Niehaus honored at Safeco Field

Niehaus honored at Safeco Field

SEATTLE -- With fans carrying around his commemorative bobblehead and the trademark "My Oh My" etched in the infield dirt behind second base, Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus was everywhere at Safeco Field on Sunday afternoon.

After entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., just a week ago as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence, Niehaus was back in front of his home crowd as the Mariners honored him by designating Sunday as "Dave Niehaus Day."

"Last Sunday was a lot easier," Niehaus said as he addressed the crowd in a ceremony before the game. "Reggie Jackson told me, 'Don't look behind you -- it'll be too intimidating.' But now I have to look forward, and this is more intimidating."

Niehaus received a minute-long ovation when he came onto the field, and former Mariners great Edgar Martinez presented him with a "Crystal Microphone Award" from the ballclub as a tribute to becoming the first member of the Mariners ever to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

"It has been a privilege for me to sit alongside Dave," broadcast partner Rick Rizzs said to open the ceremony. "When you listen to Dave call a baseball game, it brings you along on a wonderful nine-inning ride."

Video tributes to Niehaus from various athletes and broadcasters were played before and during the game. Rizzs also announced that the broadcast part of the press box will be known as The Dave Niehaus Broadcast Center.

"The award is yours, not mine," Niehaus told the fans, referring to his Hall of Fame induction. "You are the best fans in baseball, make no mistake about it."

With their ovations, the fans showed their appreciation for the man who has been with the Mariners since their inception in 1977.

"What comes to mind is, 'Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma, it's grand-salami time!" said Mariners fan Phil Coady, referring to a trademark Niehaus call.

Coady also recalled a Spring Training game several years ago when Niehaus took the time to sign an autograph for his grandson in the bleachers.

"He loves the fans as much as the fans love him," Coady's wife Betty Anne said.

That much was sure on Sunday afternoon, as Niehaus constantly spoke to the Mariners supporters who have listened to his voice on radio and television for so many years.

"I was just interviewed on television, and they said if you could say anything to the fans, what would it be?" he said.

"And I said six words, and I'll say them to you right now. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.