Following the death of former Nintendo president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, much speculation has been placed on the future of the numerous businesses he was invested with.
Most notably is the Seattle Mariners, which Yamauchi became the majority owner of in 1992 when then owner Jess Smulyan was looking to sell the team. Today, Nintendo of America announced it had no plans of selling its majority owners stake in the team.
Yamauchi, who many have credited with saving baseball in Seattle, transferred the Mariners ownership to Nintendo of America in 2004 to ensure and stabilize the famed franchise future. If Yamauchi had not transferred the team it is highly possible the Mariners would have received the same ill fate as the Seattle Supersonics, who were sold and moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Howard Lincoln, chairman and CEO of the Mariners and board member of Nintendo of America, confirmed the intention to maintain majority ownership though Nintendo. Lincoln said of Yamauchi, "He was a visionary. We need to think about and never forget all he did for Seattle and for the Northwest."
Possibly Yamauchi's greatest accomplishment in baseball was bringing Japanese superstar Ichiro Suzuki to the Mariners in 2001. Following a trade of future hall of famer, Ken Griffey Jr, from Seattle to Cincinnati in 2000, the franchise needed a new face and many believe the Mariners were able to land Suzuki because of Yamauchi and his Japanese roots.
Suzuki went on to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in his first year with the team and is currently the all time leader in steals,triples, batting average and hits for the franchise. Without Yamauchi who knows if the Mariners survive and Seattle could be without a basketball and baseball team.