Here are my picks for the five greatest Northwest sports play by play guys.
The greatest Northwest sports moments wouldn’t be the same without the voices calling them.
1. Dave Niehaus
Until this season, he was literally the one and only voice of the Seattle Mariners.
He called their games from their inaugural season in 1977 until the end of the 2010 season.
Tragically, he passed away last November.
Get out the Rye bread Grandma It’s Grand Salami time!!
During his time as the voice of the Mariners, he called 5,284 of a possible 5,385 Mariners games; he invented the nicknames “A-Rod” and “The Kid”; and he most famously called the winning hit of the 1995 ALDS between Seattle and the New York Yankees. He’ll be missed.
With respect to all the great northwest play-by-play personalities, there’s Niehaus and there’s the rest.
He’s the man.
2. Jim Robson
For three decades, Robson was the voice of the Vancouver Canucks, making the calls through Stanley Cup Final runs in 1982 and 1994. He was sort of the Vin Scully of hockey broadcasting in that he flourished without a colour commentator (which he didn’t have on the road for his first seven seasons).
In addition calling many famous Canuck moments, he called Bob Nystrom’s Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal for the New York Islanders in 1980. Robson also voiced the BC Lions in the CFL. He was a true Northwest broadcasting legend.
3. Kevin Calabro
He slides to third because he wasn’t around for quite as long as the guys above him – but that may change, as he’s still going strong calling hoops and soccer in the Northwest.
Kevin Calabro is best known for voicing the Sonics, including the great Gary Payton/Shawn Kemp-led teams, from the late 1980s until the team left for Oklahoma City in the late 2000s.
4. Pete Gross
“Touchdown Seahawks!” Pete Gross voiced Seattle for 17 years, covering every single game before cancer started to take him in 1992 and he missed five games before his death.
He is part of the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.
5. Bob Rondeau
He’s the voice of the Washington Huskies (Football & Hoops) and has covered them since the early 1980s.
It was pretty special, then, to see the Pacific Northwest broadcasting legend get the privilege of calling UW’s first outright Pac-10 regular-season title in 2009. He earned it! Rondeau was famous for his ability to let the action tell the story, never talking over top of the most special moments.
He also has a knack for calling a great horse race.
If anyone can find some Rondeau football footage on Youtube please let me know and I’ll post it on this blog.
Hit me back with your thoughts below!