Without a doubt, the most remarkable aspect of Peter Seidler's incredible legacy was the impact he made on the city of San Diego -- in particular, the impact he made on communities less fortunate.
As our Anthony Castrovince wrote last week in his wonderful tribute to Seidler, donations to the Padres Foundation grew almost tenfold with Seidler installed as chairman. He tirelessly fought homelessness, and he raised money for local cancer research. He was so much more than just the owner of a sports team.
Given the season, there’s no better time to appreciate that aspect of Seidler's legacy.
On Sunday, the Padres announced their annual holiday giving tour, kicking off weeks upon weeks in which the organization will support excellent causes throughout the city.
It starts Monday with the team's annual turkey distribution, in which the Padres partnered with Northgate Market to provide Thanksgiving meals for 1,000 underserved families plus military families from the USO and the Armed Services YMCA.
Reliever Tom Cosgrove will be on hand to help distribute turkeys and side dishes, as will former Padres Mark Loretta, Brian Lawrence and Mark Grant, the team's TV color analyst.
The Padres have been hosting this event every November for nearly a decade now. Having been to a few of these, I can think of no more accurate representation of the Padres' place in the community. Families pull up, one car after another, and the players and staffers distribute meals and interact with those families.
The Padres, of course, are the only major men's professional sports team in town. It might have been easy to take their standing in the community for granted. Seidler never did. He actively sought to ensure the Padres were doing their part to help the people in the city they represent.
Monday's turkey distribution event is only the start of the Padres giving tour, which is presented by Gallagher. Next week alone, the team will host a care package party for Veteran’s Village San Diego and serve dinner to homeless youth at the Youth Assistance Coalition.
In December, at the start of the holiday season, the tour ratchets up. A few highlights:
- One hundred children from a local elementary school will be paired with a Padres player, former player or staffer for a holiday shopping event, in which the Padres will provide those kids with holiday gifts for the children and their families.
- The Padres will host a youth baseball clinic in nearby Tijuana, Mexico.
- The Padres will host a surprise bike distribution at a local elementary school.
- The Padres will provide gifts for classes at the Monarch School, which serves unhoused students and their families in San Diego.
- The Padres will serve lunch to Marine Corps recruits and their families, along with patients at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and their families.
- The Padres will deliver food to those in need throughout the county, assisting Mama's Kitchen in doing so, and they will sort and distribute food at the San Diego Food Bank.
And that's not even the complete list. The point is: Beginning today, at the start of Thanksgiving week, the Padres will be extremely active in their community, supporting the people in the city and surrounding areas who need that support most.
Frankly, I can think of no better tribute to Peter Seidler's legacy.