Dave Niehaus gave the Mariners their voice
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The 2011 season will dawn like no other in Seattle baseball. Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariners for their entire history, has been silenced.
Niehaus, 75, died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack. The 2008 Ford C. Frick Award winner at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Niehaus called all but a handful of the Mariners' 5,385 games since the franchise's birth in 1977.
Born and raised in Princeton, Ind., Niehaus graduated from Indiana University in 1957 before taking a job with Armed Forces Radio. After calling Dodgers and Yankees games for AFR, moved to Los Angeles in 1969 to team with Dick Enberg and future Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale on Angels broadcasts.
In 1977, Niehaus took the job as the voice of the Mariners. He quickly won over Seattle fans with his smoky voice, smooth delivery and catchphrases like "It will fly away!" -- which he used to describe home runs.
On July 15, 1999, Niehaus threw out the first pitch at Safeco Field as the Mariners moved into their new home. The next season, Niehaus became the second person inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame. He was named one of "The Top 10 Most Influential People of the Century" by The Seattle Times.
In 2008, Niehaus was named the 32nd winner of the Ford. C. Frick Award, presented annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball." The Frick Award is presented during Hall of Fame Weekend, and each award winner is recognized in the "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Craig Muder is the director of communications at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum