The Mariners sent out a bombshell announcement Monday afternoon, saying the team president and chief operating officer Chuck Armstrong will retire, effective Jan. 31, 2014. The search for his replacement will start immediately.
From the team:
Chuck Armstrong, the Seattle Mariners President and Chief Operating Officer, today announced that he has decided to retire, effective January 31, 2014. Armstrong, 71, has served in the position for 28 of the last 30 years, joining the franchise shortly after the 1983 baseball season under then-owner George Argyros. After an absence in 1990-1991 when Jeff Smulyan owned the team, he returned in July, 1992, when the current ownership group purchased the Mariners.
Armstrong said, “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. 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.
“Thanks to our outstanding ownership, the franchise is stable and will remain the Northwest’s team, playing in Safeco Field, a great ballpark and great example of a successful public-private partnership. The team is in good hands and positioned for future success. I am thankful for this important part in my life and I will always bleed Mariners Blue. Susan and I plan to continue to live here and remain involved in many community events and causes.”
Mariners Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln added, “When the Baseball Club of Seattle purchased the franchise in 1992, it was clear that Chuck Armstrong was uniquely qualified to lead the organization. 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.”
The Mariners will now begin the process of finding a successor and determining a transition plan.
For many years Armstrong has long been very active in Major League Baseball at the national level, and is currently a board member of MLB Enterprises, Inc., the Commissioner’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters, MLB’s International Committee and the Commissioner’s Ticketing Review Committee.
Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig said, “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.”
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Armstrong earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University (1964) and a law degree from Stanford (1967). He then served over three years on active duty in the U.S. Navy. Prior to his move to Seattle, Chuck practiced law in Los Angeles before running two large businesses in southern California. Over the years, Chuck and Susan have always been active in numerous civic, charitable and educational activities locally and nationally. They have three children (Dorrie, Katherine and Chuck) and four grandchildren.