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Originally published May 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Page modified May 10, 2013 at 6:01 AM

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‘SoDo Mojo’ ad writer was devoted to baseball, sons

Advertising executive Steven Cunetta came up with one of the most memorable Mariners ad slogans of the 2000s — “SoDo Mojo.” He died Monday of cancer.

Seattle Times staff reporter

As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, Steven Cunetta obsessed about baseball as a fan of the New York Mets.

So decades later, when the Seattle ad agency he worked for landed the Seattle Mariners account, Mr. Cunetta was happy to put his enthusiasm for the game to work.

As an account manager for Copacino+Fujikado, Mr. Cunetta came up with one of the most memorable Mariners ad slogans of the 2000s — “SoDo Mojo” — and collaborated on many of the team’s other ad campaigns over the years.

Mr. Cunetta died Monday after a yearlong battle with angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was 55.

“While a lot of Mariners fans didn’t know Steve, they probably knew his work through the Mariners commercials,” said Kevin Martinez, the Mariners vice president for marketing.

The team plans to honor Mr. Cunetta with a moment of silence before Friday’s game at Safeco Field.

Mr. Cunetta is also being remembered for his devotion to Seattle PONY Baseball, coaching hundreds of kids in the youth league over the decades. The organization recently named its Bronco Championship trophy in his honor.

“He did it for the love of the game,” said Tim Crocker, another longtime volunteer with the league. “We used to say ‘Cunetta’s forgotten more about baseball than we’ve ever known.’ But that was wrong. He never forgot anything about baseball.”

Born in Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1958, Mr. Cunetta grew up in a three-story walk-up apartment alongside three generations of his Italian-American family.

His father and grandfather were carpenters, and Mr. Cunetta attended Yale University with the help of a carpenters-union scholarship. At Yale, he studied psychology and sang with an a capella men’s choir called The Baker’s Dozen.

After graduation, Mr. Cunetta sold Bibles door to door, then took a sales job with Procter & Gamble before getting into the advertising business in New York.

He moved to Seattle in 1989 and worked for the ad firm McCann Erickson. He joined Copacino+Fujikado at its inception in 1998 and worked on the firm’s Mariners’ marketing campaigns.

Jim Copacino, the firm’s co-founder, said Mr. Cunetta “had this wonderful crackling energy,” a self-deprecating sense of humor and retained the fast-talking New York accent of his youth.

Living first in Capitol Hill and then in North Seattle, Mr. Cunetta was a devoted father of two sons.

“He put my brother and I first. That’s not just something he said but something he did,” said son Michael Cunetta, of Seattle. “He was at all the track meets, volunteering at school, coaching the baseball games.”

In addition to his son Michael Cunetta, Mr. Cunetta is survived by son Nicholas Cunetta, of Seattle, and brother and sister-in-law Michael and Maryann Cunetta, of New York.

A memorial is planned for May 18 in New York and plans are being made for a Seattle memorial at Safeco Field.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or jbrunner@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @Jim_Brunner

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