As a young ticket sales associate for the Altoona Curve, Scott Walker grabbed the attention of his superiors in the organization.
Jason Dambach was Altoona’s director of communications and remembers Walker making more phone calls than everybody else, excelling in a job he considers the toughest in professional sports. Dambach said Walker was always willing to learn and showed an ability to build relationships with clients.
Todd Parnell, Altoona’s general manager at the time, recalls Walker had a gift for connecting with people. When Parnell heard Walker making calls, he heard how convincing Walker was and knew he had a bright future in minor league baseball.
Walker’s future turned out to be with the State College Spikes after spending 2007-08 in Altoona.
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“When I came to State College in 2009,” said Dambach, who took over as the Spikes’ general manager that year, “there was nobody on that staff that I wanted to come with me more than Scott Walker.”
When Dambach took a job as the Frisco (Texas) RoughRiders executive vice president and general manager in January, there was no debate about his replacement. Walker was named the third general manager in Spikes’ history.
“It’s been a blessing the way it’s all turned out,” Walker said. “I love what I do.”
Walker is responsible for the franchise’s financial and baseball operations and oversees the front office staff. The Pleasant Gap native and Bellefonte graduate works with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Spikes’ major league affiliate, and continues to develop relationships in the community.
Walker grew up playing baseball every day in Pleasant Gap and loved seeing the “wacky” promotions at minor league games. The combination led him to pursue minor league baseball as a career.
He started as a box office intern with the Curve in 2007 and understood the job was more about business than baseball.
“You don’t just roll the balls out and play,” Dambach said. “You have to go out and generate the interest in a team, you have to sell tickets, you have to promote the events that are going on to try to fill the seats and that takes a lot of hard work.
“It’s a very difficult job — probably the hardest job that there is in sports is that entry-level ticket sales position and Scott mastered it.”
He approached the job with a competitive nature and unmatched work ethic to make more phone calls and sell more tickets. Parnell saw the potential in Walker in Altoona and expressed pride in seeing him rise from intern to Spikes general manager.
“I feel like I’ve seen him grow up from a little toddler to a full-blown professional adult,” Parnell said.
Walker said he knew he wanted to work in State College when construction began on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
He got that chance when he joined Dambach’s staff in 2009 as the Spikes’ director of group sales.
“He’s the hardest working guy that I’ve come across in my entire career at that point, at that young stage in his career,” Dambach said of Walker’s two years in Altoona.
Walker was promoted to the positions of director of ticket sales, director of corporate sales and vice president of sales throughout his time in State College before becoming the general manager.
Dambach said it was a tough to take the job in Frisco, but he was more comfortable with the decision knowing that Walker and the rest of the staff were ready to step up.
Dambach, who remains involved with the Spikes as the team president, said Walker has grown with each of his roles in the organization and was the right person to replace him as general manager.
Walker is embracing the challenge of the added responsibility that comes with the title.
And he said he just tries to lead by example.
When there were rain delays at the PIAA baseball championships two weeks ago, Walker helped pull the tarp on and off the field.
“Everybody got soaked in the pouring down rain and I was right there with them,” Walker said. “And that’s my M.O. I’m willing to do everything just like everybody else.”
From box office intern to general manager, he’s been a willing learner who has put in plenty of time at the ballpark.
“If I had to calculate the hours, I don’t know what type of apparatus I would need to use,” Walker said.
But he said his job hasn’t felt like work.
“I love minor league baseball,” Walker said, “so I love coming in to work every day.”