Monday , October 18 2021

Peter Magowan, key leader of SF Giants and Safeway, dies



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Peter A. Magowan, the charismatic supermarket tycoon from Safeway and the owner and executive of San Francisco Giants who fought the relocation of the team and led the construction of its beach stadium, died Sunday at his home to Pacific Heights.

Magowan had been ill for several years, underwent surgery for the prostate and liver cancer, and recently entered hospital care. He died surrounded by relatives and friends, according to his wife, Debby Magowan. He was 76 years old.

Magowan was CEO of Safeway from 1979 to April 1993, when he began a 15-year term as a general managing partner of the Giants.

He contracted executives who built four World Series teams that won three championships in 2010, 12 and 14, and brought the franchise and its owners to significant financial success .


Magowan also made the signing of All-Star Barry Bonds after the 1992 season, a shocking entry into the market for a baseball agent for what had been a tenacious franchise.



GIANTS MAGOWAN / C / 10APR00 / SP / LI GIANTS, the main owner, Peter Magowan, talks to the crowd of winners during opening ceremonies at Pac-Bell Park on April 10, 2000 with the # 39, announcing Renzo Brooks-Moon of Giants PA, on the left and transmitter Jon Miller. By Lance Iversen / San Francisco Chronicle Photo: LANCE IVERSEN / SFC


Photo: LANCE IVERSEN / SFC


GIANTS MAGOWAN / C / 10APR00 / SP / LI GIANTS, the main owner, Peter Magowan, talks to the crowd of winners during opening ceremonies at Pac-Bell Park on April 10, 2000 with the # 39, announcing Renzo Brooks-Moon of Giants PA, on the left and transmitter Jon Miller. By Lance Iversen / San Francisco Chronicle


"Peter was a rare combination of life of an intimate friend and mentor," said Larry Baer, ​​president and CEO of the Giants. "We have followed this relationship for three decades. When you've really met Peter, you've seen that he had a heart of".


A preparatory child with a Stanford pedigree, Magowan brought a patrician elegance to the Major League Baseball when his management group arrived at Candlestick Park in 1993. In contrast to the tradition, which was for the property of # 39; hiding behind the glass in a private suite at the ball park, sat down with the followers in his business suit.

Magowan brought an elegant style to the ballpark, where he went for most home games, and could do what others had failed: to get a soccer stadium built in the center of San Francisco – it was opened on Third Street and Real year 2000 and without taxpayer money.

"He wanted to be sitting on the booths interacting with the fans," said Baer, ​​who often sat with him. "He had to twist his arm with a compelling business reason to get him enter the elegant suites."

On February 9, Magowan will add to the Giants' Hall of Fame. I had prepared a speech, which I expected to live long enough to deliver, for the event.

"I've often given a bad credit to keep the team from going to Florida and building this ball stadium," he wrote. "This is a very wrong way to observe our performance since parachuting would not have been built without the contribution of our partners."


Its mandate did not have controversy.

Magowan was criticized in the historic Mitchell Report, written by former US senator George Mitchell after research into the use of drugs that improved performance in baseball that He was commissioned by baseball commander, Bud Selig, to make a blind eye on the use of these giant gamblers' drugs.

Years later, Magowan expressed his regret not to do any more.

However, giant lovers will remember Magowan as one of the civic leaders who helped prevent the team from moving to St. Petersburg, Fla., In 1992. Owner Bob Lurie had reached a sales agreement with a group that planned to move the Giants, who had been losing money.

In fact, the National League rejected the sale and suggested to Lurie that he would find local owners who would run the team in San Francisco. Magowan and Baer organized a business elite of Who's Bay from Bay Area in an association that bought the Lurie club for $ 100 million.

The group included Charles B. Johnson, then principal of the company currently known as Franklin Templeton Investments. Johnson is today the main shareholder of the giants.



With the interpretation of an artist behind him, the general manager of Giants Peter Magowan presented the proposal of the team to build AT & amp; T Park during a press conference in 1996. Photo: LOU DEMATTEIS / REUTERS


Photo: LOU DEMATTEIS / REUTERS


With the interpretation of an artist behind him, the general manager of Giants, Peter Magowan, presented the proposal of the team to build AT & T Park during a press conference in 1996.


"Peter Magowan saved San Francisco baseball," said Bud Selig, the commissar of baseball, in 2008, when Magowan left the management of a general partner.

"I would have to get credit for that. That's a fact. He achieved a beautiful built stadium. When you observe what he has done in San Francisco, a city he loves, these are the two most important things he did."

After multiple failed attempts to build a publicly funded stadium to replace aging, freezing at Candlestick Park, the Giants under Magowan built what is known as Oracle Park. They used private financing, which is now frequent but, at that time, the owners of sports franchises that distraught the precedent were upset.

The Giants broke their waterfront park 350 million dollars in 1997. Before the first game, in 2000, Magowan and Baer launched their first ceremonial releases.

The team and ballpark are now believed to cost more than $ 2 billion.

"Look at the success of the Giants in their regime," said Bruce Bochy, who has achieved them in the field since 2007. "We are one of the most successful franchises in baseball. He passed here, as Peter took over. "

"I think we had a lot of influence," said Magowan after his election to the Hall of Fame of the Bay Area of ​​2016.

For Magowan, the Giants were a job of love and benefits.

Peter Alden Magowan was born on April 5, 1942 in Manhattan, where he grew up in East 69th Street from Park Avenue. Her maternal grandfather, Charles Merrill, co-founder of Merrill Lynch brokering, later became the biggest investor in the Safeway chain of supermarkets.

After the New York Giants won the national league of the National League in the round house of Bobby Thomson in 1950, the "Shot Heard Round the World," Magowan's father, Robert, told Peter they would attend the first game of the World Series the next day.



gegants038_mac.jpg Good people converse with the media at a press conference to announce the extension. Peter McGowan, CEO and CEO at the side. Barry Bonds extends its contract with the San Francisco Giants through the baseball season of the year 2006, which was announced today. San Francisco Giants vs. Houston Astros. 04/24/04. Michael Macor / San Francisco Chronicle 05-07-2005 ESPN has been critical of the Giants and Peter Magowan to allow Barry Bonds to supervise their own medical treatment. Photo: Michael Macor / SFC


Photo: Michael Macor / SFC


gegants038_mac.jpg Good people converse with the media at a press conference to announce the extension. Peter McGowan, CEO and CEO at the side. Barry Bonds extends its contract with the San Francisco Giants through the baseball season of the year 2006, which was announced today. San Francisco Giants vs. Houston Astros. 04/24/04. Michael Macor / San Francisco Chronicle 05-07-2005 ESPN has been critical of the Giants and Peter Magowan to allow Barry Bonds to supervise their own medical treatment.


In praising Thomson in 2010, Magowan said: "It meant a lot to me. There are not too many people who can honestly say the moment that made them happier in their life when they were 9 years old."

Magowan got to know Thomson in later years, but said when he was a child: "I would have known Bobby Thomson soon that the president of the United States."

Magowan's decision to help keep the Giants in San Francisco was born from the pain they felt when the club left their hometown for San Francisco in 1958.

"I was strongly influenced by what happened to the New York Giants," he said. "I saw them coming out, and it was so hard to understand. The Giants won the World Series in 1954, the Dodgers won it in 1955, and two years later both teams went to California."

Magowan grew a boy from the city, but after school at St. Louis's school. Bernard, the baseball team mounted buses to Randall's Island to practice and play. After preparing Groton, outside of Boston, he arrived to the west to attend Stanford University, where he was the captain of the first year football team and also played at the university.

He graduated in 1964 with a degree in American Literature and moved to the foreigner to obtain the master's degree in politics, philosophy and economics at the University of Oxford. His first election was to join the outside service, so he entered a postgraduate program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, but was disillusioned and worked in Safeway in 1968 in the area of Washington, where the supermarket chain had many stores. .

At different levels of management he worked in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Phoenix; and Montreal before finishing in the Oakland headquarters. After his father resigned to the presidency, Peter became the president and CEO of Safeway in 1979.

His first marriage ended in divorce, and in 1982 he met Debby Johnston at a dinner offered by Johnston's brother, a friend of Magowan, in Jacksonville, Florida.

"It was clever and charismatic and fun to be," said Debby Magowan. "He was a true Renaissance man. He could do everything, even cook."

They were married to Dallas, where Johnston lived, in 1982. They bought a home in Pacific Heights, and they moved once.

In 1986, Magoawn helped the supermarket chain avoid a hostile acquisition and complete a leveraged purchase, a process by which a company was deprived primarily of the funds borrowed. The agreement forced Safeway to close half of its stores between 1986 and 1988.

The cuts meant that Safeway was no longer the largest food retailer in the country, but also allowed the company to pay debts and focus on its most profitable core.

"We became a smaller company, but we were better managed, better operated as a result," Magowan told The Chronicle in 2003.

Safeway was public again in the early 1990's, generating massive profits for its new owners.

Magowan left Safeway's daily operations to run the Giants in 1993. His first major move was to sign Bonds, the son of the Giants gardener, Bobby Bonds, for a six-year contract and $ 43.75 million, and then the richer never achieved

This also bothers the other teams. Bonds was the best player in the game and the giants reached the baseball winter meetings in Louisville, Ky., Before the owners of other teams formally approved the sale of the Giants to the Magowan group.

The bonuses spent 15 seasons with the Giants, establishing the domestic records of a season and all the time, a great triumph in the field. At the same time, the suspicious use of Bonds for performance-enhancing drugs, which extended to baseball at that time, generated criticisms of Magowan and the Giants in the Mitchell Report.



Peter Magowan, right, president of the giants of San Francisco, raises with Larry Baer in the park of AT & T. He announced that he left that position in San Francisco, California on May 16, 2008. Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice / San Francisco Chronicle Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice / SFC


Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice / SFC


Peter Magowan, correct, president of the giants of San Francisco, raises with Larry Baer at the AT & T park. He announced that he left that position in San Francisco, California on May 16, 2008. Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice / San Francisco Chronicle


"I did not see what I was supposed to see, and I'm sorry," Magowan told The Chronicle years later. "People say:" Why did not I know that Barry was taking steroids? "I say, I do not know. I still do not know." What do I suppose I have to do, go to my box and see if there is a steroids bottle? Even if that were the case, did I recognize it? I did not think this was my job? "

In 2008, a year after Magowan announced that the Giants would not return the Bonds for a 16th season, Magowan retired as general manager partner, replaced by its investing partner William H. Neukom.

There were many rumors that the other owners pushed Magowan by the shame of Mitchell Report and a few gigantic contracts for players who had no expectations. But Magowan said the decision was his. He was 66 years old and said he wanted to spend more time with the family. He held a stake in the club and was ranked as the main owner of the 2018 media guide.

The only appearance of the World Series of Giants during the reign of Magowan as general manager partner came in 2002, the disappointing loss of seven matches to the then Anaheim Angels. The Giants had led 5-0 to the seventh inning of Game 6, which needed nine outings to win their first title since they moved to the west, but lost.

Eight years later, Neukom was at the top, but Magowan was in the club house after the Giants defeated the Texas Rangers to win the world's first franchise series since 1954.

Asked about whether this title eased the pain every year in the middle, Magowan said: "It does. It erases. I do not think it's a day that I do not think of the" World Series & # 39; I still consider a lot about '62, not to mention all the other closest points. This removes everything. "

After Magowan retired from Safeway and the Giants, he was still going to work every day at an office center. He ate at Sam and played at the Pacific Union Club. The magicians had seasonal tickets at the San Francisco Opera and attended 30 giant games for a season, always sitting behind the giants.

When Magowan was not there, he was in Santa Helena, deadly roses and growing peonies "even though he said they would not grow in this climate," said Debby Magowan. "It had a challenge".

A commemorative service will be private. The survivors include his wife, five children and six grandchildren


Henry Schulman and Sam Whiting are writers of the San Francisco Chronicle staff. E-mail: [email protected], [email protected] Twitter: @hankschulman, @SamWhitingSF

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