Professional sports team owners are far too often focused on the profitability of their franchise. They regard those teams as part of a portfolio, not something that the fans are invested in. Winning is nice but making money is more important. And then there was San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler.
One of baseball’s best, and most fan friendly, owners passed away on Monday. He was 63 years old. While a cause of death was not listed, Seidler had announced last month that he was undergoing cancer treatment once again.
A look at how Peter Seidler transformed the San Diego Padres
The grandson of former Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley, Seidler grew up with the game. He was part of the ownership group that purchased the Padres in 2012, taking over majority ownership in 2020. His family will continue to hold majority ownership in the organization even after his passing.
Seidler’s fandom showed with how he operated the Padres. He gave general manager AJ Preller the go ahead for large contracts and extensions. Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts were amongst the top free agents they signed, while Yu Darvish, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Joe Musgrove were some of the bigger names to sign long term extensions.
That willingness to spend, despite the Padres’ status as a smaller market team, proved how much Seidler cared. The fans responded in kind as the Padres drew over three million fans, the second highest attendance in the majors. He desperately wanted to bring a championship to San Diego, and while he did not succeed, he proved how much the fans meant to him and the organization.
And that is the type of owner that the league needs. Yes, it is easier for owners such as Seidler or Steve Cohen to spend their own money in an attempt to build a championship. But there are far too many owners like John Fisher, who just do not care about the fans at all. Seidler was the type of owner any fan would have wanted – and that may be the greatest honour for him in the game.
San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler has passed away at 63 years old. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time.