Death of Dave Niehaus

Just heard the news: the Mariners say he had a fatal heart attack at home in Bellevue today. I thought I'd post a simple item here so people can start talking about him and his impact. Dave was 75, and I believe he had four full decades, between the Angels and Mariners, of announcing big league games.



I don't know if people who don't have such an irrational attachment to a passtime can understand how that part of someone's life can come to mean so much more than entertainment.  I hear people constantly telling me baseball is only a game.  Logically, I know that it means less on the grand stage than many other things, but this thing to which I devote such passion and attention every day is not just a game to me.  This is a piece of my soul...a reason for my heart to go on beating.  I don't know why, really, but if I had to guess, I'd say it had something to do with Dave Niehaus.
I watch the games these days, because I love the team too much to bare not seeing the events unfold, but before there was MLB.TV for me, there was Dave Niehaus over radio.  My 56k modem sometimes couldn't handle the strain of streaming that audio to me from thousands of miles outside of his listening area, but I kept trying to bring that signal back.  You see, on some important level, I handle the unpredictability and hardships of this life by building routines.  Dave Niehaus was one of those routines.  He was like a crazy uncle telling perfectly crafted stories by my bedside during night games.  He was the reason I loved the Mariners before they had a date with destiny in '95.  And now he's gone.  A piece of my soul goes with him.
I never knew the man personally, but he left all of who he was on the field like the greatest of players.  I believe the man he truly was suffused his every turning of phrase - fly fly away, rye bread and mustard, and all.  In that sense, I feel I did know him like I would know my own family, and there isn't anything anyone can say to me tonight that will take away this pain.  The games will never be the same...a piece of my world is gone forever.
God rest his beautiful soul and may the Mariners win it all someday while he screams from above with the same joy that once poured from his heart as the perfect line drive sailed into history from Edgar's mighty bat.


Wow.  I was not expecting this.
I was a late-comer to the Mariners.  I moved to Seattle in 95, just in time to get caught up in Mariner fever, and I've now spent 15 years listening to the Mariners as seen through Dave's eyes and depicted by his voice.
When I think of the big Mariner moments over the years, of the times I just had the radio on and let Dave talk me through a leisurely day at the yard - or some of the most explosive and exciting moments of the year - I know I'll miss his company.
Even as his eyes and memory faded I still enjoyed having him with me for those days.  I'm glad he got his due and was inducted to his rightful place in the Hall of Fame before this day came. 
Brighter days ahead for the Mariners, but the company on radio and TV helping us enjoy it to the fullest won't be nearly as good.
Thanks for everything, Dave.  My, oh my indeed.


I first heard Dave Niehaus as the announcer of UCLA Bruins basketball and football back in the late 60's, and also for a brief time as the then California Angels announcer. I really loved his work then, and it was a treat when I moved to the Seattle area in 1995 to rejoin the legion of his appreciative listeners.
Remember that August/September of '95? Dave was sublime with each late-inning drama, as the Mariners time and again accomplished the impossible.


Here's what I had to say over at Mariner Central ...
I was driving home from work last night when I heard the news on 710 ESPN. Though I was initially stunned by the news, I can't honestly say that I'm all that surprised. When I looked at Dave all this past year, he didn't look to me to be in all that good of health. So in a way, I guess there is a part of me that was expecting this day to come in the not too near future. That said, I'm with all of you in saying that words simply cannot express what I'm feeling right now. I remember all too well the passing of Pete Gross, who for many of us Seattle-ites growing up was the voice of Seahawks football. Though Raible does an admirable job in many ways, Seahawks broadcasts (for me) just have never been quite the same somehow. The loss of Dave Niehaus, though, far surpasses all of that. You know, as Mariner fans we like to talk about how players like Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Jay Buhner were the Mariners. They were the embodiment of everything that we think a Mariner should be. That said, when you say "Seattle Mariners" ... you think of Dave Niehaus. Dave Niehaus was the voice of Mariner baseball and of summer. He was here from day 1 and for us as Mariner fans, he was as constant as gravity -- something you could always depend upon. His passion for the game, his love of people, his captivating fireside chat-like stories of old time baseball, and his memorable calls made him truly special. You didn't even have to be at the ballpark or even be watching it on TV -- Dave could make you see and feel the game through his voice on the radio.  It was all about telling the story -- and that is what made him so truly remarkable.
I've mentioned before that I really became a Mariner fan back in 1990 because of Ken Griffey, Jr. But as I think more about it though, what really made me a fan was hearing Dave Niehaus call the game and all of Griffey's plays. He's the one who truly hooked and kept me. I've listened to a lot of radio broadcasters ... and I honestly don't believe there is anyone out there in the baseball world today who did it better. No one ... and I mean no one ... cared more about and has meant more to Mariner baseball than Dave Niehaus.
To think that I will never hear "My Oh My", "Swung on and belted", or "Get out the rye bread and mustard grandma" again is just unfathomable to me. In many ways, this feels like losing a beloved grandpa. Saying that he will be missed doesn't even come close to capturing what Dave's loss means. And I know that he was special not only for us as Mariner fans ... but to the entire baseball world as well. Dave honestly was a legend ... a one of a kind. Though the team will obviously find themselves a new voice of Mariner baseball ... Dave Niehaus will be impossible to replace. There will never be another one.
Now Fly Away Dave Niehaus ... Fly Away. Here's wishing you good luck broadcasting games for that great Field of Dreams that lies beyond the bounds of this life. Thanks for all the memories. I'll never forget you.


I first heard Dave Niehaus as the announcer of UCLA Bruins basketball and football back in the late 60's, and also for a brief time as the then California Angels announcer.

I'd have LOVED to have heard him do basketball and/or football.  Just wow.
As a 14-year-old, I loved him ... from about 1990 on, the dominant aspect of Dave's work for me, became his unfairness to pitchers.  It ruined the broadcasts for me after awhile, and if you paid attention, you could hear partners like Joe Simpson and Mike Blowers get exasperated on-air with his premise that every enemy run was the result of negligence on the part of the M's pitcher.  For me, it was a fatal flaw.
That said, probably no broadcaster ever had a more distinctive, addictive voice and personality, or one better matched to his sport, and his talent for a visual description was right up there with the best.
The PNW is super blessed to have had 35 years of Dave Niehaus.


Re: every opponent run the result of pitcher negligence
Yup. Dave definitely had a bit of Lou in him. They were quite a tandem during the glory years.

RockiesJeff's picture

I did get to meet Dave Neihaus in Pauley Pav. on a trip to visit UCLA back when the earth's crust was cooling down. I didn't know it then but not living much in Seattle since then, both he and Vin Scully made listening to baseball as good as hearing Keith Jackson on Saturdays. The electronic age is great but there was something about hearing their voice on radio and letting their work pictures take over.

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.