Since the club began play in 1977, Mariners fans couldn't always count on their team to win games--or sometimes, to even show up and play. They could, however, always count on Dave Niehaus to show up to the announcer's booth at the Kingdome, and later Safeco Field, and deliver arguably the most exciting play-by-play account in all of baseball. He died on Wednesday at the age of 75. And while the Mariners will keep playing, they'll be without the voice that made winning seem extraordinary and losing seem not so bad.
Dave Niehaus, 1935-2010
Mayor Mike McGinn said in a statement: "from now on, there will be just two eras of Mariner baseball--the Dave Niehaus era and everything else."
Rick Rizzs, his partner in the announcer's booth, told the Seattle Times:
"He was not only the voice of the Mariners, he WAS the Mariners. He was the face of the franchise. When you turned on the radio, everything was right with the world when you heard Dave's voice."
Mariners great Jay Buhner told the P-I it was "the saddest day of my life. It is like I am losing a dad, someone that was a father figure to me."
Niehaus had many memorable calls and catchphrases, "My, oh, my!" and "Fly away!" among them.
But there was one call that fans will never forget. It came during the magical 1995 season and, within the span of about 40 seconds, Niehaus managed to put into words what most could only express in joyous screams or dumbfounded silence.
Here's that play. My, oh, my, indeed.