Peter Magowan, former San Francisco Giants executive, dies at age 76

Peter A. Magowan, the former president and managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants widely acknowledged as a guiding light in the construction of the Giants' downtown baseball stadium, died Sunday, Giants' officials said.

Magowan, who before his tenure with the Giants was chairman and CEO of Safeway Inc., had been battling cancer for several years, and had recently gone into hospice. He died at his home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood, surrounded by family. He was 76.

Magowan also is recognized as a leader in the successful effort to keep the Giants from leaving San Francisco. In December 1992, a group of San Francisco investors, headed by Magowan, bought the team from Bob Lurie, thereby heading off a likely move to Tampa Bay, Florida.

Three years later, the ownership group led by Magowan unveiled a revolutionary plan to build a new, privately-funded ballpark at China Basin to serve as the permanent home of the Giants. That park, then known as Pac Bell Park, opened in 2000. 

"The Giants family, the entire Bay Area and the game of baseball lost a man whose passion and loyalty to his favorite team and beloved community made it possible for all of us and future generations to experience the magic of Giants baseball in San Francisco forever," said Larry Baer, the 
Giants' current president and CEO, said in a team statement. "Peter was my mentor and dear friend, and I will forever be grateful for his guidance, support and love.  

In that same statement, the Magowan family said this: "Our family lost a great man today. We all know how much Peter loved his Giants and San Francisco, and he had that same love and passion for his family. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and we will forever cherish the 
memories we made together."

Born in New York City, Peter grew up a passionate Giants fan rooting for Willie Mays, Bobby Thomson, Monte Irvin and other New York Giants greats at the Polo Grounds.

A 1964 Stanford graduate with a degree in American literature, Magowan received his master's degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University in England. He went on to a successful 37-year career with Safeway, stepping down in 1993 as chairman and CEO when he became managing general partner of the Giants.

During Peter's 16-year tenure, the Giants reached the post season four times and were the 2002 National League champions. He received numerous awards for the organization's innovative community work, including becoming the first professional sports team to dedicate an annual game to the fight 
against AIDS/HIV with the creation of "Until There's A Cure Day" in 1994. He also signed Mays to a lifetime contract as a Giants special adviser, as he later did for Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda.

Magowan is survived by his wife Debby, five children and 12 grandchildren. Funeral services will be private; in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Peter Magowan Fields for Kids Program of the 
Giants Community Fund.