Leitner moves to Ambassador role with SD

'Uncle Teddy' leaves radio booth after 41 seasons

January 15th, 2021

For 41 seasons, Ted Leitner has been an ambassador for the Padres as the radio play-by-play voice of the National League team.

Starting today, that ambassador role comes with a capital A.

Leitner is transitioning to the role of Padres’ Team Ambassador as he moves away from the radio booth to a front-office position.

Known affectionately as “Uncle Teddy” to legions of fans who followed “My” Padres, through his words, Leitner will become involved in team-organized events for the Padres, including community appearances and speaking engagements.

The new role with the Padres could be a fastball to Leitner’s wheelhouse. In addition to his radio duties with the Padres as well as San Diego State -- where he will continue to be the play-by-play voice of the Aztecs’ football and men’s basketball teams -- Leitner is well known throughout the San Diego community as the host and emcee of countless major events.

“I love it, I really really love speaking to groups and fans,” said Leitner. “The person-to-person experiences you draw from being a speaker, I thrive during those moments and events.”

Over the years, Leitner has made dozens of appearances annually. Most notable among those events were the memorial services for Padres legends Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman as well as local Hall of Fame ceremonies honoring Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman, annual Padres Opening Day ceremonies as well as postseason award banquets and Jerry Coleman Day in 2012.

“Jerry Coleman was one of the greatest men I have ever known,” said Leitner. “Still, to this day, I miss the man. I think of Jerry all the time. How great it was to share the booth with him.”

Leitner has also spoken to numerous civic groups throughout the county. “That’s when I’ve been at my best,” said Ted. “I eat those opportunities alive and have always been so happy to do it.”

Padres fans tuned into Padres games to not only listen to the play-by-play but hear Leitner reminiscing about Padres history and stories about the game during exchanges with his partners in the booth, notably Jerry Coleman and more recently Jesse Agler.

“Ted is a gargantuan figure in San Diego sports history,” said Agler, who will become the Padres' lead play-by-play voice on the radio while being joined by Tony Gwynn Jr. as the color commentator.

“Sitting next to Ted was like getting a PhD in San Diego sports history,” Agler continued. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner or a better person to be sitting next to. Ted Leitner is a genuine, kind, caring, loving person. His talent speaks for itself.”

“I always tried to put a little humor in there, stories of the past or funny anecdotes,” said Leitner.

“Ted is a true San Diego sports icon, as his voice is synonymous with Padres baseball,” said Padres owner and chairman Peter Seidler. “He is respected and beloved by our fans and our ballclub. We are thankful for his 41 years of consistent excellence and deep passion for America’s pastime. We welcome him into his new role in the Padres front office.”

The 73-year-old Leitner was recently named California’s Co-Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association for 2020 for his work broadcasting Padres and Aztecs games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so glad we had the Padres last summer,” said Leitner. “It was meaningful for all San Diegans as well as myself. And it was just a glimpse into what can be a great run for Padres baseball.

“Peter [Seidler] and Ron [Fowler] have changed everything for Padres fans and Padres baseball. The investment has been incredible. And A.J. Preller’s work building the farm system and the depth of talent throughout the organization is astounding.

“The future is brilliant. Even before when we had good teams, the National League champions from 1984 and 1998 and the three-season run from 2005 through 2007, we’ve never had the extended success that I think the Padres now anticipate. It’s never looked like what we are going to be seeing.

“I will miss everything about the Padres broadcast that I have been privileged to be a part of for so many years,” said Leitner. “I’ve had the best seat in the house in San Diego for over four decades, and I’ve had the honor of working alongside Hall of Fame broadcasters [Coleman and Dick Enberg] while watching the greatest players to ever wear a Padres uniform.

“While the broadcast booth will always be in my heart, I look forward to working more closely with the San Diego community and our loyal fans in the future.”

Said Agler: “Ted has such a great appreciation and love for this community. He’s a remarkable play-by-play talent ... great skill, passion and energy. It’s an incredible thing that he does.”

Leitner is entering his 44th year as a San Diegan. In addition to his Padres and Aztec careers, Leitner spent 25 years as the sports anchor for KFMB-TV as well as doing play-by-play for the Chargers and Clippers.