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.”