Niehaus fans leaving growing memorial at Safeco Field



Posted on November 11, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 11 at 6:47 PM

What is your favorite Dave Niehaus memory?

SEATTLE -- For 34 seasons and more than 5,000 games, there has been one constant voice behind the Seattle Mariners: Dave Niehaus. The 75-year-old passed away Wednesday after suffering a heart attack at his Bellevue home.

A memorial for the beloved broadcaster continues to grow at Safeco Field.  Fans turned out for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night and continue to leave their thoughts of him at The Safe.

"A lot of people loved him because he was a good man," said one fan.

"I had to come down here because it was like losing my grandpa. It's terrible," said another.

Niehaus made catch-phrases famous like "fly away," "My oh my!" and "Get out the rye bread and mustard, grandma. It's grand salami time!"

The Mariners say at this time they are deferring to Niehaus's family when it comes to a public memorial. At this time not plans have been made, but they are expected.

In the meantime, fans have been stopping at the main doors of Safeco Field, dropping off notes and flowers. One of the most poignant was a loaf of rye bread and a big bottle of mustard taped right onto the gate.

"The emotion he brought to the game and his descriptions, you could picture it without a TV in front of you," said another fan.

Ten-year-old Will Carlson has been listening to Dave Niehaus for half his life. He came to write a note, thanking Niehaus for his work.

"I got to meet him once and it was like the whole world revolved around me when I met him," said Carlson. "I would say, thank you. You are the most amazing commentator ever."

The Mariners will hold an open house at Safeco Field Saturday, noon – 3 p.m., so fans can gather to share their memories of Dave Niehaus. Fans may enter through the Home Plate Gate. The Mariners say they are still working with Niehaus' family to plan a more formal, public service.

The effect Dave Niehaus had on people goes beyond his words – and that's proven by the amount of viewer responses we've received on and from Facebook:

"The best is gone, but will never be forgotten... baseball in Seattle will never be the same. A monument when you walk in the home plate gate is due, he is a true Mariner, player or not, a player has never stayed with a team 34 years... RIP Dave, My OH My..."

"When Safeco was being built, many of us advocated for it to be named Niehaus Field. I still feel that way, now more than ever. He is Seattle, he is baseball."

"I think they should NEVER fill Dave's seat in the broadcast booth. Make the new guy sit in his OWN chair! Leave Dave's seat open at least for the next season, if not a permanent shrine to the man. about a bronze microphone at his ...station in the booth? Let's hope Seattle does right by Mr Baseball."

"I shall miss that voice!! It is like when Bob Barker left the Price is Right, it was never the same and now BB will NEVER be the same w/out that voice!!"

"MY OH MY...always brought a huge smile to my face because it was synonymous with something terrific our Mariner's had just done. Driving with the old style radio dial...I never had to look to see where the channel dial was. I just listened for the sound of Dave's voice and knew I was dialed-in to the right game. Heaven just got the best of the best to call the ball games of all the great ball-players who have passed on before Dave. I'll always hear his voice in my mind when I listen to the Mariner's games...Dave gave the 'magic' to our team. MY OH MY Dave....FLY AWAY...I'll never forget the magic you gave us...."

"Simply put, for the love of the game. Dave brought back an innocence that many of us enjoyed when we played little league. An enthusiasm that brought back many of those childhood memories. His love of the game transcended the players on the field to infuse the fans with a joy of a time thought lost, our childhood. He made took us to a place where families at the ballpark was the true enjoyment. No one could call a game like Dave, even if you were not a real follower of the game, he had a way of making you want to learn and listen and watch. It is Dave that we are now watching fly away and it is safe to assume he is going to be calling games in a much larger field with even more fans that want to learn. God Bless you Dave for bringing back my childhood love of a game that for awhile I abandoned. With much appreciation, Yogi."

We'd love to hear your memories of Dave Niehaus. Feel free to share them below in our comments section.