As President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, David Baker’s job description includes many tasks, including the process of informing former NFL players, coaches, and executives whether they received enough votes for induction.
The process is the same every year. Eighteen finalists are invited to the Super Bowl, with four to eight people elected to the Hall. Baker makes the rounds, knocking on every door of every person elected and telling them the good news.
It’s perhaps the best part of his job, especially when he has history with the person.
Kurt Warner is a prime example. On Aug. 5, Warner will become the first member of the Arena Football League enshrined in Canton. Baker, of course, was commissioner of the Arena League from 1996 to 2008.
“For me, Kurt Warner and Brenda, his wife, were pretty special,” Baker said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I knew them when he was an Iowa Barnstormer, and he was just as good a guy then as he is now. He is just as good a guy now as he was then.”
Warner, 46, will be inducted into Canton with Morten Anderson, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson. It was Warner’s third year on the ballot.
In February 2015, Baker told Warner, who was new to the ballot, that he didn’t make it.
“He says, ‘I understand, but tell me, did my buddy Orlando make it?’” Baker recalled.
That Orlando is Orlando Pace. Warner and Pace were teammates in St. Louis from 1998-2003 and won a Super Bowl together.
“He spent five minutes kind of balling me out because Orlando didn’t make it,” Baker recalled. “He didn’t care whether he made it, but he was very upset that Orlando didn’t make it. That’s the kind of guy he is. So I’m glad I finally got the chance to knock on his door. He’s a great human being. It’s an incredible journey.”