SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners opened Safeco Field on Saturday afternoon for an informal public celebration in memory of Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus, who died on Wednesday of a heart attack at age 75.
More than 3,000 people attended the event. The line stretched down the block as fans waited to enter the stadium to pay their respects.
"I am just about out of tears this morning," said Dave Mesford. "It's an emotional day for everybody around here."
The heart and soul of the Seattle Mariners could be felt throughout Safeco Field. Recordings of the legendary voice echoed across the field as fans reflected on what Niehaus meant to them.
"He never got to see the Mariners go to the World Series and it just breaks my heart," said Muskie Davey.
There was no formal program, but fans were invited to sign a book of remembrance for the Niehaus family and view memorabilia from his career.
"He's been somebody who's been in my life since I was really young, and now he's not here anymore," said a tearful John Mallet.
"Seeing his microphone and scorebook, in a way it kinda felt like, it was like he's still here," said Colleen Doser.
"Dave became part of Seattle, part of the city, the team and all of the Northwest and you never want to see part of your community go," said Noel Rengoli.
Niehaus' wife Marilyn and three children were there for the fans.
Niehaus called Mariners' games for 34 seasons, from the first pitch in team history through the end of the 2010 season.
The team says a formal celebration of Niehaus' life is in the works.
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