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Dave Niehaus: 1935-2010

Nov 10, 2010, 8:28 PM EDT

dave niehaus frick

Sad news out of the Pacific Northwest tonight.

According to Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald, longtime Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus passed away from a heart attack this afternoon at the age of 75.

Niehaus was awarded the job of play-by-play announcer before Seattle’s inaugural season in 1977 and remained in that role through the 2010 season.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as 2008’s Ford C. Frick Award recipient and hearts are undoubtedly saddened this evening across the state of Washington.

Niehaus began his broadcasting career in 1957 on the Armed Forces Network.  He was serving in the military and had just graduated from Indiana University.

He broke into baseball in 1969 as Dick Enberg’s partner on the California Angels’ broadcast and eventually began contributing on calls for the Los Angeles Rams and UCLA Bruins.  In 1977, the Mariners wisely recruited Niehaus and made him the voice of the new franchise.  He became the epitome of a fixture, calling nearly every Mariners game that has ever been played.

The M’s haven’t experienced a whole lot of winning seasons, so Niehaus’ calls aren’t broadcast regularly in highlight clips and on baseball documentaries.  But he was an immensely talented announcer and he helped educate one of baseball’s most intelligent fan bases for the last 33 years.

Video-gamers in the 90s might also recognize his voice from Nintendo 64’s Ken Griffey Jr. Slugfest.

When the Mariners beat the Yankees in the franchise’s first ALDS appearance back in 1995, Niehaus shared in the joy:

If you wanted to call someone “Mr. Mariner,” it would probably be Niehaus.  He will be missed.

  1. getoutthemustard - Nov 10, 2010 at 9:06 PM

    Dave you were the best! gAWD WE WILL MISS YOUR VOICE DURING THOSE SUMMER DAYS IN THE BACK YARD.
    Dave RIP.
    Your life was one of hope and laughter. At least you gave me hope. I loved the why you would call a close pitch during a tenion filled moment in a game…
    “Loooow, baaaall 3!” Your voice would so looow, just like the pitch. You were painting with your voice and I WAS THERE! I didn’t have to spend a penny but I was there at the game. You were the Red Barber of the game. There are none better now in the broadcast booth.

  2. easports82 - Nov 10, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    So long, Dave. One of the best story tellers who could make a game come alive. For as dreadful a season as this was for the M’s, turning on MLB.tv and hearing his call made the games better.

  3. bsd987 - Nov 10, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    He was never inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. NEVER. No broadcaster or writer has ever been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in any way, shape, or form. His winning the Frick Award was in no way an induction into anything other than the fraternity of Frick Award winners. That’s all it was. AN AWARD.

    • easports82 - Nov 10, 2010 at 10:08 PM

      Thanks for making that clear in the most calm, sane, non-douche bag way possible.

    • Utley's Hair - Nov 10, 2010 at 10:28 PM

      By nature of winning the Frick Award, he was inducted into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, so not only are you a douche, but you’re wrong, also. Ass.

    • 00jm - Nov 11, 2010 at 1:22 AM

      We know. Shut up.

    • photogal58 - Nov 11, 2010 at 11:22 AM

      WOW!! Can we spell J-E-R-K?????? Mariners Fans just lost a legend. If you can’t say anything nice, stay out of our faces!!

    • bsd987isadouchebag - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:38 PM

      A NW Legend died and your bitching about the baseball hall of fame. You should walk out in front of moving traffic.

  4. Utley's Hair - Nov 10, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    Condolences to the Niehaus and Mariner families. RIP Mr. Niehaus. Say hi to Harry and Whitey for us Phightins Phans.

  5. sportsdrenched - Nov 10, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Sorry to hear about this Mariner Fans.

    Having listened to fellow Frick Award Winner Denny Mathews (The Voice of the Royals since 1969)since I was old enough to be cognizant of baseball I know one day I’m going to hear of his death and be just as sad.

    Guys that are “The Voice” of their teams are a dying breed.

  6. mervert - Nov 11, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    SWUNG ON AND BELTED!!!

    And caught just shy of the warning track.

    Hands down, the funniest thing on the radio and TV.

    RIP Dave, you kept the octogenarians happy for years.

  7. Reflex - Nov 11, 2010 at 2:14 AM

    I said the other day that I hadn’t heard good game calling, but thats not true and I can’t believe I didn’t mention Dave seeing as I live right here in Seattle. It was always great to listen to even if the ‘my oh my’ part was overplayed in radio commercials(it stops being special when you hear it every twenty mins).

    Great guy from everything I’ve heard, educated fan, and just knew how to call a game well. He will be missed.

  8. BC - Nov 11, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    Being a New Englander, I really only heard clips of his work. But the guy was pretty much a legend out west. RIP.

  9. photogal58 - Nov 11, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Gonna miss you Dave!! Even when the going was rough you made the games fun to listen to! It just won’t be the same!

  10. IdahoMariner - Nov 11, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    I’m going to miss that voice telling me all about my boys. RIP, Dave. Thanks for the fun.

  11. nworca - Nov 11, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    One of my favorite Dave Niehaus memories ironically involves his absence. In the late 90s a minor earthquake shook Seattle in the middle of a baseball game. The year before the Kingdome had had some problems with concrete falling off the ceiling. I don’t remember Dave’s exact words, but it was kind of like this:

    “My, the building is shaking, what?,,, what?”… followed by almost 20 minutes on the radio wher the only sound was that of the remaining crowd in the Kingdome chanting “Play Ball!”, while Dave worked his way out of the stadium to the broadcast van outside.

    When I hear “Play Ball”, I’ll always think of Dave.

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