Lester Smith, Original Mariners Owner, 1919-2012
The Seattle Mariners were saddened to hear today that one of the franchise’s original owners, Lester M. Smith, has died. SportsPress Northwest has posted an obituary here.
Smith was a partner with entertainer Danny Kaye, who along with four other investors, were the original owners of the Mariners when the expansion franchise was created in 1976. He and Kaye owned a string of successful radio stations, including Seattle’s KJR.
Mariners President Chuck Armstrong on Smith’s legacy:
“This man was a giant in the radio and entertainment business, and was Danny Kaye’s business partner. Moreover, throughout the years, Les served as a fabulous mentor and sounding board for me and provided a treasure trove of insight into the Mariners early days. He was a wonderful man. And if not for him and his efforts, we might not have Major League Baseball in Seattle today. Les remained a Mariners season ticket holder and came to as many games as he could. I will miss him a lot.”
The Mariners send their condolences and best wishes to Smith’s wife Bernice, daughters June, Kim and Laura, son Alex, grandchildren and great grandchildren.