Dave Niehaus, the legendary and beloved voice of the Mariners from their inception in 1977 through the final game of the 2010 season, died Wednesday at his home in Bellevue, the team confirmed.Ken Griffey, Jr. had some nice words to say about Niehaus:
Niehaus suffered a heart attack, according to his family.
Niehaus, who received the Ford Frick Award at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2008, was 75. He leaves behind his wife Marilyn, children Andy, Matt and Greta, and six grandchildren.
"This is truly devastating news," Howard Lincoln, the Mariners CEO, and Chuck Armstrong, Mariners president, said in a release from the team. "Speaking for ourselves, our ownership and the entire Mariners family, our thoughts and prayers are with (wife) 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."
Former Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr. told 710 ESPN that Niehaus "meant everything" to the Mariners.
"Everybody talks about the players who went there and the players who left, but he made the Mariners who they are," Griffey said. "Without him, the guys out there are nothing. Day in and day out he brought the excitement and drove thousands and millions of people to the ballpark to come watch us.
"It's tough because he's like that grandfather to all of us especially Jay, me, Edgar and Dan and so many other Mariners, he was like our grandfather. He would give you a little bit of advice, and he was tough on you when he needed to be. This is a day that I was hoping would never come. It's just a sad day for all of us, not just his family, but for everybody in the great Northwest.
"When I got drafted he came up to me and just looked at me and said: "You're going to be a good one" and he said "go out and have fun." When I got to Seattle I struggled for like the first couple weeks and he said "Where's that smile?" He said something and I started smiling and he said "That's what I want to see, that's why people come to the ballpark, to see you smile." Those are the things that I'll never forget because he was caring and loving. You didn't know if you were the number one guy on the team or the number 25 guy on the team, he treated everybody the same."