SAN DIEGO (AP)Ron Fowler has stepped down as executive chairman of the San Diego Padres and lead investor Peter Seidler has been approved by fellow Major League Baseball owners to take over control of the team as chairman.
Fowler will remain with the club in the advisory role and will continue to sit on MLB’s Labor Policy Committee.
Seidler, the lead investor in the group that bought the Padres in 2012, will be accountable to MLB for the operation of the team and following the rules.
Seidler, 60, previously held the title of general partner. He is a grandson of Walter O’Malley, who moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, and a nephew of Peter O’Malley, who owned the Dodgers until 1998.
Fowler had been a minority owner of the Padres when they were sold to Seidler’s group in 2012.
”Peter looked at it as a legacy investment for his family, I looked at it as more I wanted to get the Padres to where they needed to get to,” said Fowler, a longtime San Diego businessman who made a fortune from his beer distributorship. ”We knew this was going to happen. It was a question of when, not if … Personally I think I have the best of both worlds. I get to hang around for a while. I get to do some things with baseball, MLB, that I like and I’m still available to talk to Peter about what he thinks are priorities or where he thinks my input might be valuable.”
”I’m looking forward to the future,” Fowler said. ”Maybe I can sit there and eat my hot dogs and not worry about anything else.”
Fowler and Seidler hired A.J. Preller as general manager in 2014. Preller built up the farm system into one of the best in baseball, acquired shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. from the Chicago White Sox in 2016 and signed third baseman Manny Machado and first baseman Eric Hosmer to big free agent deals.
The Padres ended a 14-year playoff drought in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card round before being swept by the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series.
”People know our styles are somewhat different but I think the fundamental passion to want to bring a world championship to San Diego is what drives this whole organization,” Seidler said. ”Even in our adjusted roles here, I don’t think either one of us are going to sleep well at night until that is accomplished. To me that’s really the most important thing.”