Mariners broadcaster Niehaus dies at 75
SEATTLE (AP)—Dave Niehaus, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who called Seattle Mariners’ games from their first season through this year, has died. He was 75.
The team confirmed the death Wednesday night.
Niehaus was the voice of the Mariners from their first game on April 6, 1977, through the end of the 2010 season with his golden Midwestern voice punctuated by his trademark “My oh My!” and “It will fly away!” calls.
He was the recipient of the 2008 Ford C. Frick award and was inducted into the broadcasters wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The cause of death was not immediately known. The Mariners were expected to make a statement later Wednesday.
Since the Mariners’ inception in 1977, Niehaus served as an instructor for baseball fans in the Pacific Northwest, a region void of the major league game sans the Seattle Pilots’ one-year experiment in 1969. Adults and kids regularly tuned in on summer evenings to hear Niehaus try and put his best spin on what were among the worst teams in baseball during much of the club’s history.
But no matter how bad the Mariners were, Niehaus never let the on-field product affect his approach to the game. He always brought enthusiasm and drama to some horrible teams, horrible games and horrible seasons.
“All of us in this business, guys, this is the toy department of life,” Niehaus said before his Hall of Fame induction in 2008. “It’s a narcotic. Anyone who is involved in this business, whether it be my end or (the writing) end or the front office end, we’re lucky. We’re lucky people.”
Niehaus got into broadcasting as a student at Indiana. He worked for the Armed Forces Network in Los Angeles and New York before anchoring himself in the L.A. market in the late 1960s and early ’70s, calling games for the California Angels and UCLA football. In 1976 at the baseball winter meetings, Niehaus was encouraged to interview for the lead play-by-play job with the expansion Mariners.