I had a nagging sense of nostalgia and sadness all day today much the same as the feeling I had on Labor day in 2008 on the day my Mother Suzanne passed on. And sure enough at around five this afternoon I got a call from a friend with the sad news of the passing of Dave Niehaus at the age of 75 due to a heart attack.
As we speak I am listening to the radio as people are calling in with stories and memories of Dave Niehaus and his long era as the announcer for the Seattle Mariners. Ken Griffey called in a few minutes ago, and he along with all the other fans all seem to share the same love and admiration for this giant in Seattle history.
Apparently there is a candle light vigil going on down at safeco field as we speak that I am going to head down to once I finish this post to honor the voice and spirit of Seattle and our team the Mariners.
I have been listening to Dave Niehaus for 30 years and have heard it all. My best memories come from the magic 95 season when I brushed against the great one a couple of times. The first time was when I brought a vacuum cleaner handle to the third game of a series which the Mariners went on to sweep for their second sweep in a row at home during the magic run of 95. Apparently someone tipped off Niehaus and he saw me and announced on the air that ” The fans are going crazy and one even has a vacuum cleaner!” True story check out the tape from 95 and it shows a clip of me with the vacuum cleaner handle going crazy!
My second story comes from that same season when I decided to meet the team when they flew back from New York after losing the 2 first games of the series. Turns out they were arriving at Boeing Field and I waited there from 3 am till they arrived at 530 with my little Mariners banner cheering the guys along with a couple other fans as they walked in from the plane. Once they got inside the small terminal and were sorting baggage I said hello to a couple of the players and I remember Niehaus turning the switch on and saying to me and those around us ” That we could still win this thing” Of course we all know the rest of the story for that series which Niehaus got to call on the famous run scored by Griffey that I witnessed first hand.
This is a sad way to end a terrible season. The thing that saddens me most is that Dave never got to call a World Series for his beloved Mariners. I could sense all year he was fading as perhaps he could not hold out any longer for his team. I remember seeing him look over at the USS Mariner event that was held at the end of the season before a game with Jack Z. and a few hundred modern sabermetrics type fans. I recall looking over at Niehaus in his booth as he leaned back and sort of glared at us. I think he knew that his style,values and indeed his era was fading away to a new modern world, that like myself he doesn’t quite understand where it is all heading too but it’s not like the good old days back in Indiana where Dave grew up.
Dave Niehaus was a wonderful , funny and interesting man. I will miss him along with all of you on this sad day when Dave Niehaus flew-away …..http://jeffsmariners.com