Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dave Niehaus 1935-2010

The best way for a baseball announcer to endear himself to a new audience is to be with a winning team. You report good news every night and the fans will love you. Piece of cake. On the other hand...

When I first became a broadcaster for the Seattle Mariners in 1992, I joined Dave Niehaus, who had been their voice since day one back in 1977. He said to me, “I figured it out, Kenny. For me to get to a .500 record, the team would have to go 2042-0.”

And yet, he became the second most treasured icon in Seattle, right behind Mt. Rainier. 

Can you imagine how many truly bad, ugly games he called over the years? Not a lot of good news to impart there. The Mariners for the first twenty years were just God awful.

Still, people in the Pacific Northwest clung to his every word. The attraction was not the team; it was listening to Dave. His passion for the game, vivid descriptions, and magnificent voice made any baseball game sound exciting, even a Mariners’.

Prior to joining Seattle, Dave worked alongside Dick Enberg calling games for the then-California Angels. Team owner Gene Autry once said to Dave, “You call a hell of a game. It’s not the one I’m watching but it’s a hell of a game.” Actually that’s only half true. It was the game you were watching, only better. Because Dave had something that so few announcers have today – SHOWMANSHIP. You were not just getting play-by-play, you were being told a tale by a master storyteller. Name me a better way of spending a warm summer night sitting out on the front porch.

Dave Niehaus passed away yesterday at age 75. Like all of Seattle, I’m devastated. We didn’t lose an announcer; we all lost a member of the family. Personally, Dave was the greatest broadcast partner I ever had. I’ve been very lucky to work with some of the best, including four Hall-of-Famers. I greatly respect them all and am eternally grateful for their friendship.

But I loved Dave Niehaus.

Summer will never be the same. And neither will Christmas, at least for me. My yearly tradition was to call Dave on Christmas morning. That’s what the holidays are all about, right? Reaching out to the people who mean the most to you, and bitching about the Mariners’ pitching.

There are many tributes to Dave today, along with replays of his classic calls and glowing testimonials. Nice to see that some ballplayers, like Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner, have already weighed in.

But I’d like to share some off the air memories. No one was more enthusiastic, laughed harder or as often, and looked better in white shoes than Dave Niehaus.

On the 4th of July he always wore this ridiculous red, white, and blue jacket. I tried to get him to wear it all year.

He still would go to movies with me even after I made him sit through Woody Allen’s SHADOWS AND FOG. To this day I still feel guilty about that.

It could be twelve degrees in Cleveland in April and he’d keep the window open in the booth because he felt it was cheating the audience to not be “in the game”. I told him in 1992 this was not good for his health! I was right!

I don’t remember just how it started but whenever the Mariners were down by ten runs or more, Dave and I would sing the “Wabash Cannonball” on the air. Unfortunately, we sang it so often we no longer had to consult the lyric sheet.

He referred to himself as “the Veteran Spieler”.

Three years ago, when I filled in for him, (and that was like Steven Seagall filling in for Brando), he called me after the first inning to say how great it was to hear me again. What made that even more touching was that I was rusty as hell. He called me anyway.

He was a great joke teller. His telling was far better than most of the jokes.

He knew every advance scout, coach, owner, reporter, umpire, official scorer, PR person, PA announcer, organist, clubhouse attendant, pressbox attendant, and commissioner in baseball.

I was forever in awe of the descriptive images he would just routinely toss off. A high pop fly one random night in Baltimore was “a white dot against a black sky”. A ground ball down the line would “rooster tail into the corner”. How did he think of these things?

He knew great restaurants in every town. Some of them have since burned down.

If you worked for the Mariners, he knew your name and your kids' names.

Dave's broadcast booth led the league in laughter every season.

He had several offers to go to other teams in larger markets but always turned them down. He loved Seattle.

On the road he never took the team bus to the ballpark. We always caught an early cab. It could be September, three weeks after the team had been mathematically eliminated, a thousand degrees in Texas with hail and locusts in the forecast, and Dave was at the park four hours before game time doing his prep. Every day. Every game. No exceptions. Ever.

He personally welcomed every new player to the team. In the years I was there, that was probably close to a hundred.

He never refused an autograph, a handshake, picture request, or invitation to emcee a program for a local charity.  

He's still remembered fondly in Los Angeles and he hasn't broadcast there for 45 years.  

No one loved the game or knew the game better than “the Veteran Spieler”.

I was so glad he was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year. And I am so sorry he never got to call a World Series game.

Dave will always be remembered in Seattle. If Yankee Stadium was “the House that Ruth Built”, then Safeco Field is the “House that Haus Built”.

He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, broadcaster, mentor, ambassador, Hoosier, military veteran, citizen, and proud to say – Hall of Famer. I will miss him terribly.

Dave Niehaus enjoyed life and made everyone else’s life more enjoyable.

But Dave, your calculations were a little off.  According to me, your record as a Mariner broadcaster was 5,284-0.  That's well above .500.

65 comments:

James said...

I must have listened to his call of 'The Double' a dozen times last night, I still get chills all these years later. RIP Mr. Niehaus.

Rod Bain said...

Mr. Levine,

Let me pass my condolenses to you and really to the entire Mariner's family, which I am one.

You are right. I remember hearing Vin Scully on the radio skip from Bakersfield calling Dodger games and his national TV work, watching greats like Jack Buck and Jon Miller on TV, listening to highlight calls of greats like Bill King and Haray Caray. But my summers, my childhood, was entertained with voices such as Rick Rizzs, Ron Fairly, Ken Wilson, Skip Caray, Joe Simpson, yourself, but most importantly, the Master himself. Dave Neihaus was the greatest, in his storytelling, in his baseball detail, and his professionalism.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dave at a function in Moses Lake many years ago. His friendliness and interest was genuine, and his storytelling and way to tell it as it is ... that was as genuine as always.

I appreciate your memories of Dave which fill out even more how incredible a person he is.

If I may add one that sums up Dave's passion to the sport he covered, told by Mr. Neihaus himself during a Mariner's game ... he was heading out the door one day to the ball park, and one of his grandson's asked "Where you going, Grandpa?". Dave replied, "I am going to work". The boy questioned back, "You mean baseball?". Dave had a reflective look, and said "Yea, you're right". The epithany made by Dave, released by him so long ago, is that what he did for so many years, was not work at all, but passion, fun, and life.

But we as Mariner fans, Dave Neihaus fans, knew that always about him as well.

BowlingJoe said...

Great tribute, Ken. In particular, those of us in Seattle who have been listening in since 1977 will truly miss this gem of a man.

benson said...

My condolences to you, too.

The world lost a great baseball announcer. You lost a true friend.

And judging by the comments, he made the rest of the world feel like he was their friend.

Yojimbo_5 said...

I'm going to miss "the bump" my heart would make every time Niehaus was waxing folksy about something in that loooooow soothing voice and then blast (SO fast!) to full volume at a hit....the needles on the meters in the broadcast booth must be bent double up there. I'm going to miss that a lot.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Nobody heard it, but in my short stint as a morning guy on Seattle radio, our sports guy Kevin Calabro and I - not having permission to replay his actual calls - would recreate them with sound effects and my really bad Dave Niehaus impersonation. It was still exhilarating for me. I got a tiny hint at how it was for him to do it full time.

And of course he did it for much longer than my eight months there. It must've been a hoot and a half working with him, Ken.

Fly, fly away, Mr. N.

Mark Davies said...

Thank you for remembering this truly great man.

Dave Niehaus was one of the best to ever broadcast baseball. He was a Northwest icon and one of the most gracious men I've ever met. I treasure the memories of the all too short time we had the two of you together trading stories and making even the most painful game a delight to listen to.

This is a huge loss. He is completely irreplaceable.

Craig said...

Ken,

These are irreplaceable memories for a Mariner fan. I was a ten year old boy who built a crystal radio so I could listen to that very first game. What do I hear but that voice and it how it just blocked out everything else going on. You just had to listen.

Dave had something modern announcers just don't, the ability to take you to the game with all five senses. He grew up only knowing the games through the radio and he brought that perspective to every single game, inning and pitch.

He didn't just describe the action, he gave you the sights and sounds around the action, feel of the wind (hence the open window), the smell of the grass and the taste of the cracker jacks. I had Dave's voice in my head the first time I walked into a real major league ball park because he had already taken me with him hundreds of times.

Friends take you to the game with them. We all lost a friend yesterday.

Thank you for your words.

Mike Barer said...

I heard about Dave's passing while on the easy listening station at work last night. I thought I was just imagining it, it seemed unreal.
I met him for the first time last winter at the Hutchinson Awards. I asked him how he can be excited for baseball even in a terrible season. He said that it was because every single game has something unique about it.
Here in Seattle it feels like a wrecking ball just crashed into the Space Needle. But I don't think that we will miss the Space Needle as much as we miss Dave Niehuas.

Michael said...

I didn't get to hear Dave Niehaus that often but, when I did, I knew I was listening to a great broadcaster. I did get to hear him more when he did Angels games with Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale, and they were a terrific trio. I always loved what Niehaus said: "Three of us against Vinnie, and we lived to tell the tale." I've read about him a lot, both from Ken and from other sources, and everybody agreed about what a class act he was. I'm sorry, Ken, for the loss of your friend. I feel almost as sorry for Seattle and all of baseball.

Mr. Hollywood said...

A beautiful, eloquent tribute Ken. Dave is gone but the memories are indelible ... and live on for everyone who ever heard his voice.

Anonymous said...

I just found out about Dave Niehaus this morning in the newspaper and went to your blog. I remember when you were a broadcaster here with Dave. I could tell he really enjoyed having you in the booth. There was a terrific camaraderie between the two of you. And 1992 was SUCH a bad year for the M's with "Plum". You were so funny.
Thanks for being Dave's friend. I love thinking about you calling him on Christmas and talking about the Mariners. And spring training. There's always next year, eh?

Anonymous said...

I will miss the deep baritone looowwwwwwww to describe a pitch that just missed. It sent chills.

I loved when the two of you worked together. The chemistry was great and you could tell Dave was genuinely having fun.

Thanks for writing this, Ken. We will miss Dave terribly.

Matt said...

Ken,

Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Dave Niehaus.

Listening to a ballgame on the radio in the Pacific Northwest will never be the same again.

Anonymous said...

I remember a game in the old Kingdome. You were with Dave and the conversation went to player nicknames. Dave asked you for a name for Ken Griffey Jr. and you said the Arsonist! Dave was laughing so hard, that I believe I heard him live down on the 100 level. I turned towards the booth and watched him take the best part of an inning to stop! He was a great guy.

M.S. said...

Thank you Ken. In the last few years, with the team returned to futility, it meant so much to have Dave call the games-- his joy when a wonderful baseball moment happened, the way his voice was just infused with irritation or even disgust at bad baseball ... and of course, we usually got at least one Wabash Cannonball rendition, as well.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I rarely missed a Mariners broadcast and Dave was a big reason I tuned in. I appreciate the details of his life and career you've provided, Ken, and I share your sorrow, and the happy totals.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

One more thing. Now that Jon Miller is at liberty I think he'd be a good replacement for Dave.

Roger Owen Green said...

We didn't get to hear him that often on the East Coast, but he was universally thought of as not just a nice guy, but a true professional.
My condolences to his fans everywhere.

ratskiwatski said...

Wow... so bummed. Your blog was the first place I went to when I read the unhappy news because I knew you'd write something perfect. You did not disappoint.

"Shadows and Fog"? I'll tell you, friendships have been atomized over much less... thanks again for sharing, Ken

Mike Bell said...

Ken,

I met Dave a couple of times when I was on the radio in Seattle. He was always gracious and made me feel like a friend and colleague even though I'm pretty sure he had no idea I was in radio too. Still. My oh my.

BOB said...

Ken,

You've written some wonderfully descriptive and informative obits over the years, but this is up there with your best (Larry Gelbart).

I'd heard his work, but never knew Mr. Niehaus. After reading your column, I feel like I knew him well. I not only feel your loss, but that of everyone who was lucky enough to know him.

BOB

Kevin said...

If you want to hear classic Mr. Niehaus, listen to him and Rick call Tui's first home run in 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz6cXETvOdI

paul in kirkland said...

Thanks for the tribute, Ken.

Many people are so used to 24/7 TV and sports that they either can't relate to or can't remember a time when it was just you, listening to the radio.

The thing is, it was never just you; it was you and Dave, together. And when the Mariners finally got good and beat the Yankees in the 1995, the loudest cheer BY FAR was when they showed Dave up in the booth. He was just as happy as the rest of us. He was happy WITH us. And we were at least as happy for him as we were for the team or ourselves.

This is just wave one of the blow. Wave two comes in the spring, and then after the first great play where there's no My Oh My, then the first Swung on and belted! And lord help us after the first grand salami of 2011.

To say he will be missed doesn't even begin to do it justice.

I don't know if you read these comments, Ken, but if you do I have a favor. Please call Dave's wife on Christmas this year. I'm sure you were going to anyway, but I'm just asking because we used to call my godfather on Christmas Day, and when we called his wife the year after he died it was very special.

Bye, Dave. Save us a seat up there; I look forward to hearing you again some day soon.

benson said...

Another nice tribute to Mr. Niehaus.

http://thewackinator.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/my-greatest-acquaintance/

Gary said...

I ran into Dave in my neighborhood grocery store in Bellevue, several times. He was always willing to share a Hello, trade quips about rye bread and mustard and never gave the impression that he was in a hurry or had to be on his way.

As a youngster, I remember Dizzy Dean w/Pee Wee Reese doing the TV game of the week and hearing Diz sing the Wabash Canonball. I came to expect it. Then, ironically, I wound up going to school at Kansas State Univ., where our unofficial school song is, Wabash Canonball. There is a good reason for that. Then along comes Ken and Dave to serenade an old Wildcat with yet another rendition of Wabash, so entertaining!

In my 60+ years I've been fortunate enough to have traveled all around our great country and have heard some of the best baseball announcers ever. But even better, I was able to live so many years in the northwest and hear the best of them all. 24 losing seasons out of 34. That's a whole lot of losing to sit through. You know he had to love that toy store to endure all of those losses. So long, Dave. You're already missed by millions. Fly, fly away...

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

Sorry to post this anonymously, but I am having trouble getting an account.

I passed this link onto the local radio station because I thought people in Seattle would like to read this. It is a wonderful post.

Dave "Softy" Mahler, a radio host responded saying he would like to get a hold of you and asked me to pass along his e-mail. DaveMahler@clearchannel.com

I think you would be a great radio guest to talk about Dave.

Paul Swortz said...

Ken -- great piece. We loved having you here in Seattle, and I love your perception of our affection for the man.

I know it's early, but I dearly hope you are considered as a "replacement" for Dave.

diane said...

I credit Dave Niehaus with teaching me to love baseball. There was a time when I thought it was like watching paint dry. Then I started listening to games with a friend and realized how much I was missing. Dave not only made the game come alive, he taught me how complex a game it is and how rich the history of the game is. There was always more to the game being played than just the action on the field. He just drew you into his own experience and made you feel welcome there. I was never fortunate enough to meet him and yet I feel as if I've lost someone very important to me. He spoke to his radio audience as if he cared about our experience, as if he were speaking to long time friends and I am so grateful to have been a part of that audience. It will never be the same in Seattle without Dave Niehaus. Thank you, Ken for a wonderful tribute to your dear friend.

YEKIMI said...

Quit lying! It's never been 12 degrees in April in Cleveland. Oh sure, some years towards the end of the month it warmed up CLOSE to 12 degrees but still.....

Anyhow....just about anybody that goes into radio can be a DJ, news person, etc. but it takes a special skill and mindset to be a sports broadcaster and being able to "paint a picture" with words alone, whether the sport is baseball, football, basketball or whatever. I had to do soccer games one year and it was just excruciating for me [and probably worse for the listeners....both of them] and I was extremely glad to get back to just playing music after the season ended. So hats off to Mr. Niehaus for being one of the best sports broadcasters in the business and R.I.P.

emily said...

My oh my...Listen to some of his memorable calls over the years as the voice of the Seattle Mariners.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/
flatpages/video/mediacenterbc3.html?bctid=30741168001

Anonymous said...

Hopefully every June 3rd they will include a segment in the broadcast featuring Dave reading "Casey at the bat". I wasn't always listenting on June 3rd, but it always made the season on the June 3rd's that I was listenting!

Michelle said...

Thanks for the wonderful tribute, and my condolences on the loss of your friend. I can't imagine the Mariners without Mr. Niehaus.

Anonymous said...

I spent 1987 in Los Angeles, every one there told how lucky I was to hear Vin Scully, and he was great but I missed Dave and my M's. That year the Angeles did the 5th innningby use the opposing teams radio play by play. As soon as I heard Dave, I was home. Thanks Dave

Randy said...

Outstanding work Ken, brought a tear to my eye.I grew up with his voice from the first time I heard his voice in 1982

Thanks..Randy

Todd Baker said...

I have many fond memories of Dave. As a child I would wait outside the Kingdome locker room waiting for autographs. Dave always exited the same way as the players. He always was gracious and took time to sign himself, and talk with all us kids and adults alike. All the while sporting white shoes and a plaid leisure suite jacket! Classic Dave from the late 70's into the 80's.

As an adult Dave also crossed my path, or more like I crossed his. I was doing a live remote broadcast from outside the Kingdome in the parking lot with KUBE '93 FM. While my partner that day, Eric Powers remained on-air from our radio station tent out front, we thought it would be fun to see if I could sneek inside and call- in from my then monstrous brick phone, back to the radio station. Keep in mind, it may have been KUBE '93 night, but we had no official credentials, just permission to broadcast from the parking lot! With my KUBE '93 staff shirt on it was a breeze past security into the press box elevator. Long story short, I ran into Dave, and he of course was more than delighted to go on-air with me live via cell phone.

Unrehearsed, live, and as gracious to me as a fellow broadcaster as he was to me as a child standing and waiting for autographs.

Dave Niehaus, a class act who be sorely missed.

-Todd Baker
WKKT-FM
Charlotte, NC

carlae said...

Thank you Ken, Mariners Baseball and Dave Niehaus are the reasons that I even read your blog. You and Dave were so entertaining to listen to, you truly eased the pain when the guys on the field weren't doing so well. It will be very hard to listen to baseball come spring training time.

Anonymous said...

In the late 70's the M's and the Angels played weekend pre-season series in Palm Springs. I was the engineer for the first couple of years. The first year (we were actually sitting in the bleachers, no broadcast booth) a few fans who heard Dave in Los Angeles on KMPC stopped to say hello between innings. As always he was most gracious. The second year, Seattle fans must have come to Palm Springs by the plane load. I had to play traffic cop to stop the hundred or so who wanted to talk to Dave during the play by play. He still said hello to as many as possible between innings. It was obvious by that second season that he was Seattle's newest hero. Rest in Peace my friend. Tom Goodwin

Breadbaker said...

Thanks, Ken, for a marvelous obituary that shouldn't have needed to be written for many, many years. I grew up with Ernie Harwell and spent seven years listening to Ned Martin in Boston, yet the moment I first heard Dave when I moved to Seattle I was just blown away at how beautifully he painted the picture of baseball, how much he left the drama to the game, how locked in he was to the situation on the field and just let it do its work. One of my favorite things was his anointing of certain players who particularly destroyed the M's (Pudge Rodriguez, Paul O'Neill, Vladimir Guerrero among others) as simply "That Man." Dave gave his listeners the credit that they knew who the M's nemeses were. So many broadcasters today almost assume you're listening to your first baseball game each time they turn on the mic; Dave knew his audience had grown up with the Mariners and they were there yesterday and would be there tomorrow. I'm grieving there is no tomorrow.

Greg said...

Many years ago, my girlfriend and went to San Francisco for a long weekend. On advice of a well traveled friend, we stopped for breakfast at Sear's Pancake House. No sooner than we sat down, did I hear that all too familiar voice. Right away, I knew it was Dave. I look past the empty table between us and there was Dave Niehaus and Ken Levine, eating breakfast and reading the USA Today. I couldn't help myself but to interrupt and say 'Hey Dave, I'm from Seattle and just want to know that I love your work.' Classy Dave said thanks, like it was the first time he had heard that and went about his breakfast. Meanwhile, my girlfriend and I sat debating what would be a better use of our day, sightseeing or letting me go see Candlestick Park. Fortunately, I felt the server looming over us to break up the conversation, only it wasn't a server, it was Dave! He asked what we were in town for, I told him of our debate, hoping he would help the cause. He heard this and responded 'You know, the Giants are playing a day game and the M's are at the A's tonight. You could go to both!'

A tear came to my eye when I listened to a safety announcement recorded by him on the ferry to work this morning. My best wishes to all his extended family.

ttv said...

Informative article. It's a good compilation of his story.

Dana King said...

I never heard him do a game, but I knew enough about Niehaus to know there would be a lot of bittersweet reminiscing today.

You're right, Ken, announcers for winning teams get a boost from routinely delivering good news, but, much as adversity reveals character, bad teams reveal great announcers. I became a Braves fan in the army, and quickly fell in love with Skip Caray as he announced his way through a couple of 100 loss seasons.

The 1988 Baltimore orioles taught me to appreciate Jon Miller, and I remember a rain delay in 1991, during a 67-95 season, where Miller and some other guy kept me in stitches during a rain delay, when you interviewed "Vin Scully." Classic.

Mark Thompson said...

Wonderful post, thank you for this tribute to a great announcer.

Lived in the Seattle area for 7 years and Dave Niehaus is one of my favorite memories of that time. Like all great baseball announcers he became a part of each summer. Unfailingly upbeat, funny and precise, he made you a part of the game, and he made me care for the Mariners.

Godspeed Mr. Niehaus and condolences to all in the Northwest who will miss you.

Neil said...

Ken, thank you so much for your tribute. I remember your time in the booth fondly (one Spring Training game trying to explain Passover food to Dave!)

I just listened to your interview on KJR yesterday and appreciate your insight both in to the history of the M's and your obvious love for a legend of the game and of our city.

Please stay a part of Seattle's baseball lore.

Neil

Phil Hamilton said...

Ken: Thanks so much for your beautifully written piece. The one aspect of Mariners baseball that made them compulsively listenable, no matter how awful they were is now gone. Summer simply won't be the same next year.

The Curmudgeon said...

I've said this before, but I mean it more each and every time: You do great eulogies. Do you take bookings?

Freakazoid Freddy said...

Niehaus had a lot of really bad teams to endure. When you did the broadcast with him was the hardest I'd ever heard him laugh on the air.

Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago, this native San Diegan was invited by an ex-college roommate to visit him in Seattle, a place I’d never been.

Dave Neihaus made my experience memorable. It was a warm and sunny April afternoon as my friend and I boated in Lake Washington listening to the Mariners on the radio.

When I heard Mr. Neihaus it immediately registered that he was special. He had a clear, distinct sounding voice, with energy as big as the Grand Canyon , and his word pictures brought the game to life.

Moreover, he was a skilled communicator who knew his audience well, and as a result unaware to them was creating rhetorical magic.

Bob Salazar Smith
Vaughn, NM

John Pearley Huffman said...

I have never heard Dave Niehaus. And never heard of him before I read this.

But when I die, I want to rate an obituary this beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing those thoughts and insights Ken...Dave was a truly most deserving "Hall of Famer" and I'm glad I was able to congratulate him personally at Spring Training. NOBODY called a game like Dave and I'm still reelin' from the loss. Over the years enjoyed both you, Dave, Ron, etc working as my FAVORITE BROADCAST TEAM !!!

Steve Wicklund said...

Steve Wicklund

Anonymous said...

I wonder if, where Dave's gone, the rule I remember you teaching him during a game one day still holds: lead off base on balls always comes 'round to score -- except when it doesn't. Maybe, if things really even out over the course of a whole life, if one really gets his or her share of "fair", then maybe, just maybe, for Dave's new team they always score, and, for the other guys, they only score once in a while.

Sad Seattleite said...

Mr. Levine,

A very moving tribute. I think some of his best games were when you were in the booth with him. You made Dave laugh harder and more often than his other broadcast partners. I was delighted to hear you again last year. Please come back to the Mariners - You and Rizzs would make a great team.

Rick Harrison said...

Dave DID "call" a World Series game once - I remember it well.

When Baseball was on strike in 1994, and the season was ended early, we all needed a Baseball fix. In October of that year, Dave went into a studio and created a game - game 7 of the 1994 World Series, with The Seattle Mariners vs. The Atlanta Braves (If I remember correctly). Sound effects, crowd noise, and Dave's great talent made it seem real. Of course, Seattle won that game at the last minute. He kept the excitement going right up to the end.

Yes, it is sad that he never got a chance to call a REAL World Series game, but listening to that fictional game was great fun. I would love to hear it again.

Rick Harrison

Jane said...

Dave is the one that caused me to fall in love with baseball. Listening to him call a game on the radio at a friends house, then going to a game and being hooked.

I really can't imagine spring or summer without him.

I had forgotten it was 92 you were up here. How could I? Ran into you at the Cubs spring training game(my first ever)and was so delighted.

I know you have a gig and so does Jon Miller, but please god don't let them pick a nincompoop to try to replace Dave.

Richard said...

Ken,

I have your site bookmarked in a rather obscure folder on my computer, so I visit it only occasionally. I am always pleased to read your words when I do visit, but on the occasion of the most meaningful post of yours I have ever read, a simple emotion such as pleased hardly begins to describe how it made me feel.

I listened to Mr. Niehaus' first Seattle broadcast back in 1977, and many, many others over the years. Even after I moved out of the Northwest, whenever I came back to visit, it had to be in the summer, so I could hear his voice again. Thanks to various technological innovations, for the last few years I could hear him from places other than my childhood home, and no one, not even my wife, could understand what that meant to me.

While his well documented calls are so evocative even today, my favorite is far more obscure. I'm not even sure when it happened, but I was in my car listening to an extra innings game between the Mariners and the Blue Jays. In the top of the eleventh inning, Toronto scored some ridiculous amount of runs, and kept batting for what seemed like forever against a beleaguered Mariners bullpen. At one point, after yet another base hit, Mr. Niehaus professed, for I imagine the only time in his career, "...another run scores, and I am sick of announcing." No other broadcaster could have kept me there long enough to hear those words; I never wanted to stop listening.

Thanks for a wonderful post. Rest in peace, Mr. Niehaus.

Anonymous said...

I was born in '71 and raised on Niehaus every summer. I remember many nights going to the games with my dad in the cheap seats and we would make sure to bring a radio so we could listen to Dave call it. It would ease the pain of the play on the field. My favorite memories were of camping throughout the summer. After a tough day of hiking, fishing, or riding motorcycles we would all be around the campfire and the bbq and Dave would usher in the night. That tradition continued through this summer and although my 6 yr old son may not remember, he at least got to experience it. I can take some solace in that.

Here's a link to Ken on KJR in Seattle discussing Dave.

http://kjram.com/mediaplayer/?station=KJR-AM&action=ondemand&item=20635421&feed_name=gas.xml

David K. M. Klaus said...

The showmanship with which he called the games is what Bob Costas said Harry Carey did for the Cardinals back in the day, and the love engendered locally was the same when we lost Jack Buck. The entire greater St. Louis area went into mourning and some 45,000 people filed past his coffin in Busch Stadium out of respect and love.

I am so sorry for your loss.

LARRY MCCABE said...

Dave and I were roomates for a semester at Indiana University, both aiming at a B.S. degree in Radio & Tv. We had several classes together and often spent an everning at our favorite haunt, Covington's Tavern, down by the railroad tracks in Bloomington. One of these days when more time has passed since his passing, I'll tell a story re. a bet we made while drinking mugs of beer at Covingtons. Now would be bad timing. I will tell about a weekend with Dave in Anaheim when he was on the Angel's broadcast team, including Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale. Since he had a nice, large home in Northridge and didn't relish driving all the way to the northern San Fernando Valley and back to Orange County early the next day, Dave would book a night at a local motel after a Saturday night game and prepare for a Sunday afternoon game. This particular weekend in the summer of 1974 David invited me to not only come along with him and sit in the booth during the Sat. night broadcast, but also spend the night with him at the motel and go to the Angel game early the following Sunday. After the night game we went Drysdale's bar and restaurant, The Dugout, and met Oriole skipper, Earl Weaver and his star pitcher, Jim Palmer. A very memorable evening indeed. But the real fun came the next day. Dave and I got to the Big A early the next morning and went immediately to the Angel's clubhouse where then manager Dick Williams was bent over his desk working on the Halo's line-up for Sunday's daytime encounter... It may have been a double-header, I don't recall. The Angles had a bunch of eager but mistake-prone youngsters on that team and their record was well under .500 late in the season Anyway... as Williams was making out the line-up for the game he said, so both Dave and I could clearly hear... "Let's see... Which sons-a-bitches should I expose today?" I have a lot more, warmer and perhaps more pleasant memories of my old I.U. roomie, who used to write of his experiences working in the commissary in the Black Hills of South Dakota at Mt. Rushmore well before his prodigious broadcast career got underway. More later. RIP old friend. Larry McKay aka McCabe

LARRY MCCABE said...

Dave and I were roomates for a semester at Indiana University, both aiming at a B.S. degree in Radio & Tv. We had several classes together and often spent an everning at our favorite haunt, Covington's Tavern, down by the railroad tracks in Bloomington. One of these days when more time has passed since his passing, I'll tell a story re. a bet we made while drinking mugs of beer at Covingtons. Now would be bad timing. I will tell about a weekend with Dave in Anaheim when he was on the Angel's broadcast team, including Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale. Since he had a nice, large home in Northridge and didn't relish driving all the way to the northern San Fernando Valley and back to Orange County early the next day, Dave would book a night at a local motel after a Saturday night game and prepare for a Sunday afternoon game. This particular weekend in the summer of 1974 David invited me to not only come along with him and sit in the booth during the Sat. night broadcast, but also spend the night with him at the motel and go to the Angel game early the following Sunday. After the night game we went Drysdale's bar and restaurant, The Dugout, and met Oriole skipper, Earl Weaver and his star pitcher, Jim Palmer. A very memorable evening indeed. But the real fun came the next day. Dave and I got to the Big A early the next morning and went immediately to the Angel's clubhouse where then manager Dick Williams was bent over his desk working on the Halo's line-up for Sunday's daytime encounter... It may have been a double-header, I don't recall. The Angles had a bunch of eager but mistake-prone youngsters on that team and their record was well under .500 late in the season Anyway... as Williams was making out the line-up for the game he said, so both Dave and I could clearly hear... "Let's see... Which sons-a-bitches should I expose today?" I have a lot more, warmer and perhaps more pleasant memories of my old I.U. roomie, who used to write of his experiences working in the commissary in the Black Hills of South Dakota at Mt. Rushmore well before his prodigious broadcast career got underway. More later. RIP old friend. Larry McKay aka McCabe

LARRY MCCABE said...

Dave and I were roomates for a semester at Indiana University, both aiming at a B.S. degree in Radio & Tv. We had several classes together and often spent an everning at our favorite haunt, Covington's Tavern, down by the railroad tracks in Bloomington. One of these days when more time has passed since his passing, I'll tell a story re. a bet we made while drinking mugs of beer at Covingtons. Now would be bad timing. I will tell about a weekend with Dave in Anaheim when he was on the Angel's broadcast team, including Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale. Since he had a nice, large home in Northridge and didn't relish driving all the way to the northern San Fernando Valley and back to Orange County early the next day, Dave would book a night at a local motel after a Saturday night game and prepare for a Sunday afternoon game. This particular weekend in the summer of 1974 David invited me to not only come along with him and sit in the booth during the Sat. night broadcast, but also spend the night with him at the motel and go to the Angel game early the following Sunday. After the night game we went Drysdale's bar and restaurant, The Dugout, and met Oriole skipper, Earl Weaver and his star pitcher, Jim Palmer. A very memorable evening indeed. But the real fun came the next day. Dave and I got to the Big A early the next morning and went immediately to the Angel's clubhouse where then manager Dick Williams was bent over his desk working on the Halo's line-up for Sunday's daytime encounter... It may have been a double-header, I don't recall. The Angles had a bunch of eager but mistake-prone youngsters on that team and their record was well under .500 late in the season Anyway... as Williams was making out the line-up for the game he said, so both Dave and I could clearly hear... "Let's see... Which sons-a-bitches should I expose today?" I have a lot more, warmer and perhaps more pleasant memories of my old I.U. roomie, who used to write of his experiences working in the commissary in the Black Hills of South Dakota at Mt. Rushmore well before his prodigious broadcast career got underway. More later. RIP old friend. Larry McKay aka McCabe

Al McCoskey said...

Mr. Levine,

My condolences to you, the Neihaus family, the Mariners, and friends of Mr. Neihaus. His passion for the game, his personality, his love for life will truly be missed by all who knew or listened to him for any length of time.

I grew up hearing him, Mr. Enberg, and Mr. Drysdale call the California Angels games in the '60s. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest in the late-70s, it was a most pleasant surprise, and treat, to hear him once again as he called...no lived...each Mariners game.

I never had the privilege of meeting him, but I am not surprised at the wonderful, heartfelt memories presented on your blog, the Mariners site, and elsewhere for such a revered person. He was obviously a very loving, lovable, caring, and fun(ny) man. He was the announcers' announcer. And, certainly, the ultimate fan. RIP Mr. Niehaus.

Anonymous said...

the "my oh my" schtick" I could have done without....

rashid1891 said...

The world lost a great baseball announcer. You lost a true friend.

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