If not for this man, the San Diego Padres could have quite frankly moved to Washington D.C. in 1973 and 1974. Kroc the McDonalds restaurant mogul bought the team for $12 million dollars on January 25, 1974. Kroc had read about the uncertainty of the team in San Diego and negotiated buying the team during only one meeting with original owner C. Arnholdt Smith.
Kroc was a passionate owner and immediate endeared himself to the San Diego Padres fans. On opening day in 1974, Kroc took the microphone for the stadium and apologized for the play of his team during a 9-2 lost. “Fans, I suffer with you I’ve never seen such stupid ballplaying in my life.” With that the fans of the team knew we had an owner that was not going to mess around. Things would change for this franchise and Kroc would see to that.
The 1978 season was the teams first winning season and the franchise also hosted the All-Star game. Kroc gained the trust of Major League Baseball and the Padres seemed capable of sustaining themselves in San Diego.
He made constant changes to the formula and brought in Dick Williams to manage the team and Jack McKeon to be the general manager. The Padres finally had success in 1984 as the team made it all the way to the World Series. Sadly Mr. Kroc dies two months before the start of the 84 season. He was a special man and all Padres fans should be thankful for Ray Kroc.
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