Peter Seidler, Big-Spending San Diego Padres Owner, Dies at 63

Peter Seidler, the San Diego Padres owner who spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the as-yet elusive goal of bringing the city its first World Series title, died on Tuesday in San Diego. He was 63.

His death was confirmed in a statement on Tuesday from the Padres. A cause was not disclosed.

Seidler, who had twice undergone treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, said in September that he would not attend games for the remainder of the season as he recovered from a medical procedure in August.

Seidler was not shy about his ambitions to win a World Series with the Padres, no matter the cost. Under his leadership, the Padres spent big on players in hopes of winning a title.

“I kind of like spending money,” Seidler told The San Diego Union-Tribune last year. “You can’t take it with you.”

The Padres, which debuted in 1969, made history in 2019 when the team signed third-baseman Manny Machado to a 10-year contract worth $300 million. At the time, the deal was the largest contract given to a free agent. The following season, in 2020, the Padres reached the postseason, ending a 14-year playoff drought. They got to the National Championship Series in 2022.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on Tuesday that Seidler “grew up in a baseball family.” Seidler was the grandson of Walter O’Malley, who stunned the baseball world in the late 1950s when he moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles from Brooklyn. Seidler was the nephew of Peter O’Malley, who took over the Dodgers after his father, and oversaw the team to World Series titles in 1981 and 1988.

Peter Seidler was born on Nov. 7, 1960, in Alhambra, Calif., to Terry Seidler and Roland Seidler Jr. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Seidler also earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.

After working in the lending arm of Bank of America, Seidler in 1992 co-founded Seidler Equity Partners, a private equity investment firm. He made a fortune with his investment firm, which manages more than $5 billion of assets, according to the Padres.

Seidler’s foray into sports began in 2012, when he formed an ownership group to buy the Padres from John Moores. The group included his uncle Peter O’Malley, who left the Dodgers in the late 1990s. Seidler later took over as chairman of the Padres, after Ron Fowler stepped down in 2020.

As chairman, Seidler pursued a more aggressive spending approach with the Padres, acquiring pitchers Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove ahead of the 2021 season. The Padres reached the playoffs in 2022, advancing to the National League Championship Series, in which they lost the Philadelphia Phillies.

By the start of the 2023 season, the Padres had one of the largest payrolls in Major League Baseball, with some — including the commissioner — questioning whether such spending was sustainable.

“I don’t spend too much time, if any, thinking about what other people are thinking,” Seidler said in February. “We believe we have a great chance to go after that trophy and to deliver to San Diego its first parade — and with a great deal of seriousness and humility.”

Seidler told The Union-Tribune in July that the he planned for ownership of the team to remain in his family after his death.

Seidler is survived by his wife, Sheel, three children, nine siblings and his mother, Terry Seidler.

Petco Park, home of the Padres, opened on Tuesday afternoon to allow fans to pay their respects.

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