Peter Magowan, who helped keep baseball in the Bay Area as part of the ownership group that bought the San Francisco Giants in 1992, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.
Magowan’s group purchased the franchise for $100 million from Bob Lurie in December 1992, keeping the team from a potential relocation to Tampa, Fla. One of the organization's first moves under the new regime was to lure Barry Bonds away from the Pittsburgh Pirates with a six-year, $43.5 million deal.
The Giants went on to have massive success -- even if a World Series title remained elusive until 2010 -- leading to a new ballpark, situated right next to the San Francisco Bay. The park opened in 2000 and was the first stadium built without direct public funding.
“During a tenuous period for the franchise, Peter stepped up and led the group that purchased the Giants and kept them in San Francisco,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “With groundbreaking vision, he then guided the effort that resulted in a ballpark that became a landmark for the city. In his 16 seasons of leadership, Peter oversaw a winning, civic-minded ballclub that represented the spirit of San Francisco. The foundation created under his direction helped make the Giants the model club they remain today.”
Magowan stepped down from the organization following the 2008 season but was credited with putting together the team that oversaw San Francisco's trio of World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
“Peter's mark on the Giants and the San Francisco community can be felt throughout the ballpark, in which he was intimately involved in the design and planning and throughout the daily operations of the organization,” Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said. “He set forth a Giants vision to create a winning culture and to serve our fans and the community. Over the past 25 years, we have followed through on his vision and his impact on our community will be felt for decades to come.”
Bonds, the mercurial and controversial slugger who went on to break the single-season and all-time home run record, also paid tribute to Magowan in a tweet.
“I'm extremely saddened by the passing of Peter Magowan,” he said. “I will never forget our first call about the possibility of me coming home to play. He saved baseball for San Francisco and will be greatly missed.”
Magowan in 2008 established the Giants Walk of Fame, which serves as a tribute to members of the Giants franchise past and present. He will be added to the Wall of Fame on Feb. 9.
He is survived by his wife Debby, five children and 12 grandchildren.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.