San Francisco Giants: Peter Magowan Saved Baseball in San Francisco
By Michael Saltzman
The San Francisco Giants and the Bay Area were shaken today by the news of the death of Peter Magowan from his long battle with both prostate and liver cancer.
The San Francisco Giants had recently announced just four days ago that they would be honoring Magowan this season as the first non player to be elected into the team’s Wall of Fame.
Magowan’s impact with the Giants was worthy of the honor.
As the former managing general partner of the group that bought the Giants in 1992, Magowan helped prevent the team from moving to Tampa Bay and ultimately building one of the most beautiful parks in all of sports in 2000.
In 2008, Magowan created the Wall of Fame, and team president Larry Baer saw it fitting to honor the man himself to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the park he helped build.
"“It is only fitting that we pay tribute to the man who played a pivotal role in revitalizing our franchise and in turning San Francisco back into a baseball town. Through his passion and love for his childhood team, Peter led the effort to not only keep the Giants in San Francisco but also to build a permanent home for generations of fans to enjoy.”"
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Now, Magowan his gone, but his legacy will remain in the city forever.
It started with some luck, as baseball rejected a $115 million offer from a ownership group based in Tampa Bay.
This opened the door for Magowan and his group to submit their own offer to keep the orange and black in the city by the Bay.
Magowan quickly went to work to not only secure the purchase, but pursue the game’s best player.
Barry Bonds was a San Francisco native, and with his father, Bobby Bonds, having played for the Giants and his godfather, Willie Mays, having been it’s greatest player, Bonds was the perfect free agent to pursue.
The Giants put their money where their mouths were and offered Bonds a record $43 million contract to come home to the Bay Area. The 1993 season saw the team win more than 100 games and come within one game of the post-season. Not bad for Magowan’s first year as principle owner.
The team would make the playoffs in 1997, and then in the off-season they broke ground on a new state of the art baseball only park.
Three years later, the ownership groups other dream became a reality with the opening of Pacific Bell Park in 2000.
He was awarded with the Executive of the Year award by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal in that same year.
Magowan stepped aside in 2008, but his impact was felt with the championship teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
As news of Magowan’s death was announced, the greatest Giants shared their emotions about losing someone that meant so much to them.
As all Giants fans mourn the death of Peter Magowan, let us never forget his impact on the Giants, his immediate pursuit of the greatest player in the game, Bonds, and the lasting legacy the park at 24 Willie Mays Plaza and against McCovey Cove will have on generations of San Franciscans and Bay Area families.