By Shannon Drayer
After serving as president of the Mariners for 28 of the past 30 years, Chuck Armstrong announced Monday afternoon that he has decided to retire.
"Thirty years ago my family and I were given a wonderful opportunity to move to the Seattle area and become associated with the Seattle Mariners," Armstrong said in a release issued by the club. "We quickly grew to love this community and this team. Through all the good times and the not-so-good times on the field since 1984, the goal always has been to win the World Series. My only regret is that the entire region wasn't able to enjoy a parade through the City to celebrate a World Championship together.
"After much thought and reflection, it is now time for me to retire and enjoy as much time as possible with my wife Susan and our family. The recent deaths of several good friends have really had an impact on me and helped crystallize my decision. This was a very difficult, very personal decision, but I know in my heart that it's time to turn the page and move to the next chapter of my life."
Former owner George Argyros first brought Armstrong on board with the Mariners when he hired him as the president and chief operating officer in 1983. Armstrong held that position until 1990 when the club was sold to Jeff Smulyan. When Smulyan put the club up for sale, Armstrong was asked by Sen. Slade Gorton to help put together a group of investors to buy the club and keep it in Seattle. The Baseball Club of Seattle purchased the club in 1992 and brought back Armstrong, who has served as president and chief operating officer ever since.
"When the Baseball Club of Seattle purchased the franchise in 1992, it was clear that Chuck Armstrong was uniquely qualified to lead the organization," Mariners chairman and CEO said Howard Lincoln said in the press release. "Since Day One, he has given his heart and soul to Mariners baseball. He sincerely cares about the game of baseball, this organization, this city and this region. On behalf of ownership and everyone who has worked here for the past 30 years, I thank Chuck for his tremendous contributions. We wish him all the best in retirement with Susan and his family."
During Armstrong's tenure, the Mariners made four playoff appearances and tied the Major League record for wins in a season with 116 in 2001. Armstrong was also instrumental in the Mariners signing Ken Griffey Jr. in 1987.
In addition to his day-to-day work with the Mariners, Armstrong has been active in Major League Baseball at the national level, serving on the board of MLB Enterprises, Inc., the Commisioner's Special Committee for On-Field Matters, MLB's International Committee and the Commissioner's Ticketing Review Committee.
Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig said in the release, "I congratulate Chuck Armstrong, a great baseball man, on his upcoming retirement after 28 years of dedicated service to the Mariners franchise as club president. Chuck was one of the key leaders who secured the national pastime's future in the Pacific Northwest, guiding the Mariners as they became a model franchise in a wonderful ballpark. His knowledge and experience on both the baseball and business sides was an asset to our entire sport in numerous ways, including on my Special Committee for On-Field Matters and our International Committee, and he always kept the best interests of our game in mind.
"I and Chuck's many friends throughout the game will miss him both personally and professionally. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I wish Chuck, his wife Susan and their family all the best, and I thank him for his many contributions to the game he loves."
Armstrong will retire Jan. 31, 2014. The Mariners will now begin the process of finding a successor and determining a transition plan.