Meet the Big Train Board: John Daniel

by Staff

Baseball is the soundtrack to summer, and for those who go to Big Train games at Shirley Povich Field, the sounds of the ballpark are sweet melodies to all.

They are as commonplace as seeing John Daniel in the stands during the season. A regular since the club’s 1999 inaugural season, he has missed few, if any, games over the team’s 21 years.

“I think that John Daniel has been to more Big Train games than anyone else,” Big Train founder Bruce Adams joked. “It seems like he’s there every single night.”

The passion Daniel has shown for Big Train is the same he’s had for music, especially the local scene.

“I don’t have a music playing background, but I have a love and an appreciation for music,” Daniel explained.

Daniel is a trustee for the Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, a triennial string competition held in Washington D.C. Additionally, he has served on the boards for the Washington Saxophone Quartet and the Washington Revels. He brought the Revels, a local troupe that retells and celebrates worldwide cultural traditions through music, dance and drama, and Big Train together, having their Maritime Voices ensemble perform at Big Train games for many years.

“He’s a master at putting people together and creating connections,” Revels Executive Director Greg Lewis said. “I don’t know any community that he hasn’t been an important member of.”

An Alabama native, Daniel moved to Montgomery County with his wife, Linda, and two kids in 1976 to work in environmental law. Nearly two decades later, he and Adams first met, not at a baseball game, but in local politics as Adams ran for Montgomery County Executive in 1994. His bid fell short, but Daniel remained Adams’ ardent supporter, which continued into 1999 when Adams spread the word about Big Train through his political mailing lists.

Twenty years later, when Adams reassembled the Bethesda Community Base Ball board, there was one person who fit the Secretary-Treasurer role perfectly: Daniel.

“When I was assembling the board, I thought, ‘Who better than John Daniel?’” Adams said. “He’s a humongous Big Train fan and he’s this wonderful, welcome personality with legal and financial skills who’s in touch with many other Big Train fans.”

He got an immediate yes from Daniel, who had worked the same position for several other nonprofit organizations. The transition of stewardship has made for a hectic last couple months for the BCBBC board, but Daniel has provided a steady presence on the board.

“The opportunity is not something that I had even thought of, I was just glad I was able to be chosen to be in a position to help contribute,” Daniel said.