SEATTLE - Seattle Mariners president Chuck Armstrong says he will retire after spending 28 of the past 30 seasons in that position with the ballclub.

The team announced Armstrong's intentions on Monday afternoon. He will retire effective Jan. 31 and the club says it's beginning the process of finding a successor and starting that transition.

Armstrong, 71, joined the franchise as team president in 1983 and outside of a two-year stint in the early 1990s has been with the club in that role since. Armstrong says he wants to spend more time with his family and some recent deaths of friends helped crystallize my decision.

Armstrong said in a statment: 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.

Armstrong was instrumental in getting Safeco Field built, a move that helped solidify the team in Seattle, but Mariners' management has come under criticism after going the last 12 seasons without reaching the playoffs.

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.

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