Mariners owner Hiroshi Yamauchi dies at 85

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who built Nintendo into a video game empire, and who is also largely responsible for saving baseball in Seattle, died Thursday in Japan at the age of 85.

Yamauchi was the majority owner of the group that purchased the Mariners from Jeff Smulyan 1992. He later transferred ownership to Redmond based Nintendo of American, but remained in control of the club.

Yamauchi never attended a Mariners game and did not grant interviews to American media, making him something of a mystery owner to Mariners fans, but it’s impossible to ignore the impact he had on the club, which likely was headed out of town had he not stepped in to purchase the team. Yamauchi played a role in paving the way for Japanese players in Major League Baseball, and non-pitchers in particular, by bringing Ichiro Suzuki to the Mariners.

It would be premature to speculate on what effect Yamauchi’s passing will have on the Mariners.

UPDATE: The Mariners issued the following statement on Yamauchi’s death.

“The Seattle Mariners organization is deeply saddened by the passing today of Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi. His leadership of Nintendo is legendary worldwide. His decision in 1992 to purchase the Mariners franchise and keep Major League Baseball in Seattle as a “gesture of goodwill to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest” is legendary in this region. Mr. Yamauchi will be remembered for his role in moving forward the opportunity for Japanese baseball players to play in the United States. He will forever be a significant figure in Mariners Baseball history.”

More in Sports

Seahawks shake off slow start, sideline fracas to beat Giants

Russell Wilson throws 3 2nd-half TD passes and Seattle’s defense allows just 177 yards in 24-7 win.

Analysis: Huskies still in good shape at midseason

Despite a loss to ASU before the bye, UW is still in a good spot to repeat in the Pac-12 North.

Seahawks notebook:Baldwin meets with commissioner Goodell

Plus, running back C.J. Prosise gets hurt again and rookie offensive lineman Ethan Pocic debuts.

Grading the Seahawks’ 24-7 win over the Giants

Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 24-7 victory over… Continue reading

REFLECTIONS: Silvertips fall to Thunderbirds in first of 10 games

The Game It was another tough one for the Silvertips who dropped… Continue reading

Thunderbirds hand Silvertips 4th consecutive defeat

Seattle beats Everett 4-3 in the first of 10 scheduled matchups between the two U.S. Division rivals.

QUOTES: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on win vs. Giants

Seattle coach Pete Carroll gives his opening remarks following the Seahawks’ victory over New York.

Sounders wrap up regular season with win over Rapids

Nicolas Lodeiro scores twice to life Seattle to a 3-0 win.

High school football at a crossroads

Local high school football participation numbers are following a downward trend.

Most Read