Beloved Padres owner Peter Seidler, an eternal optimist devoted to delivering a winning baseball franchise and combating the region’s homelessness crisis, died Tuesday at age 63.
Seidler, a two-time cancer survivor who had for months battled an undisclosed illness, made headlines in the final years of his life for pouring financial resources into drawing in prime talent.
After the Padres last year made it to the National League Championship series for the first time in 24 seasons, Seidler continued to invest. The Union-Tribune reports that the team’s $256 million player payroll was the third-highest in the major leagues in 2023.
“I kind of like spending money,” Seidler told The Union-Tribune last year. “You can’t take it with you.”
Seidler, whose family owned the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise until 1998, moved to San Diego after a group he was part of bought the Padres in August 2012. Seidler, a father of three, became chairman of the Padres in November 2020.
Seidler lived life on the bright side – even when confronting our region’s foremost humanitarian failure. He was convinced San Diego could dramatically reduce homelessness.
Sometime after he moved to San Diego, Seidler began taking regular overnight walks and talking to unsheltered people he met along the way. By 2017, Seidler was regularly meeting with other power brokers about the region’s growing homelessness crisis and digging into potential solutions.
Then, as a deadly hepatitis A outbreak ravaged San Diego’s homeless population, Seidler and restaurateur Dan Shea forced a public conversation about delivering shelter beds in the absence of immediate housing solutions after private conversations with then-Mayor Kevin Faulconer. After Faulconer’s team ruled out multiple shelter sites, Seidler and Shea called the mayor’s bluff by offering up large tent structures. Faulconer later announced he’d put up the tents.
In more recent years, Seidler continued to rally for solutions to homelessness via the nonprofit Lucky Duck Foundation, which has supported additional shelter programs, food deliveries to unsheltered residents and more.
Seidler also championed the city’s 2019 plan to dramatically reduce homelessness. He believed the city could make major progress and served on a leadership council overseeing implementation. He even appeared on a 2019 Voice of San Diego panel about the plan.
Seidler remained convinced that San Diego could put a serious dent in homelessness in the months before his death – and that the city needed to do better for its homeless residents.
“I believe with urgency we’re gonna see better outcomes,” Seidler told our Lisa Halverstadt last September.
In more recent months, Seidler has struggled with health issues and had been recovering from an August medical procedure.
He told The Union-Tribune this summer he hoped his family would hold onto the Padres generations after his death.