Peter Alden Magowan
Peter Magowan, then CEO of Safeway, led an eleventh-hour bid called for by Major League Baseball when the San Francisco Giants were on the cusp of being sold and moved to St. Petersburg at the close of the 1992 season. Magowan's group's purchase of the Giants from Bob Lurie was approved in January 1993; the Giants then quickly signed Barry Bonds to a 6-year, $43.75 million (then a record both for total package and average salary).
Voters had declined several opportunities to help build a new ballpark for the Giants (leading to their near move to St. Pete). But in 1995 San Francisco voters approved Magowan's plan to build Pac Bell Park in the South Beach district of the city with private financing. The move to the new downtown ballpark completely revitalized the franchise, as the poor conditions for players and fans alike at the old Candlestick Park had been an albatross for years.
Magowan's teams won the NL West division title in 1997, 2000 and 2003, the Wild Card in 2002 (when they made it to Game 7 of the World Series, but lost), lost a one-game playoff for the Wild Card slot in 1998 and won a 103 games in 1993, but did not qualify for the post-season.
In May 2008 Magowan announced he would retire after the season and that he would be succeeded as managing partner of the ownership group by William Neukom, and as President of the club by Larry Baer. The title frustration ended shortly thereafter, in 2010, when the Giants won their first World Series since their ove to San Francisco in 1958. They repeated as World Series winners in 2012 and 2014.
Magowan was born in a wealthy New York, NY family. His grandfather was one of the founders of the Merrill Lynch brokerage firm, and his father was the chairman and CEO of the grocery store chain Safeway. He began working for Safeway's real estate department after graduating from Oxford University and quickly moved up the corporate ladder. He was elected a company director following the death of his father in 1978. He was elected CEO in 1979 and remained in the position when the company was bought by outsiders in 1986 in order to thwart a potential hostile takeover by corporate raiders. He finally stepped down in 1993 to concentrate on running the Giants. He had been a fan of the New York Giants in his youth, attending games at the Polo Grounds, so had a lifelong link to the team he owned.
Magowan passed away from cancer in early 2019.
- Chris Haft: "Former Giants owner Magowan dies at 76: Club to honor executive with Wall of Fame ceremony next month", mlb.com January 28, 2019.