as a business consultant for a software company. He also takes a professional approach to his announcing. He will often call the opposing school days ahead of time so he can learn how to pronounce the names of the athletes before they arrive.
“The job that I do reflects on Marshalltown High School and my community,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for me to be a professional announcer.”
He often gets compliments that his voice suits the role of a public address announcer.
“Just recently when we played Ames a gentleman from Ames told me, ‘your voice is very good and you did a nice job,’” Baer said.
Marshalltown High School Athletic Director Rollie Ackerman said two words come to mind when he thinks of Butch – “professional” and “dedicated.”
“We are very fortunate to have somebody with that level of professionalism and dedication so many years here at Marshalltown,” Ackerman said. “He is a Bobcat through and through.”
Ackerman said Butch keeps fans “engaged in the game” no matter what the sport.
Part of the volunteer spirit
Baer said he is one of several community members who volunteer their time to help home Bobcat athletic events run smoothly. He said through the years many other volunteers such as Andy Burt, Stacy Galema, Brad Braga, Greg Baughman and Vic Hellberg have also played vital roles, among others.
“This school has a great number of people like that who volunteer,” Baer said. “They are wonderful people.”
Favorite announcing moment
Although he has plenty of great announcing memories, the one game that sticks out for Baer during his announcing days is the 2002 state baseball title game in Marshalltown. The Bobcat team, led by future major leaguer Jeff Clement and future Iowa Hawkeye Mike Mogard, won the Class 4A title over Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“That was a big moment to me,” Baer said.
Front row seat
Baer said he loves that he has a front row seat to see high school athletes who have gone on to play in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.
“I’ve got the best seat in the house,” Baer said. “I’ve gotten to see some of the most phenomenal athletes compete at Marshalltown events.”
Being so close to the game has also forged longtime friendships with coaches, former players, umpires, officials and others.
Baer still remains dedicated to serve the school and has no plans to leave the microphone. He said he would like to continue to announce for a few more years as long as his voice holds up.
“The kids keep me young,” he said.