Baseball Loses Another Legend: Dave Niehaus Dead at 75

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You remember several years back, when the whole satellite radio thing was just starting up? XM and Sirius were still separate companies and David Bowie fell out of the sky. It was a crazy time. 

Well, I happened to be one of the earliest adopters of satellite radio, but not because I wanted David Bowie to fall through my roof. Or, well, not just because of that. No, I jumped on the satellite radio bandwagon years and years ago, the moment I heard you could get MLB broadcasts from every team across the country. 

So I got a satellite radio, and I listened to baseball games. Every market, every team, every broadcast team. And in doing so I fell in love with broadcasters whose names I knew but previously never had the chance to hear.

One of those was Dave Niehaus, voice of the Seattle Mariners. I don't have the words to tell you how good he was. Mr. Niehaus passed away this morning at the age of 75 after suffering a heart attack in his home. Baseball has lost another treasure.
click to enlarge If you ever have a chance at one of these records, don't hesitate. I promise you won't regret it.
If you ever have a chance at one of these records, don't hesitate. I promise you won't regret it.
See, I just happen to be one of those nerds who actually buys highlight CDs of sports announcers. I have several Ernie Harwell recordings. Got Red Barber and Harry Calas, too. And of course I have plenty of Jack Buck recordings, including several original vinyl records produced by the Cardinals after some of their more successful seasons, all narrated by Buck himself. I can't help it. I love hearing baseball games, even when they were played in the distant past and I already know how they turned out. 

By the time I got that satellite radio most of the greats were gone, sadly. It's a bitter joke that when we finally have the technology to bring the legends to the world, so few legends are left. Harry Calas was still around and still great. Milo Hamilton was still around, but a shell of who he once was. Vin Scully was, and still is, a miracle, even if he isn't my personal favorite. (Scully is amazing to hear, but having grown up listening to Jack Buck, I just want a little more excitement in my broadcasters. I like it when a broadcaster occasionally sounds just as enthralled as I am by what just happened.)

And then there was Dave Niehaus. He was a true master of the craft, and it's sad so few people outside of Seattle are familiar with him. 

I won't try to compose a fancy memoriam here; there are plenty of others all over the country much more qualified than I to do so. I only knew the man as a voice on the radio, but what a voice it was. I just want you to listen to the man call a little bit of a ballgame, because that's what he did, and he did it as well as anyone ever has. You could also go and buy a CD full of his gems, but I don't know if you're the sort of person who likes that kind of thing, so I won't blame you if you don't. 

I would also like to tell all of Dave Niehaus's friends and family and loved ones how sorry I am to see him go. Oh, and my colleague, Seattle native Keegan Hamilton, too. His hometown just lost something very special. 

It is November. There is no baseball being played, and a light in the game's scoreboard has just burned out. What we need is some play-by-play. 

Take it away, Dave. 

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