The San Diego Padres announced on Tuesday that Chairman and Owner Peter Seidler had passed away.
Padres fans were stopped in their tracks Tuesday morning when the team announced that beloved owner Peter Seidler (1960-2023) had passed away. Fans revered Seidler for his willingness to spend to win, something that previous owners in San Diego refused to do.
Seidler released a statement in September, saying he had undergone a medical procedure and stated, “Although I can’t be at the ballpark for our remaining games this season, I am watching them all, and I look forward to making some noise together again in 2024 and celebrating the 20th anniversary of our beautiful ballpark.”
Seidler was a two-time cancer survivor.
On November 18, 2020, Major League Baseball approved the transfer of the role of Padres chairman from Ron Fowler to Seidler. Ever since then, the team was right in the thick of any free agent spending spree. The organization experienced unprecedented interest from fans, as Petco Park filled up to capacity on a regular basis in 2023.
The payroll soared north of $250 million, shattering previous franchise records. San Diego was a top-five team in payroll each of the last two seasons, which is something completely unheard of for Padres fans.
The thrilling run to the National League Championship Series in 2022 does not happen without the support of Seidler as owner. He enabled A.J. Preller and company to go out and get any player they wanted to try and build a championship team. Despite the disappointment since that October run, no one can take away the thrill and pure joy that run to the NLCS brought Seidler and all of San Diego.
While the formula fell flat in 2023, it wasn’t from lack of spending.
Since the acquisition of the team in November 2020, here are the notable free agent contracts and extensions the Padres produced under his leadership.
- Signing of Ha-Seong Kim (4 years, $28 million)
- Signing of Xander Bogaerts (11 years, $280 million)
- Extension of Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340 million)
- Extension of Joe Musgrove (5 years, $100 million)
- Extension of Yu Darvish (6 years, $108 million)
- Extension of Robert Suarez (5 years, $46 million)
- Extension of Jake Cronenworth (7 years, $80 million)
- Extension of Manny Machado (11 years, $350 million)
While some of those moves are rightly criticized, it certainly wasn’t from a lack of trying and being cheap. Seilder green-lit all of these from a money perspective. It shook the foundation of baseball, as San Diego has always been seen as a small market. That is because previous owners labeled it as such.
Seilder broke the mold. Not only did he prioritize winning over his bottom line, but he was often seen in public doing good deeds and being a genuinely good person. San Diego was better with Seidler there and worse off now that he is gone.
The UCLA grad routinely expressed his desire to bring a World Series championship to San Diego. It’s profoundly sad that he did not see that come to fruition in life.
Hopefully, the Padres can rally behind this and continue revamping the franchise after a bitterly disappointing 2023 campaign. Perhaps 2024 will see brighter days because of the foundation he laid and the inspiration and legacy he left behind.
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.