As a teenager I lived in Yuma, Arizona, then the home of the San Diego Padres training camp. I had a little brother who liked baseball: 1+1 = a couple of $5 tickets and afternoons watching the Padres play a new team. My team. The Seattle Mariners.
Being a Washington native (as was my brother), who else would we root for?
Dave Niehaus didn't accompany the Mariners to training camp. There were no professional announcers at those preseason games, and I had no clue who Dave Niehaus was. But he was there, in Seattle, from the very first game.
Since I've moved back to Washington, I've paid a lot more attention to the Mariners than I used to. I've come to realize that, just as Vin Scully is the voice of the Dodgers and Harry Caray is the voice of the Cubs, Dave Niehaus is the voice of the Mariners. He always will be.
I'm sure Rick Rizzs will step up and will do a great job. He always does. But he's not Dave Niehaus and never will be. I'm sure he agrees.
Here for your viewing pleasure: Some moments from Mariners history, being immortalized by Dave Niehaus.
Dave Niehaus has been calling Mariners games from Day 1. He called the first pitch in 1977, thrown by Diego Segui.
Years later he called plays by Segui's son, David.
Niehaus was there, too, for the Mariners 'new beginning' at Safeco Field. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch, selected by the fans for that honor.
Niehaus said that announcing that first pitch was his most memorable moment. He was proud “to be the man to reintroduce major league baseball to this area.”
Dave Niehaus was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. He's actually the first-and-only person representing the Mariners there.
Yes, that will change as soon as Junior is inducted, but Niehaus will always be the first. He knew how huge that was and you could tell he was really thrilled about it.
Dave displayed great humility and respect for the Cooperstown honor.
Watch him accept the Frick award, here.
Watch this video and tell me that Dave Niehaus was not a nice guy or that you wouldn't want him representing your organization.
I love when he stops to check out the item he's signing and comments on it. He just seems like every other fan.
Even Junior knows what a great representative Niehaus was.
Said the future Hall of Famer of his friend: “He is Mariners' baseball. Everyone talks about all the players. We can’t hold a candle to that man."
...it is grand salami time!
Anyone who knows baseball knows that phrase. If you're a Mariners fan, they're the sweetest words you'll hear all season.
Only Dave Niehaus knows how to say it. Never will another Mariners' hit be immortalized in those thrilling words.
As Mariner great Jay Buhner said: "The booth was his home, and he made you feel every pitch, every play. He could call a sunset. It's a sad day for all of us."
I apologize for the video. It's really the only one I could find! If you know of a better one, let me know and I'll switch it.
Every Mariners fan knows what The Double is. The single greatest moment in Mariners history. Edgar Martinez hit a double in the 11th inning of the fifth game of the 1995 ALDS. The Mariners won the game and their division.
Niehaus captured the moment so perfectly. Rick Rizzs said that when the ball left Martinez's bat, he just took off his headset and stood up to watch. It was Dave's to call. He was right.
If you're a Mariner fan, this will still get you yelling at the screen. Niehaus sure could call 'em.
Dave Niehaus throws out the first pitch at Safeco Field.
No one will ever replace Dave Niehaus.
A celebrity death is usually not cause for emotion, but this one hurts a bit. For a Mariners fan, for a baseball fan, Dave Niehaus is associated with some really great moments and exciting events.
Check out this retrospective.
Dave, it's your turn to fly away. You'll be missed, but your great career will always be remembered.