His passing elicited an emotional response from current club chairman Bob Nutting.
"The news of Mr. Danforth's passing was met with heavy hearts by all of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates," Nutting said in a statement. "At the same time, we all celebrate his life and the positive impact he has had on our city and the Pirates.
"Personally, I will forever owe him a debt of gratitude. The Pirates likely would not exist in Pittsburgh had it not been for his leadership and influence. So tonight, and all summer, as we gather together at PNC Park as a community to experience Pirates baseball, I will take a moment and think of him and his family.
"Our sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with the entire Danforth family. He will be missed and remembered fondly by all of us at within the Pirates."
Danforth was chairman of the Westinghouse Electric Company and on the Pirates board of directors when he and partner Carl Barger helped form the ownership group that retained the team for Pittsburgh when put on sale in 1985 by the Galbreath family.
Additionally, when potential buyers intending to relocate the club in Washington, D.C. emerged in the early '90s, Danforth informed them that the team would stay put in Pittsburgh.
Danforth served as the chair of the Pirates' board from 1987-92, following his 1983-87 tenure as chairman of Westinghouse, the company he took over in 1961 as assistant to the vice president of manufacturing in the Pittsburgh area.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.