Hiroshi Yamauchi (山内 博)
- School Waseda University
Hiroshi Yamauchi was the owner of the Seattle Mariners. Yamauchi, the former President of the Nintendo Corporation, bought the Mariners in 1992 in a goodwill gesture to keep the Mariners in Seattle. MLB agreed to allow Yamauchi to buy the Mariners, but only on the condition his voting interest would be limited to 49%; this condition was later eliminated in 1996.
Yamauchi was famous for helping the Mariners break into the market in Japan by suggesting to sign pitcher Kazuhiro Sasaki in 1999 and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2000. In 2004, Yamauchi transferred the rest of his stock in the Mariners to Nintendo of America. As a result, Howard Lincoln became the team's principal.
When Yamauchi passed away at age 85 in 2013, Commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement while offering condolences: "This visionary businessman quietly played a pivotal role in preserving Major League Baseball in the Pacific Northwest for generations, and we are grateful for his selfless gesture to help the fans of Seattle following a period of uncertainty for their local baseball Club."