The passing of the Seattle Mariners’ Dave Niehaus reminded me of the only time I personally met this “legend to become.”
It was just before the Mariners’ maiden season, February 1977, when the team was visiting Eastern Washington communities during their promotional winter caravan.
I contacted Randy Adamack, the Mariners’ first director of public relations, and arrangements were finalized for the team to arrive by bus at 7 a.m. to visit Greenacres Junior High School for breakfast as guests of the Spokane Valley Kiwanis Club. John Frucci, a Kiwanian and principal at Greenacres at the time, made arrangements for the kids to arrive for school a little early.
Even though the Mariners’ visit was almost 35 years ago, I still remember Dave Niehaus and his broadcast partner, Ken Wilson. The Greenacres cafeteria staff served the Mariners a great breakfast in the lunch room and everyone sat lunch-room style with the kids.
Dave introduced the team members, gave a short pep talk and confidentially predicted a bright future for the team. Names I remember include Vada Pinson, Glenn Abbott and Bob “Scrap Iron” Stinson.
One Mariners coach was introduced as “Bear” Bryant. I’ll never forget he was wearing a brand new navy blue suit with the white price tag still affixed to the coattail ($49.95). Our summers won’t be the same without Dave Niehaus.