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 "The Dave Niehaus I Remember, and Why His Voice Alone..." 
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Post "The Dave Niehaus I Remember, and Why His Voice Alone..."
The Dave Niehaus I Remember, and Why His Voice Alone Touched Us in a Significant Way
by: Ed Bagley

Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper in 1954, baseball was THE sport in America. It wasn't about football as it is now.

Every kid I knew made the corner grocery store owner a fortune by buying baseball cards. It was all about getting a Mickey Mantle rookie card. If you spent all of the money you earned cutting lawns and being a newspaper carrier and still could not score a Mickey card, you sucked in your gut and traded your next best dozen cards for Mickey.

It was all about Mickey, and the gum of course. There was nothing like the bubble gum in baseball cards. We tried to build up enough chewing gum so we could push it out in our cheek, like Nellie Fox, the sure-handed second baseman for the Chicago White Sox with the biggest chaw of tobacco in his cheek you ever saw.

The New York Yankees won 5 consecutive World Series from 1949 to 1953, and every kid knew that. If you did not know that, you weren't a kid and you didn't play baseball. But every kid in my neighborhood played baseball.

We lived on the wrong side of town. We played fastball in the street with a back-up catcher, and yes, we broke some windows, both in cars and houses. I know because I was the catcher.

I took my glasses off so I would not break them. I caught without a catcher's mask because I couldn't afford one. That could be why I took two fastball foul tips, and a nasty curve ball, in the mouth.

I bled like a pig, and my top front teeth looked like I had been hit by a '48 Chevy Coupe in a fender bender. I think I was in shock because I wouldn't cry; I would get on my bike and ride home, giving my poor mother the fits when she saw me. When I got into organized baseball, they gave me a mask.

We thought we were tough as nails, and some of us had the mangled front teeth to prove it.

Fast forward 20 years when I arrived in Seattle. In the beginning, there was no baseball team. The Seattle Mariners cranked up in 1977 as a replacement for the old Seattle Pilots, a one-season wonder in 1969 that became the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 1977 the Seattle Mariners were born, and that was my introduction to Dave Niehaus. Niehaus called the Mariners action for 34 seasons before his voice recently went silent.

Dozens upon dozens of baseball fans, players, coaches and friends waited patiently in line to extol the virtues and impact of Dave Niehaus upon their life, and it was all deserved.

If you were a baseball fan, you were as close to the voice of Dave Niehaus as he was to home plate on game day.

There will never again be another Dave Niehaus. His time and his generation has passed and, as he aged, the world changed. The impact of play-by-play broadcasters on the radio has diminished with the advent of television, and more especially the Internet, and the technology that comes with the Internet.

And that is a sad fact.

But celebrating the life of Dave Niehaus will be a joy for those of us who adopted him as our uncle, father or grandfather, and cherished the connection of his voice to our baseball world.

A friend once said to me that "Time and memories are eternal, memories come from time . . . but time from memories, never."

And that is now how it is with Dave Niehaus - we have wonderful memories, but his time is up.

With everything great that has already been said about Dave Niehaus, and all of it is true, here is my takeaway:

The thing I admire and relate to the most about Dave Neihaus was his gratitude.

Two quotes by Dave come immediately to mind:

"I love the game, the broadcast booth, seeing the diamond in every ballpark we go to. It's all I ever wanted to do, and I've gotten the chance to do it for a long time. I've enjoyed every minute of it. I'm a lucky man."

And this phrase from his speech during his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame:

"I know there are several bigger names who have preceded me in winning this award. And there will be several bigger names after me to win this award. But no one will ever be more appreciative."

A man who lives his life with gratitude is a giant of a man. So how tall was Dave Niehaus? I'm glad you asked. Dave Neihaus was 20 feet tall, and he will continue to grow in stature as the years go by.

Goodbye, Dave. Thanks for the journey, and may God greet you when you arrive.

About The Author
Ed Bagley's Articles is Writer, Author and Editor Ed Bagley's personal web site with hundreds of original articles on 46 different subjects. Ed Bagley's Articles is a treasure trove of great stories. Get complete weekly updates on the NCAA college football scene plus Ed Bagley's Top 25 Poll. Find Ed Bagley's Articles at:
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[Note: Due to a size limitation, the title, above, had to be abbreviated. Apologies to the author and - Admin]
This article was posted by permission.

Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:39 am
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