Call it the end of an era. On Wednesday night, the Seattle Mariners took to their official Twitter account to announce that Nintendo plans to sell a majority of its interest in the Major League Baseball team to other members of the franchise's current ownership group.
It's a significant announcement, considering that then-Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi bought a majority stake in the Mariners back in 1992 and they're unloading on a bulk of their 55-percent stake, only planning on retaining 10 percent of its ownership.
In a statement to the media, as reported by Kotaku.com, Nintendo explained what went into the late Yamauchi's decision to purchase a majority of the baseball club and the company's current reason to sell most of its stake.
"As many of you know, Nintendo of America Inc., which is headquartered in the Seattle area, was approached by local representatives in the early 1990s and invited to invest in the team, which was at risk of being moved away from the region," the company began explaining in its statement. "The late Hiroshi Yamauchi, at that time the president of Nintendo Co. Ltd., agreed to spend his own money to purchase the majority ownership of the team in order to show Nintendo's appreciation to the U.S. for helping Nintendo to do business in the country and to contribute to the local residents and area. He became the principal owner of the team in 1992."
Good timing. The 1992 MLB season had a then-23-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. starring on the Mariners as arguably baseball's biggest star. And the Mariners would have some solid seasons, but things changed when Yamauchi died in 2013.
The statement continued: "Due consideration had been made before his death and his ownership had already been transferred to Nintendo of America in order to ensure the team would remain in the area. Then Mr. Satoru Iwata, who had been overseeing the team as the new president of Nintendo after Mr. Yamauchi, as well serving as the CEO of Nintendo of America, passed away last year. This sad occurrence, along with [former Nintendo of America chairman] Mr. [Howard] Lincoln's desire to relinquish day-to-day leadership for the team, prompted this decision."
Well, it was a memorable run while it lasted. Hopefully, we'll still see Super Mario pop up at Mariners' games every now and then once the sale is complete.