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.”