Skip to content

Former chairman of the Seattle Mariners dies

Sep 19, 2013, 8:53 AM EDT

Image (1) mariners%20logo.gif for post 4250

Hiroshi Yamauchi, the nominal owner of the Seattle Mariners since 1992 and, a tad more significantly, the chairman and largest shareholder of Nintendo, has died at the age of 85.

As far as actual team and game impact, Yamauchi may be the least notable Major League Baseball owner of all time. During the more than two decades Nintendo has owned the Seattle Mariners, he never even attended a ballgame, even when the Mariners played in Japan a couple of years ago. He gave new definition to the term “hands-off,” designating various executives as the team’s control person and, in all likelihood, not knowing the name of any Mariners players apart from Ichiro. Which, to be fair, could also be said of a great number of American baseball fans since, oh, 2002 or so.

Obviously Yamauchi’s main job made him a tad more notable. He led Nintendo from 1949 until his retirement a couple of years ago and in that time he transformed it from a struggling toy and playing card company into a video game powerhouse, overseeing the creation of the various iterations of the Nintendo gaming systems and its signature characters like Mario and Donkey Kong.

That he never fired the guy who designed Mario Kart in such a way that you were hit by that friggin’ lighting bolt thing every time you were about to win a race against your kids is one thing I will never forgive him for, in life or in death, but I’m sure he meant well.

Given his retirement this will obviously have little or no impact on the Mariners, but it will be interesting to see if they make public note of it at the next home game.

  1. 1ambetterthanyou - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Slow news day?

    • jm91rs - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      Yeah, it’s amazing that a baseball site would mention when a baseball owner dies. /S

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Would someone get this worthless piece of shit off this site?

  2. jarathen - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    That’s sad news for sure. He was one of those brash, intimidating leaders who always led the way with an iron fist and a refusal to accept that any other way was best, even though sometimes it was.

    • 1ambetterthanyou - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      And you know this how? Go back and read the article…. He was hands off and delegated everything. He also never attended a game or knew the players’ names. Doesn’t seem to brash to me…seems like a coward that ruled behind a desk.

      • jarathen - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        I was talking more about Nintendo, which I should have mentioned. His way with the Mariners was that he didn’t know the way, so he delegated.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Hey, betterthannobody, you’re, well, kind of an asshole, for lack of a better term.

    I mean, really, what is your message? While posturing as someone superior, you really come up appearing small minded. So what’s the deal, slice?

    • zzalapski - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Overcompensation for something lacking, that’d be my guess.

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      Kind of? Are you kidding me?

      He needs to be put up against a wall.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      He just wants to get you riled up, you know. Personally, I like how funny and creative we are in responding/insulting him. The best part of heckling is the comebacks.

      • ptfu - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        Heh, yeah. We could respond with “Don’t feed the trolls” every time, but this way is more imaginative.

      • historiophiliac - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        Agreed. It’s fun to poke the trolls. It amuses me.

  4. cdpmc47 - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    I get and accept that the Mariners are an easy target, and being a fan of the team lord knows we’ve done a lot to make us look stupid, and I get that he was an absentee owner, with a practically debilitating fear of flying–but let’s not pretend he was an idiot.

    Scott Weber has a great obituary on him over at Lookout Landing that reminds us that he helped save and keep baseball in Seattle–something a lot of us wish the owner of a certain former basketball team here had been able to do. It also touches on the impact he had on luring Japanese talent to Seattle–whether it was Ichiro or fellow Rookie of the Year Kaz Sasaki, or Ichi-admirer and all-around awesome mascot/25th-man Munenori Kawasaki. I’m pretty sure he knew their names, too.

    http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2013/9/19/4748026/mariners-owner-hiroshi-yamauchi-passes-away-at-age-85

    That’s all, I’ll go back to lurking now.

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 19, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Hisashi Iwakuma as well.

  5. sportsdrenched - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    In a week where people are going ape over Grand Theft Auto 5 I think his death is mmore notable for the Nintendo aspect. I think for anyone my age, Mid-30’s the proliferation of Nintendo was a major part of childhood. I remember playing Super Mario Brothers on an arcade set at a convenience store that we rode our bikes too. My parents made me save the $100 it took to actually buy an NES. My first game outside of the SMB/DH cartridge was Bases Loaded where you had to right down an 8 digit code to continue in a season. I’m not sure I ever made it passed 20 or 30 games. I could write about this all day and that would interrupt my playing of Dragon Warrior. So Rest in Peace Nintendo Proliferation Guy.

    • 1ambetterthanyou - Sep 19, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      Yawn. Go get a room with the guy if he means that much to you.

      As far as his death being notable…no not really.

  6. eightyraw - Sep 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Rare (baseball-oriented) interview with Mr. Yamauchi, from shortly after he purchased the team:

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920716&slug=1502386

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Patience finally paying off for Royals fans
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (3521)
  2. G. Stanton (2699)
  3. H. Ryu (2461)
  4. A. Rizzo (2432)
  5. J. Hamilton (2300)
  1. M. Trout (2248)
  2. N. Arenado (2184)
  3. C. Kershaw (2182)
  4. E. Gattis (2084)
  5. D. Ortiz (2008)