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.

1 Comment

On behalf of my mother and the whole family, thank you Chuck for your sentiments and kind words regarding Dad. Opening Day of the Seattle Mariners has been and always will be a family holiday. Dad was there this past year and although he won’t be there in 2013, he will be there in spirit with Dave, Rick and all the other Mariner fans that have passed. Being involved in major league baseball was one of the highlights of his carreer and since then the Mariner organization at the ballpark, on the field as well as at the front office have made all of us fans feel we are part of the big show. As Dad often said about business and life: “no one bats a thousand, keep swinging.”

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