Padres mourn passing of owner Peter Seidler

November 15th, 2023

SAN DIEGO -- Padres owner Peter Seidler died on Tuesday in San Diego, the team announced. He was 63.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Peter’s passing,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Peter grew up in a baseball family, and his love of the game was evident throughout his life. He was passionate about owning the Padres and bringing the fans of San Diego a team in which they could always take pride. Peter made sure the Padres were part of community solutions in San Diego, particularly with the homeless community. He was an enthusiastic supporter of using the Padres and Major League Baseball to bring people together and help others.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Peter’s wife, Sheel, and their family, his Padres colleagues and the fans of San Diego.”

Seidler twice survived treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In September, he issued a statement disclosing that he had undergone a medical procedure and expressed optimism about a recovery.

Seidler’s investment group purchased the Padres from John Moores in 2012, but he initially took a background role while partner Ron Fowler served as chairman. Seidler became the Padres’ chairman in November 2020.

Seidler was the grandson of longtime Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley and the nephew of Peter O’Malley, who succeeded his father as Dodgers owner. Seidler was a co-founder of Seidler Equity Partners, a private equity investment firm that manages more than $5 billion in assets, according to his Padres bio.

Before earning a master’s degree in business administration at UCLA, Seidler graduated from the University of Virginia, where he befriended basketball star Ralph Sampson. Sampson was a frequent guest at Padres games at Petco Park.
“The Padres organization mourns the passing of our beloved chairman and owner, Peter Seidler,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said in a news release. “Today, our love and prayers encircle Peter’s family as they grieve the loss of an extraordinary husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend.
“Peter was a kind and generous man who was devoted to his wife, children, and extended family. He also consistently exhibited heartfelt compassion for others, especially those less fortunate. His impact on the city of San Diego and the baseball world will be felt for generations.”

The outpouring of love for Seidler extended to the field as well, with Padres Yu Darvish and Matt Carpenter expressing their condolences on social media.

"My heart hurts with the unfortunate news of Peter Seidler’s passing," read a post by Darvish, who also brought flowers to a memorial for Seidler at Petco Park on Tuesday. "I’m sure everyone that knew him would agree with me when I say Peter was a truly wonderful human being, and being in his presence was always a blessing. He was a teacher of life, and taught me countless lessons from all the interactions we had. May his beautiful soul rest in peace."

"Praying deeply for the Seidler family today," Carpenter posted. "Peter was a wonderful man who will be missed greatly."

Seidler quickly became a popular figure in San Diego, as he loosened the Padres’ purse strings and approved transactions that helped the team reach the postseason in 2020 for the first time in 14 years and the NLCS in 2022. More than that, he embedded himself in San Diego’s charitable networks.

Seidler notably supported organizations seeking solutions to homelessness. In 2017, he formed “The Tuesday Group” -- a collection of civic leaders who met weekly to address issues of the homeless. He was one of two private citizens on the City of San Diego’s leadership council for its homelessness reduction plan. He was named the 2022 San Diegan of the Year by the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper and was honored with the 2023 Herb Klein Spirit of San Diego Award by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Under Seidler’s watch, the Padres Foundation increased yearly donations tenfold, the team said.

“His generous spirit is now firmly embedded in the fabric of the Padres,” Greupner said. “Although he was our chairman and owner, Peter was at his core a Padres fan. He will be dearly missed.”

Under Seidler’s ownership, the Padres became a force in the offseason and Trade Deadline talent markets; the team's payroll grew from $80 million in 2012 to about $250 million this year. The Padres landed third baseman Manny Machado in 2019 as a major free-agent splash and brought in outfielder Juan Soto at the 2022 Trade Deadline. Fernando Tatis Jr. emerged as an essentially homegrown star -- he arrived via trade with the White Sox before he played even one Minor League game -- and was rewarded with a 14-year, $340 million contract.

After the Padres landed shortstop Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280 million contract last winter, Seidler addressed questions about the sustainability of the team’s spending. He simply pointed to his ultimate goal -- bringing a World Series title to San Diego.

"We expect to be good year after year,” Seidler said. “As an owner who will be in this game as long as I'm allowed to, we look at a very long-term perspective."

In addition to his wife, Sheel, Seidler is survived by their three children; his mother, Terry; and nine siblings.