Padres president Peter Seidler dies at 63

Padres president Peter Seidler, who exuded joy in nearly every encounter and became a hero to Padres fans for his financial commitment and passion for the team and baseball, died Tuesday morning.

Seidler, who turned 63 last week, had been battling the disease for several months. His wife and children were by his side when he died. The family has asked that the cause of death remain confidential at this time.

“The Padres organization mourns the passing of our beloved chairman and owner Peter Seidler,” Padres CEO Eric Gruppner said in a statement. “Today, our love and prayers surround Peter’s family as they grieve the loss of an extraordinary husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. Peter was a kind, generous man who was devoted to his wife, children and extended family. He also always Showing heartfelt compassion for others, especially those less fortunate. His impact on the city of San Diego and the world of baseball will be felt for generations. His generosity of spirit is now firmly woven into the minds of the Fathers. Although Peter was our chairman and owner, but he was a Padres fan at heart. “He will be deeply missed. “

The home plate gate at Petco Park will be open at midnight Tuesday for those who wish to gather and pay their respects. Gates will reopen at 6 a.m. Wednesday and remain open until midnight. Free parking is available in the Tailgate Lot on Imperial Avenue.

While the Padres do plan to honor Seidler during the 2024 season, no public memorial has been announced.

The Padres will take a week to grieve as an organization and put all non-essential matters on hold. Their manager search will be temporarily halted, with word that a new manager will be named before the Thanksgiving holiday next week.

Seidler is survived by his wife, Shel, and three young children. his mother Terry Seidler; and nine brothers and sisters. His brother, Tom Seidler, is the organization’s senior vice president of community and military affairs.

Seidler’s grandfather, Walter O’Malley, moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958, and his mother and uncle, Peter O’Malley, have always owned the team Until 1998. Many of Seidler’s happiest moments as an owner occurred when the Padres beat the Dodgers, whom he once called “the dragon on the highway we were trying to slay.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened by the news of Peter’s passing. Peter grew up in a baseball family and his love for the game continued throughout his life. . He is passionate about owning the Padres and bringing San Diego fans to a team that they will always be proud of. Peter ensures that the Padres become part of the solution for San Diego’s communities, especially the homeless community. He is leveraging An ardent supporter of the Padres and Major League Baseball for bringing people together and helping others. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my best wishes to Peter’s wife, Shell, and their family, his Padres colleagues, and the fans of San Diego. Deepest condolences.”

Seidler was part of the group that purchased the Padres in August 2012. He moved to San Diego and soon became active in philanthropic causes, such as working to reduce homelessness. The Padres Foundation’s annual giving increased by 1,000 percent, in large part due to Seidler’s leadership.

Seidler became Padres president (the team’s majority owner) in November 2020 with the retirement of Ron Fowler.

Gold Mountain's Dylan (left) and Adrian LeRae express support for Padres president Peter Seidler.

Gold Mountain’s Dylan (left) and Adrian LeRae express support for Padres president Peter Seidler.

(Kirk Kenney/San Diego Union-Tribune)

Seidler was well-liked almost immediately after taking over the day-to-day operations of the team, as fans considered him essentially one of their own due to his added expense and energy. He once declared that the 2020s would be “the decade of the Padres.” In 2022, Seidler, usually accompanied by his wife and/or eldest daughter, will meet the Padres in a city on almost every road trip, which is unheard of for team owners.

Two days after the Padres lost to the Phillies in the 2022 National League Championship Series, the first time the franchise had advanced that far in 24 seasons, Seidler was asked about the Padres’ ’23 roster.

“I kind of like spending money,” Seidler said with a laugh. “You can’t take it away.”

Padres owner Peter Seidler joined in the celebration after defeating the Dodgers to win the National League title in 2022.

Padres owner Peter Seidler joined in the celebration after defeating the Dodgers to win the National League title in 2022.

(KC Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune)

The $256 million the team has committed to players through 2023 ranks third in the majors.

Seidler is considered by many to be Working to find solutions to San Diego’s homelessness problem. He has served on the board of directors of the Lucky Duck Foundation, a San Diego nonprofit that has previously raised millions of dollars for various charitable causes. Turn all attention to homeless people 2017.

That year, Seidler and local businessman and restaurateur Dan Shea, who also serves on the foundation’s board of directors, spearheaded the installation of two large tents, each costing $800,000, on city property designed to temporarily house the homeless. while trying to find them permanent housing.

The Lucky Duck Foundation followed up and Financing purchase and construction Later that year, an outbreak of hepatitis A among homeless communities killed 20 people and sickened hundreds more. The city funded a third tent.

Around the same time, Seidler initiated weekly meetings, held every Tuesday in his second-floor office in Petco Park, where San Diego’s leading lights would gather to discuss solutions to the growing problem of homelessness. . this”Tuesday group“, as it came to be known, had been holding meetings in Seidler’s office for many years.

Seidler is not a dispassionate observer of the issue — he is known to walk through the homeless encampment in the East Village near Petco Park and interact with the people who live there, as well as for his regular nightly walks on the beach homeless people encountered. neighborhood near his home.

In a wide-ranging interview in July in a suite at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, Seidler was asked how his team’s performance during the season affected him.

“These things don’t make me angry,” he said in his final public interview. “It pisses me off when people mistreat a homeless person when his or her problems are not his or her fault. It’s a joy. It really is. I read about Lost Cause because I Really want to turn it around. I want to learn as much as I can and ask the right questions. But these guys are giving it their all.”

Seidler is all about positivity. When he answers questions with negative connotations, he always acts as if he doesn’t notice and gives an answer filled with hope and belief, and a general feeling that anything is possible.

On the first day of spring training in February, Seidler was asked whether any team that didn’t reach the World Series would be considered a failure based on the team’s 2023 performance and salary investment. His answer was simple and delivered with his typical cheerfulness.

“One day soon,” he said, “the baseball gods will smile on the San Diego Padres and we’ll have a parade.”

Seidler has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma twice and has battled health issues for years. He later told the Union-Tribune in an interview in July that he intended to keep the priests in his family for generations after his death. A source confirmed the plan on Tuesday.

Staff writer Alex Riggins contributed to this report.

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