Friday, May 16, 2008
It was announced today that San Francisco Giants managing partner Peter Magowan would be stepping down effective at the end of the 2008 season, just a year after the single most important player acquisition in the team's history (Barry Bonds) became baseball's all-time home run king.
Some believe that Magowan's inclusion in the now infamous Mitchell Report precipitated this move and that he was more or less forced out by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in order to avoid sanctions against the Giants.
Whatever the reason for his departure, as a fan of the Giants I simply would like to thank Mr. Magowan for all that he did in returning my favorite team to prominence and respectability.
People forget that before the 1993 season the Giants were dangerously close to being moved to Florida by then owner Bob Lurie. Magowan however stepped in and purchased the team along with an investment group and the course of team history was changed.
Bonds was signed shortly thereafter and a team that was by all rights dead in the water surged to 103 wins and to the brink of a playoff berth.
The next 10 seasons would see the Giants win more regular season games than any team other than the Braves and Yankees, as well as a World Series appearance in 2002.
Perhaps Magowan's biggest contribution to the Giants and the city of San Francisco however was the move to have what is now AT&T Park built and ensure that the team would remain in the city by the bay for a very long time.
Many people outside of San Francisco don't know this, but that gorgeous ballpark was built entirely with private funding. So while cities across the country pined for new ballparks and looked to public funding to make their dreams a reality, Magowan was able to make the seemingly impossible happen.
It was Magowan's willingness to do what it took financially as well as stay out of baseball operations for the most part that made him a success with the Giants.
Not everything has gone right for Magowan since he took over the team in 1993, but for my money there are very few owners out there who could have done a better job.