Dean Rogers, the longtime public-address announcer for the Portland Sea Dogs, is shown with his son, Mark, at Hadlock Field in 2012. Staff file photo

Dean Rogers, whose buttery-smooth voice welcomed baseball fans to Hadlock Field for the first 19 seasons of the Portland Sea Dogs, has died at age 73.

A member of both the Maine Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, Rogers died from cardiac arrest after hip surgery Sunday.

“He got through the hip surgery OK, but his heart just couldn’t take it,” said his wife, Sharon Rogers. “He had a lot of back issues and neck issues, but he never complained about anything.”

The Westbrook couple would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary later this month.

Dean Rogers worked in local radio for more than four decades, both as a DJ and as a reader of the news. In an industry with its share of oversized personalities, Rogers was remembered as both humble and kind.

“Very kind, thoughtful and considerate,” said a former colleague from WHOM, Sandra Harris Gilley. “Just nice. I think everybody would say that about him.”

“You’ll never find anyone to say an unkind word about Dean because he never say anything unkind to anyone else,” said Tim Moore, who hired Rogers away from WYNZ to work at WHOM and WJBQ. “In a business where there are a ton of egos, and big egos, he didn’t have any of that. He was always self-effacing, always humble, always willing to do whatever he could to help the cause.”

In 1994, Rogers was hired by the fledgling Sea Dogs as their first public-address announcer and he remained in that position through the 2012 season. He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall in 1996, not only for his work with the Sea Dogs but also because he founded and played in the Southern Maine Men’s Baseball League for players 30 and older.

“The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about Dean is, I’m not sure I knew a nicer man in my life,” said Charlie Eshbach, former president and general manager of the Sea Dogs.

“You didn’t have to tell him anything (about handling the job),” Eshbach said. “He was a pro.”

Geoff Iacuessa, who succeeded Eshbach after his retirement in 2018, worked his way up in the organization and worked with Rogers when Iacuessa was doing promotions. Often, there were last-minute changes that Iacuessa had to radio up to Rogers in the announcer’s booth.

“You could give him a little bit of information and he would get on the mic and make it sound great,” Iacuessa said. “He’d make it sound like it had been in the script all day.”

Iacuessa said he has visited a number of ballparks, “and there’s not many people who have the delivery and the cadence and the sound that he did. And as great an announcer as he was, he was an ever better person.”

Dean and Sharon met because their older sisters were friendly. He grew up in Bath and went to Cheverus High School in Portland. She grew up in Portland and went to Deering.

One day he wound up driving a group that included Sharon to Old Orchard Beach, and he gave her a little wink, she said. He told her he’d like to give her a call, but it took him three weeks to follow through.

When he finally did, they spoke on the phone for more than four hours. They started dating in 1966.

Rogers went on to earn a degree in broadcasting from Boston University and enjoyed a long career in radio. They had a son, Mark, who was born with cerebral palsy and went through 18 surgeries on his legs.

“He was there for every surgery I had,” said Mark Rogers, now 44. “Just a wonderful, caring man, always there for my mom.”

In 1999, Mark began working at Hadlock alongside his father, keeping statistics and updating the message board. Sharon also worked in the park’s gift shop.

“He loved the Sea Dogs and he loved working there and he loved working with his son,” Sharon Rogers said.

In 2012, after the death of Fenway Park public-address announcer Carl Beane, Rogers was invited to fill in for a Boston Red Sox home game against the Atlanta Braves. Mark went along, too, and got a tour of the press box.

“I was just so happy for him to get the opportunity,” Mark Rogers said. “He and I obviously loved baseball very much.”

The man sometimes known as The Dean or The Voice will live on at Hadlock Field. During the annual “Field of Dreams” promotion at season’s end, when the Sea Dogs emerge in flannel uniforms from cornstalks strung up near the outfield fence, a heavenly voice repeats, “If you build it, they will come.”

“When God is speaking, that’s Dean,” said Eshbach, who debuted the much-loved promotion at Hadlock in 1997 and the Sea Dogs continue to use the taped version with Rogers. “He can compare notes with the real guy, now.”

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