Mariners broadcaster chosen as Ford C. Frick Award winner

SEATTLE -- Longtime Seattle Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus is going into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Niehaus is the 2008 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence. He will be honored during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony July 27, at Cooperstown, N.Y. The announcement Tuesday came on Niehaus' 73rd birthday.

"It doesn't hit you really until they say you've won the award," Niehaus said. "It's the most humbling experience, without a doubt, I've had in my life. It's the biggest thrill in my life. For us in the broadcasting business, it's our Oscar."

Niehaus worked with the California Angels from 1969-1976 and joined the expansion Mariners in 1977. He was inducted into the Mariners' Hall of Fame in 2000 and is known for his expression "My, oh my" for big plays.

"Dave Niehaus is the heartbeat of Mariners baseball. Since Day One, he has painted a picture of baseball and summer in Seattle better than anyone ever has," Dale Petroskey, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a news release.

Niehaus said he received more than 60 congratulatory phone calls. One of the first was from former Mariners center fielder
Ken Griffey, Jr., now with Cincinnati.

"I told Junior, 'I'm glad I beat you into the Hall of Fame,'" Niehaus said. "His call meant a lot to me."

Mariners manager John McLaren said Niehaus' selection is long overdue.

"My oh my, what a great, exciting day for the city of Seattle, the Seattle Mariners and for the man himself," McLaren said at the team's spring training camp in Peoria, Ariz. "I'm so happy. I just can't tell you what it makes me feel like. It's made my day."