One of the best moments in baseball this past weekend was the Mariners’ tribute to the late Dave Niehaus before their home opener at Safeco Field on Friday night. (Here’s the MLB.com video of the occasion.) Seattle celebrated the broadcaster’s life as only Seattle can, with local hip-hop artist Macklemore (no, not former M’s second baseman Mark McLemore) performing his song dedicated to the longtime voice of the team.
Niehaus was the Mariners’ lead broadcaster from their arrival in 1977 through last season before he died in November at age 75 from a
heart attack. The 2008 Ford C. Frick Award winner saw his share of bad baseball until Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson came along. Only Martinez remained when Ichiro arrived in 2001 and the team won a major league record 116 games. Through it all, Niehaus developed a loyal following.
My favorite calls on visits to the Pacific Northwest — or listening to satellite radio on the way home from work here in D.C. — were “Belted, and I mean belted,” “Fly away, Junior!”and of course, “Break out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma. It is grand salami time!”
To me, he was in the top handful of broadcasters in the game. Vin Scully, Jon Miller and Marty Brennaman are 1-2-3 on my list now, but there are several who do a terrific job, including the Nats’ pair of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler. Who are some of your favorites?