Mariners fans lost their iconic play-by-play man Dave Niehaus today, as he died of a heart attack at the age of 75. (And as a Tigers fan who dealt with the death of Ernie Harwell roughly six months ago, I can empathize with M fans. I can also assure M fans that the famous voice will live on forever).

Niehaus broadcasted over 5,000 games with the Mariners, from the team’s inception in 1977 through the 2010 season. In 2008, he was honored with the Ford C. Frick award at the Hall of Fame, which recognizes career excellence and is given to the who’s who of broadcasters.

Niehaus’s most famous call, in my e-pinion, was for grand slams, a call I’ve emulated for each grand slam ever since I first heard it in one my 90s MLB video games: “Get out the rye bread and mustard grandma, it’s grand salami time!”

Niehaus’s love and excitement for the game of baseball is almost unparalleled. He’d call every home run and Mariners win with the same 1995 ALDS clinching tone, even if it was a meaningless solo job in a mid-September game when the Mariners were 15 back.

“I’ve always looked at every game as exactly what it is: one-162nd of the season. Every game tells a different story and I love telling it,” Niehaus said. “It’s never been a downer to me to do losing baseball. Because every night you think this is going to be the start of a winning streak.”

My, oh, my.  Rest in peace, Mr. Niehaus.

[2nd video via]

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