The baseball broadcasting world has lost another Hall of Famer.
Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Seattle Mariners since the team's inception in 1977, passed away Wednesday at his home in Bellevue, Wash. Niehaus, 75, suffered a heart attack, according to his family.
"This is truly devastating news," said Seattle Mariners chairman Howard Lincoln.
Chuck Armstrong, Seattle Mariners president and COO, added, "Speaking for ourselves, our ownership and the entire Mariners family, our thoughts and prayers are with Marilyn, their children, Andy, Matt and Greta, and the grandchildren.
"Dave has truly been the heart and soul of this franchise since its inception in 1977. Since calling Diego Segui's first-pitch strike on Opening Night in the Kingdome some 34 years ago, Dave's voice has been the constant with the franchise. He truly was the fans connection to every game; to wins and losses; to great plays and heartbreaking defeats; to Hall of Famers and journeymen. With the exception of his love for his wife, Marilyn, his children and grandchildren, there was nothing Dave liked more than the game of baseball and to be at the ballpark. He was the voice of spring and summer in the Northwest.
"He was the fans' choice to throw out the first pitch in Safeco Field history, and no one has had a greater impact on our team's connection to fans throughout the Northwest. One of the best days we've ever spent was in Cooperstown in 2008, as Dave took his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame."
Niehaus entered the Baseball Hall of Fame as the 2008 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award. His signature homerun calls were, "That ball will fly, fly away!" and the always popular, "It's grand salami time!"
Named one the “Top 10 Most Influential People of the Century” by the Seattle Times, Niehaus threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the inaugural game at Safeco Field on July 15, 1999. Born and raised in Princeton, Ind., and a graduate of Indiana University, Niehaus previously worked for the Armed Forces radio and TV service, calling the action for Dodgers games before moving to New York to handle Yankees baseball, along with basketball and hockey. Following his departure from the Armed Forces Network, Niehaus returned to Los Angeles to broadcast the Dodgers, Rams and Lakers. From 1969-76, he teamed with Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale on California Angels broadcasts, also broadcasting UCLA football and basketball from 1973-76, before moving to Seattle for the inaugural 1977 campaign.
Neihaus is survived by his wife Marilyn, three children and six grandchildren.
According to the Mariners, the Niehaus family has requested privacy at this very difficult time.
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