Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dave Niehaus: 1935-2010

Washington and the Pacific Northwest have lost a legend.

Seattle Mariners sportscaster Dave Niehaus, known to many across The Evergreen State and beyond as the voice of summer, died at his home of a heart attack today, his family and the team confirmed this afternoon. He was seventy five.

Beloved by Mariners fans everywhere, Niehaus had been part of the organization since its inception, calling games season after season.

His catchphrases are well-known throughout the region, including My oh my!, Swung on and belted, Fly, fly away! and Get out the rye bread and the mustard, Grandma, it's grand salami time!.

Two of his most memorable calls happened in 1995, when the Mariners reached the playoffs and beat the New York Yankees to advance to the American League Championship Series. They were:
Now the left hander ready. Randy iron hot, the 1-2 pitch....K inserted, it's over! Right over the heart of the plate! Randy looks to the skies that is covered by the dome and bedlam! As the Mariners now are rough! 19 long years of frustration is over!
(From the winner-takes-all game against the California Angels)
Right now, the Mariners looking for the tie. They would take a fly ball, they would love a base hit into the gap and they could win it with Junior's speed. The stretch... and the 0-1 pitch on the way to Edgar Martínez.... Swung on and LINED DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE FOR A BASE HIT! HERE COMES JOEY, HERE IS JUNIOR TO THIRD BASE, THEY'RE GOING TO WAVE HIM IN! THE THROW TO THE PLATE WILL BE ... LATE! THE MARINERS ARE GOING TO PLAY FOR THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP! I DON'T BELIEVE IT! IT JUST CONTINUES! MY, OH MY!
(From the fifth and final game of the 1995 ALDS, describing The Double as it happened in the eleventh inning)

Governor Chris Gregoire summed up our sentiments about Dave in a statement released minutes ago to the press.

“Today the Pacific Northwest lost one of its sports icons. Baseball Hall of Fame member Dave Niehaus will be remembered for his passion for all things baseball, high professional standards and gentlemanly conduct."

"Dave was an institution here starting with the team’s first pitch in 1977. With all due respect to the great Alvin Davis, Dave is 'Mr. Mariner.'”

“My thoughts and prayers are with Dave’s family and friends. I hope they take comfort in knowing how many happy memories he created for hundreds of thousands of fans.”

“I loved listening to Dave Niehaus from the Mariners' very first season," added King County Executive Dow Constantine. "His evocative descriptions and obvious love of the game will forever be intertwined with my experience of baseball."

"The timbre and cadence of his calls had a musical quality that will echo in our collective memory for many seasons to come. I join all fans in mourning his loss and extending our sympathies to his family."

"Seattle has lost a friend," agreed Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. "We invited him into our homes and he was with us when we were joyful about the Mariners and when we were sad. Dave Niehaus will be sorely missed. From now on, there will be just two eras of Mariner baseball: the Dave Niehaus era and everything else."

We at NPI extend our deepest condolences to the Niehaus family and to Dave's coworkers, who are understandably devastated by the loss. Dave is simply irreplaceable... Mariners broadcasts will never be the same. This is a sad day for the Pacific Northwest. We've lost a living legend.

To Dave, we say, Godspeed and rest in peace. As many fans have already said on bulletin boards and in comment threads, now it's your turn to fly, fly away.

POSTSCRIPT: Some tributes to Niehaus:
These are all well worth reading, but as they say, sometimes, there are no words...


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