San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler died on Tuesday at the age of 63, the team announced. A cause of death wasn’t disclosed.
“The Padres organization mourns the passing of our beloved Chairman and owner, Peter Seidler,” said Padres CEO Erik Greupner in an official statement. “Today, our love and prayers encircle Peter’s family as they grieve the loss of an extraordinary husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. Peter was a kind and generous man, devoted to his wife, children, and extended family. He also consistently exhibited heartfelt compassion for others, especially those less fortunate. His impact on the city of San Diego and the baseball world will be felt for generations. His generous spirit is embedded in the fabric of the Padres.
“Although he was our Chairman and owner, Peter was at his core a Padres fan. He will be dearly missed.”
Seidler was part of a group that purchased the Padres in 2012 and eventually bought out the majority stake in November 2020. He grew up around the game as a third-generation member of the O’Malley family that used to own the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, was a two-time cancer survivor. The team announced in mid-September that Siedler had an unspecified medical procedure in August and wouldn’t be back at the ballpark the rest of the year.
Seidler and his brother Tom, as well as cousins Kevin and Brian O’Malley, bought into the Padres in 2012 with advice and support from Peter O’Malley, who owned the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1979-1998. Peter O’Malley’s father, Walter, moved the franchise from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.
It was with Seidler’s blessing that the Padres boosted their payroll to about $258 million on opening day, third-highest in the majors, after making a stirring run to the NL Championship Series the previous fall. The Padres underwhelmed most of the season despite having a star-studded lineup and missed the playoffs.
Seidler shrugged off questions about whether the Padres’ big spending on players like Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts was sustainable and mentioned how badly he wanted a championship parade for a city that has never had one.
“Do I believe our parade is going to be on land or on water or on both?” he said. “Putting a great and winning team on the field in San Diego year after year is sustainable.”
Seidler scoffed at the notion that San Diego was a small market. He viewed it as a unique city where the Padres were the only major pro sports franchise after the Chargers left for Los Angeles in 2017. Fans packed Petco Park last year, where the Padres set a franchise attendance record of 3,232,310 in 79 games, including 59 sellouts. The Padres were the home team in two games against San Francisco in Mexico City.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Peter’s passing,” Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement from Arlington, Texas, where Major League Baseball owners are holding league meetings this week. “Peter grew up in a baseball family, and his love of the game was evident throughout his life. He was passionate about owning the Padres and bringing the fans of San Diego a team in which they could always take pride.”
Machado was a personal favorite of Seidler, and the slugger received a new $350 million, 11-year deal last spring training despite saying he would opt out of the original $300 million deal he signed in 2019.
The Padres gave Bogaerts a $280 million, 11-year deal last December. In 2021, the Padres signed Fernando Tatis Jr. to a $340 million, 14-year deal. They traded for young star Juan Soto at the deadline in 2022.
Seidler’s death comes at a critical time for the franchise. The Padres are closing in on hiring a manager to replace Bob Melvin, who left for San Francisco last month after clashing with general manager A.J. Preller. The Padres also are debating whether to keep or trade Soto, who is under control for just one more season.
The Home Plate Gate at Petco Park will be opened by the Padres on Tuesday afternoon for fans to pay their respects.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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