Dickerson grew up in Birmingham, Michigan and attended Cranbrook School, graduating in 1976. He then attended Ohio Wesleyan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He began his radio career at WMAX in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a news anchor and reporter. He also covered high-school football and basketball. He moved to competitor WCUZ in 1982, where he would cover sports for the next six years. Dickerson moved to Detroit in 1988 and WWJ, where he served as a general assignment news reporter and weekend news and sports anchor. He also hosted the post-game call-in show for the station's Detroit Lions broadcasts.
In 1995, Dickerson moved to crosstown competitor WJR, where he held a variety of positions. He was co-host of the weeknight sports call-in show Sportswrap; morning sports anchor; sideline reporter and fill-in play-by-play announcer for Michigan Wolverines football; and play-by-play announcer for Michigan basketball for two seasons.
While visiting with legendary Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell in the WJR booth during the final game at Tiger Stadium in 1999, Dickerson was invited by Harwell to call an inning of play-by-play. The following season, he joined the Tigers' radio broadcast team full-time, calling the middle innings of each game while Harwell handled the rest. Along with former Tigers catcher and color analyst Jim Price, this crew remained intact for three full seasons, even as the team switched radio flagship stations (from WJR to WXYT) at the end of the 2000 season.
Dickerson took over as lead play-by-play announcer on Tigers radio following Harwell's retirement at the end of the 2002 season, working with Price as a two-man crew.
Dickerson has called several events for Fox Sports Detroit television, including high school football since 2002, a Michigan State Spartans hockey game in 2008, and Detroit Titans basketball games in 2010 and 2011.
Dickerson is a longtime member of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, founded in 1948 by pioneering Tigers announcer Ty Tyson. He was honored by the DSBA in 2009 with the Tyson Award for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting, and has been named Michigan Sportscaster of the Year three times (2005, 2006, 2014) by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
During the Tigers' 2016 season, Dickerson moved to the television booth to call several road series for Fox Sports Detroit while regular TV announcer Mario Impemba joined Jim Price in the radio booth, an experiment that was discarded the following season.
Dickerson also appears as the Detroit Tigers correspondent on MLB Network's weekday afternoon baseball news show The Rundown.
On August 5, 2006, Dickerson called Iván Rodríguez's walk-off home run against the Cleveland Indians with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Many Detroit sports commentators declared it as Dickerson's best call as a Tigers broadcaster. It was replayed numerous times on Tigers commercials on WXYT.
"First pitch to Pudge, fly ball, deep to left, into the night... GOODBYE! Two run shot, Tigers win! Oh man! Pudge Rodriguez with two outs delivers. Into a mob scene at home. 4-3 Tigers win!"
On October 14, 2006, Magglio Ordóñez hit a walk-off home run in Game 4 of the ALCS, making the Tigers the American League champions for the first time since 1984. Here's the way Dan Dickerson described the final moments of the game to the radio audience:
"Swing and a fly ball, left field, it's deep, IT'S WAY BACK ... THE TIGERS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!! Three-run, walk-off home run! OHHHHH MAN! Ordonez around third, he's into a mob scene at (sob) home! The Tigers have beaten the A's, 6-3, completing a four-game sweep in one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history! The Tigers, three years after losing 119 games, are going to the World Series! Magglio Ordonez with his second home run of the game. What a sight at home plate!"
On June 12, 2007, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander threw the sixth no-hitter in franchise history against the Milwaukee Brewers, and Dickerson called the final out this way:
"The 0-2 pitch -- swing and a high fly ball to right -- Ordonez going back -- he's got room ... HE MAKES THE CATCH -- Justin Verlander has just thrown the sixth no-hitter in the 107-year history of the Detroit Tigers."
On September 3, 2011, the Tigers completed a rally from an 8-1 deficit against the Chicago White Sox, the second largest in Comerica Park history with home runs in the bottom of the 9th inning, a two-run home run from Ryan Raburn to tie the game and another one of walk-off variety from Miguel Cabrera to win the game 9-8. Dickerson animatedly described Cabrera's home run this way:
"Cabrera against Santos, first pitch. Swing AND A FLY BALL, LEFT FIELD, WAY BAAACK ... GONE!! MIGUEL CABRERA WALK-OFF WINNER! And the Tigers come from seven runs down to beat the White Sox 9-8 with three in bottom of the 9th!! Raburn with a two-run shot, Cabrera into the mob scene at home, delivers the winner. HOW 'BOUT IT?!"
On April 8, 2012, down 12-11 in the bottom of the eleventh against the Boston Red Sox, Alex Avila hit a walk-off two-run home run that barely went over the right field fence to win the game 13-12 for the Tigers. Here's Dickerson's call:
"The 2-2 pitch again. Swing and a fly ball to right field. This one is deep. Ross at the fence. LEAPS UP! IT'S OVER HIS GLOVE, AND IT'S GONE! A HOME RUN! WALK-OFF WINNER FOR ALEX AVILA! TIGERS WIN IT, 13-12! OHHH, BABY! INTO A MOB SCENE AT HOME! THE TIGERS HAVE DONE IT! 3-RUN SHOT FOR CABRERA IN THE 9TH TO TIE IT, WALK-OFF WINNER FOR ALEX AVILA HERE IN THE 11TH!"
On May 4, 2012, down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth against the Chicago White Sox, Jhonny Peralta hit a walk-off two-run home run to win the game 5-4 for the Tigers. Here's the call from Dickerson:
"Thornton sets. The 0-2. Swing and a fly ball, right center field. This is deep. Going back is Rios. AT THE FENCE! IT'S GONE! A HOME RUN! WALK-OFF WINNER FOR PERALTA! FIRST HOME RUN OF THE YEAR! GENERATE THE MOB SCENE AT HOME!"
On August 5, 2012, the Tigers were down 8-5 in the bottom of the tenth with two outs against the Cleveland Indians, but an Austin Jackson double and an Omar Infante bloop single tied the game at 8. Miguel Cabrera came to the plate, and had a 3-1 count when he hit a walk-off two-run home run to win the game 10-8. Here's how Dickerson called the walk-off home run:
"The 3-1. Swing and a fly ball, left field. It's DEEP! GOING BACK IS DUNCAN! AT THE FENCE, AND THAT BALL IS GONE!! MIGUEL CABRERA DELIVERS THE MOST IMPROBABLE CAPPER TO A FIVE-RUN TENTH! AND THE TIGERS STUN THE INDIANS! WALK-OFF WINNER! MOB SCENE AT HOME! AND THE TIGERS WIN IT, 10-8!"
Coincidentally, Miguel Cabrera's walk-off home run against the Cleveland Indians was exactly 6 years to the day that Iván Rodríguez hit his walk-off home run versus exactly the same team, the Cleveland Indians.
On June 30, 2014, the Tigers were down 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, losing to the Oakland Athletics, batting against Sean Doolittle, who had a 0.590 WHIP at the time. After allowing back-to-back singles to Austin Jackson and Alex Avila, Doolittle would get one out before walking Austin Jackson to load the bases. Rajai Davis would then hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game 5-4. Dickerson's call:
"Bases loaded, Tigers are down three in the bottom of the ninth. One out, the 1-0. Swing and a FLY BALL TO LEFT FIELD! THIS ONE'S DEEP! GOING BACK, GENTRY AT THE FENCE, IT'S GOOOOONE! IT'S GOOOONE! A WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH FOR RAJAI DAVIS!"
Dickerson stated he once accidentally said "Long gone!" following a home run and was mortified that he had done so, since he did not want to be perceived as copying the famous home run call of longtime Tigers' announcer Ernie Harwell. So he modified that to the current "Way back.... and gone!" Lately he has been saying "Watch it fly!" for long home runs - often when Miguel Cabrera hits a long home run. "That's easy." after a double play that others would refer to as "Tailor made."
On a strikeout by a Tiger pitcher, Dickerson will often describe the pitch and then say, "He got him on strikes!" Depending on the state of the game, he'll say it with different intensity.
Dickerson lives in Clarkston, Michigan with his wife and two children.
He holds some renown as a charter member of one of the country's oldest rotisserie baseball leagues: The Duckball League of Michigan. Dickerson joined Duckball when the league was formed in 1985 and (finally) won a championship in 2004.
Dickerson tripped on a curb while jogging outside the Detroit Tigers team hotel in Kansas City, Missouri on May 26, 2009. His fall ruptured a tendon in his leg and he was rescued by Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, who saw Dickerson lying on the ground from outside his hotel room window. It was later announced that Dickerson would miss multiple games and return to Michigan for surgery. Tigers manager Jim Leyland stated that he "felt terrible" about Dickerson's situation, and that he wished him well. John Keating filled in for the remainder of the Kansas City series, and Al Kaline did the Baltimore series. Dickerson returned for the Boston series in Detroit the following week.