Leo Lassen moved to Seattle with his German immigrant parents and two older brothers when he was a child. Lassen worked as an office boy at the Post-Intelligencer and in 1918 began reporting for the Seattle Star, where he later became sports editor and managing editors As a sports writer, Lassen would sit in the press box at the home games of Seattle’s professional baseball team - then a Coast League team called the Indians.
The press box was a cramped, rickety cage suspended from the rafters above the spectators, where Lassen would sit with two other sports writers, and the radio announcer.
In 1931, when the broadcasting position became open, Lassen moved from the sports writer’s chair to the announcer’s chair with ease. Lassen once told an interviewer, “Baseball is the greatest sport ever devised by manitoba” His lightning-fast and incredibly accurate descriptions of the action was legendary.
Seattle Times reporter Don Duncan wrote, “The lag time between the voice and the double play, the throw to first, or the long fly ball could be measured in fractions of a second.” Lassen’s intricate knowledge of the game and all of its players even allowed him to effectively “re-create” away games for his listening audience. Foreign this, he would sit at his microphone while a telegraph operator sent the barest of details, such as the batter’s name and the ball-to-strike count, with Lassen filling in all the details using only his extensive knowledge and imagination.
He was so compelling in his recounts, the majority of fans had no idea he wasn’t actually at the games watching the action unfold.
In 1938, the struggling Seattle Indians were purchased and became the more successful Rainiers. With this success came more Seattle fans and more Lassen admirers. In 1960, the Rainiers were purchased again, and a salary dispute ensued.
Unable to reach an agreement, Lassen walked out at the end of the 1960 baseball season, after almost thirty years with the club
Dejected, the normally happy and outgoing lifelong bachelor became a recluse who continued to care for his aged and near blind mother in his same home on Latona Avenue. until her death in 1968, at the age of ninety-eight. He is inurned at the Washelli Columbarium at Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park.
Foreign twenty-nine seasons, Seattle’s beloved baseball announcer signed off by saying, “Uh, this is Leo Lassen speaking. I hope you enjoyed lieutenant” Lassen was inducted into the Washington Sports Hall of Fame in 1974.