Before the opening game of their series with the Kansas City Royals Monday night, the Seattle Mariners held a moment of silence for owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, who purchased a majority stake in the ball club back in 1992, preventing the team from moving to Florida. Before the ceremonial silence, a statement was made about the role Yamauchi played for baseball in both Seattle and all of America, as he was also mentioned for being instrumental in bringing Japanese players to the states. In 2001, the Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki, the first Japanese position player to ever play Major League Baseball.
Mariners Chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln has stated that Nintendo will not sell its stake in the team now that Yamauchi has passed away. Yamauchi died of pneumonia last Thursday at 85 years old. Here is the statement made prior to the moment of silence held by the Mariners:
“Last week the Seattle Mariners organization lost the man responsible for saving baseball here in Seattle. Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi purchased the Mariners franchise in 1992 as a gesture of goodwill to the citizens of the Pacific Northwest. He transformed his great grandfather’s playing card company, Nintendo, into a global video game powerhouse. His gift of baseball to this region will never be forgotten. Mr. Yamauchi will forever be a significant figure in Mariners baseball history. He will also be remembered throughout the game for his role in moving forward the opportunity for Japanese baseball players to play in the United States.”
According to Seattle Mariners chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln, who also happens to serve on the board of directors at Nintendo of America, Nintendo has no plan to sell its stake in Major League Baseball team the Seattle Mariners. Speculation arose last week that the company’s ownership of the Mariners may be coming to an end following the death of Hiroshi Yamauchi. Although Yamauchi transferred his shares in the team to Nintendo of America in 2004, he was still considered the owner of the Mariners in name and title.
In 1992, Yamauchi famously purchased a majority stake in the Seattle Mariners at a time when the team was in dire straits and on the verge of moving to Florida. Despite having never attended a Mariners game, Yamauchi is credited with saving the team and keeping them in Seattle, which is also home to Nintendo of America. The Mariners would go on to tie the MLB record for most wins in a season in 2001, while Yamauchi, as President of Nintendo, lead the company to a string of innovations and successes in console gaming until stepping down in 2002. Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away from pneumonia last Thursday at the age of 85.
Here are Howard Lincoln’s comments regarding Nintendo, the Mariners, and Yamauchi’s death:
On Nintendo’s Ownership of the Seattle Mariners: “There’s always speculation in times like this. I think I can speak on behalf of Nintendo of America and say that Nintendo has no plans to sell its majority interest in the Mariners….I can’t tell you what’s going to happen in the future, but now Nintendo feels very strongly that Nintendo wants to maintain its ownership interest in the Mariners.”
On Yamauchi: “There’s a flood of recollections. I’ve known and worked for him for more than 30 years. More than 2,000 people came to his (memorial) in Japan on Saturday, I was told. He was a man of small stature and commanding presence. People liked him. I saw him in action in Japan and the United States, and he was always very warm. He was a visionary. We need to think about and never forget all he did for Seattle and for the Northwest.”
Hirokazu Tanaka, also known as Hip (or Chip) Tanaka, has remixed the theme music for both Metroid and Super Mario Land as tributes to Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo’s long-time President who passed away this week. Tanaka worked at Nintendo as a composer and audio producer for 19 years, from 1980 to 1999, producing the original soundtracks for both of the titles he remixed. He now works as a chiptune artist.
Yamauchi served as Nintendo’s President from 1949 to 2002, ushering in the video game era for the company in the 80′s, and thus remained President throughout the duration of Tanaka’s tenure at the company. On Thursday, Yamauchi died of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan.
All of Nintendo’s social media outlets have posted the same message today, indicating that they will not be posting any news, updates, or promotions in remembrance of former president Hiroshi Yamauchi, who passed away yesterday. Nintendo of America, Nintendo UK, and Nintendo of Europe all posted the same message on Twitter in the last 24 hours, which appears below.
Yamauchi is credited with ushering in a new era of gaming by serving as President of Nintendo when the company first released its iconic Mario and Donkey Kong franchises. He famously gave the young, aspiring artist Shigeru Miyamoto a chance to design Donkey Kong when all odds were against the success of the game. Yamauchi died of pneumonia yesterday at a hospital in central Japan. He was 85 years old.
In remembrance of Mr. Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo will not be posting on our social media channels today.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, and executive managing director of Nintendo, Shigeru Miyamoto recently took some time out to talk about the influence that Nintendo’s former third president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, had on both the Nintendo DS and Wii U. The company’s stance on creating new, unique, and innovative products clearly stemmed from Nintendo’s third president. Here’s what Miyamoto and Iwata had to say about their former mentor.
“When we developed the DS, we started from the question, ‘If we make a high spec Gameboy Advance, is it something people will want?’” recalled Miyamoto. “If you make the same sort of thing, there’s no uniqueness to it. When there’s nothing unique, all you get as a result is a price war.”
“Mr. Yamauchi had no direct input in the development of the Wii U, but indirectly, you could say his idea from the DS is connected.”
“Even before the DS was born, we often heard Mr. Yamauchi say ‘Don’t do the same as what’s been done before’ over and over.” recalled Iwata. “I practically had calluses on my ears.” added Miyamoto with a laugh.
Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi has reportedly lost around $312 million due to Nintendo’s stock price taking a sharp drop. Yamauchi is believed to own around 10% of Nintendo’s stock according to Bloomberg. Once upon a time Hiroshi Yamauchi was estimated to be Japan’s wealthiest man. That could well have changed.