Obituary: Peter Magowan (1942-2019)

RIP to Peter Magowan, former managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants and considered the man who saved Major League Baseball in San Francisco. He died on January 27 while in hospice care. He was 76 and had undergone surgeries in recent years for prostate and liver cancers.

Most of what we know about today’s San Francisco Giants is the result of Magowan’s tenure, which lasted from 1992-2008. His management group purchased the team from former owner Bob Lurie, who was looking to sell the team to a group that would have moved the Giants to St. Petersburg, Fla. He spearheaded the construction of a new ballpark for the Giants, and he did it without using public funds — a rarity in a sport run by billionaires. He hired the executives who built the Giants into even-year World Champs in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He authorized the signing of Barry Bonds in 1992, putting the Giants back on the MLB map after some down years. For his work, Magowan was elected to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame and will be added to the Giants’ Wall of Fame in February of this year.

Magowan’s business background was in the grocery world. He was the chairman and CEO of Safeway from 1979-1993, succeeding his father in the role. He was born in New York City and was a lifelong Giants fan. He was a part of the team’s Board of Directors, and when Lurie was looking to sell the team to a Florida ownership group, Magowan put together a group of local investors who would keep the team in San Francisco. NL owners rejected Lurie’s attempt to sell to the Florida group and suggested he look for local ownership instead. Magowan’s group bought the team, and he resigned from his position at Safeway in 1993 to focus full-time on the Giants.

“The Giants family, the entire Bay Area and the game of baseball lost a man whose passion and loyalty to his favorite team and beloved community made it possible for all of us and future generations to experience the magic of Giants baseball in San Francisco forever,” said Larry Baer, Giants President and CEO. “Peter was my mentor and dear friend, and I will forever be grateful for his guidance, support and love. His legacy will be carried on by all those he inspired, including community leaders, our players, the front office, Junior Giants players and, of course, by his devoted family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Debby and his children and their families.”

Obituary (San Francisco Chronicle):


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