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The Bill Schonely Story You Might Not Have Heard

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune reports that the legendary Trail Blazers broadcaster almost ended up working in Major League Baseball instead.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers legend Bill Schonely almost became the voice of the Seattle Mariners, according to an article by Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune. The radio broadcaster who coined “Rip City” and several other phrases which live in Trail Blazers lore decades after his retirement got serious interest from Seattle’s Major League Baseball franchise during the mid-1970’s, just before the Blazers’ famous championship run.

"[Mariners President Dick Vertlieb] said, 'You're our guy, but don't say anything right now,'" says Schonely, 88, now founding broadcaster/ambassador for the Blazers and a member of the Naismith Basketball of Fame. "I was going to take it. I'd done baseball for a long time. I thought, 'Wow, I'm going to be back in baseball.' But I never said anything about it to anybody. I just went about my business with the Trail Blazers."

As Eggers relays, the club owner got involved and went with Dave Niehaus, who later became a legend in his own right.

The article is worth a read. Bonus points if you can convert “Rip City” and “Red Hot and Rollin’” and “Bingo Bango Bongo” into Mariners baseball terms.