In selling to a local consortium led by John Stanton — a wildly successful wireless entrepreneur driven to win a World Series — Nintendo gives Seattle fans a tremendous parting gift.

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NINTENDO selling its majority stake in the Mariners is an opportunity to look back at a remarkable era in Seattle sports.

Yes, the Mariners have been adrift for more than a decade, having not reached the post season since 2001.

Distant ownership — that kept tabs through former Nintendo executive Howard Lincoln, the Mariners chairman since 1999 — might have been a factor.

Yet the Seattle region remains grateful to Nintendo for saving professional baseball when it appeared that the team was being relocated to Florida.

Leading the purchase of the Mariners in 1992 was a remarkable and generous gesture by Nintendo and its late chairman, Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln in March (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times)

Yamauchi never attended a game. He was motivated to express gratitude to the Puget Sound region for supporting Nintendo during its remarkable growth in the 1980s.

The company located its North American headquarters in Redmond in 1982 — before Microsoft moved there — followed by a major distribution center that opened in North Bend in 1991.

Nintendo’s ownership of the Mariners and a series of Japanese baseball stars that played for the team highlighted Seattle’s position as the gateway to the Pacific Rim and made Safeco Field a magnet for international tourism.

Contributions to trans-Pacific relations and the regional economy were little solace to long-suffering Mariners fans. But they finally have another reason to thank Nintendo.

In selling to a local consortium led by John Stanton — a wildly successful wireless entrepreneur driven to win a World Series — Nintendo gives Seattle fans a tremendous parting gift.