BY SPNW Staff 07:00AM 09/16/2011

Niehaus statue unveiled today; who’s next?

The Mariners will unveil a statue of Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus at Safeco Field Friday. Fans can view it for the first time when gates open at 5:10 p.m.

Dave Niehaus, shown here at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY., will have statue in his honor unveiled at Safeco Field Friday. / Getty Images

A slightly larger-than-life statue of former Mariners Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus, who died on Nov. 10, 2010, will be unveiled Friday on the main concourse at Safeco Field (near section 105 in right center field). Fans will have their first opportunity to view the statue, created by Chicago-based artist Lou Cella, when gates open at 5:10 p.m., prior to the Mariners game with the Texas Rangers.

Niehaus is the second Seattle sports personality this month to rate a statue. Two weeks ago, the Seahawks unveiled an eight-foot replica of former tackle Walter Jones. The Jones statue, depicting the nine-time Pro Bowler in a blocking pose, is in front of the team’s new restaurant – the Seattle Seahawks 12 Club – in the north terminal at SeaTac Airport.

The Niehaus statue captures the popular broadcaster, who worked  5,284 of the team’s 5,385 regular-season games from 1977-2010, posing behind a microphone, with headphones on and his Mariners scorebook in front of him. Niehaus is seated, and there is a spot next to him where fans will be able to sit and pose for photographs.

According to the Mariners, the statue is “remarkably lifelike.”

Niehaus is shown wearing one of his favorite neckties with tiny baseballs on it. The scorebook is open to the most enthralling game in franchise history, the American League Division Series contest against the New York Yankees on Oct. 8, 1995, which the Mariners won on Edgar Martinez’s famous double down the left field line. The pages are engraved with Dave’s actual notes and scoring of the game.

With Niehaus and Jones cast in bronze, the obvious question now is: Who else from around here merits a statue?

If the Mariners opt to commission additional sculptures, their first choice would clearly have to be Edgar Martinez, with Ken Griffey Jr. second after a longer waiting period.

Given the circumstances under which he departed the Mariners, and even factoring in a recent reconciliation, Randy Johnson is, we think, a bubble choice. Ichiro is a no-brainer, Lou Piniella should be a no-brainer, and Felix Hernandez is too soon to call.

Given that he’s already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and once held every significant NFL receiving record, Steve Largent (1976-89) rated a statue from the Seahawks before Jones did. Our view: No other Seahawk warrants one, except for perhaps Cortez Kennedy.

Eighteen UW football players have been selected consensus All-America, but the list includes just two statue-worthy ex-players, Hugh McElhenny and Steve Emtman.

Of the 19 consensus UW All-America basketball players, also only two merit a statue, Bob Houbregs, the 1953 NCAA Player of the Year, and Brandon Roy, Washington’s best player since Houbregs.

If the Sonics still played here, Lenny Wilkens would be our first choice for a statue. And without fear of embarrassment, Seattle U. could certainly erect statues to Elgin Baylor, Johnny O’Brien, or both.

Among local Olympians, not even Apolo Ohno deserves a statue more than swimmer Helene Madison, who won three gold medals at the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. In fact, Alpine skier Phil Mahre, a three-time World Cup champion, rates a statue ahead of Ohno. But where would it stand? Behind a tree at White Pass?

We have listed, alphabetically, 20 state athletes, all retired, worthy of being bronzed. John Stockton isn’t listed because he already has a statue. Please pick the five that should become statues first. If you have a write-in candidate, please enter it into the comments section.

[poll id="23"]


YourThoughts

  • TJack

    I think a very tall statue of Charley Whitehurst holding on to a clipboard  would be very cool.

  • TJack

    I think a very tall statue of Charley Whitehurst holding on to a clipboard  would be very cool.

  • Pixeldawg13

    Also in the interest of accuracy, it’s worth noting that when Charlie Browning was drafted by the NFL, it was as a halfback.  And whattya know–he was a running back at UW, not a quarterback.