Mariners honor former execs Ellis, Lincoln

Mariners honor former execs Ellis, Lincoln

SEATTLE -- John Ellis and Howard Lincoln, the two previous Mariners CEO and chairman of the board, were honored Friday for their 24 years of service to the organization with a special Seattle Mariners Franchise Achievement Award.

The newly created award, which recognizes significant contributions to the Mariners, was presented to Ellis during a ceremony prior to Friday's game against the Astros at Safeco Field. Ellis threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Lincoln's award was presented to him earlier this month after he retired as CEO and turned that position over to John Stanton.

"It is not an overstatement to say that without John Ellis and Howard Lincoln, the Seattle Mariners would not be here today, two games back in the Wild Card race and playing some of the most exciting September games in franchise history," Stanton said.

"They both played a key role in the formation of the current ownership group that purchased the Mariners in 1992 and blocked the team's relocation to Tampa. They literally helped save baseball in Seattle and built a strong foundation for the team's current success with their hard work and dedication over the last quarter century."

Ellis, the former president and CEO of Puget Sound Power and Light, used his connections to bring together a local group of 16 investors from technology and telecommunications, including Nintendo and Microsoft, to purchase the team from Jeff Smulyan and later oversee the building of Safeco Field.

Lincoln, who was then a senior executive at Nintendo of America, played a key role in persuading Hiroshi Yamauchi, then-president of Nintendo Company, to purchase a majority interest in the team.

Ellis became the first chairman and CEO under the new owners and held those positions from 1992-99. Lincoln succeeded Ellis in 2000 after retiring as chairman of Nintendo of America. Lincoln retired from the Mariners in August and now shares the title of chairman emeritus with Ellis.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.