Saluting Seattle’s “Grand Salami” Man

Posted November 14th, 2010 by Tom Owens and filed in Dave Niehaus, Seattle Mariners
Check it out at http://www.baseballvoices.com/

Seattle Mariners pioneering broadcaster Dave Niehaus died Nov. 10.

The M’s loved the guy. For years, the PR office would send you cards of players and THE VOICE.

From 1988-93, I lived near Seattle. I chatted with autograph hounds outside the Kingdome after a Friday night game. Still-grinning Niehaus (you could hear that same smile on the air!) headed toward the player parking lot.

While some players, in football-like fashion, put their heads down and charged, Niehaus strolled. He looked left and right. I never saw anyone ask for an autograph. He had signed for everyone earlier in the season, or in years past. He nodded and waved each time a fan bellowed his name.

Some of the collectors guessed they’d have forever to get a signature.

The TTM crowd may have felt the same. On the always-enlightening http://www.sportscollectors.net/, I checked to see how many collectors wrote for a signature and logged in their effort. Hundreds?

Just 43. He signed for 41.

As Dave himself said so often: My oh my!

Larry Stone, the gifted Seattle Times baseball writer, traveled with Niehaus when he accepted his 2008 Hall of Fame Frick broadcasting award. Stone captured the pride and passion Niehaus shared on the air, even coaxing a comment about autographs in this unforgettable feature.

Another worthwhile tribute came from a brief broadcasting partner, Ken Levine.

As someone who sat through more than one so-so M’s game, I agree with Levine’s assessment. The game you heard from Niehaus wasn’t always the one you saw. His was always better.

2 Responses to “Saluting Seattle’s “Grand Salami” Man”

  1. Mariner1 says:

    It was nice to see over 3600 people show up to a informal celebration at Safeco yesterday. As a fan that has listened to Dave since 1982, I was in shock and in tears when I found out. He definitely belongs with the names like Scully, Caray, Buck, Allen, Barber, and Uecker. It is going to be very strange next season to not hear his voice at spring training and the regular season.

  2. Tom Owens says:

    Well said. The Kingdome seemed to me like the M’s were playing in a basement family room. However, Dave made it sound like a palace!

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