Former Giants executive Peter Magowan died Sunday afternoon in hospice care, his wife Debby Magowan told the San Francisco Chronicle. He was 76 years old.
Magowan, along with Larry Baer, led a group of local investors who purchsed the team from Bob Lurie in 1992. He was San Francisco's managing general partner until stepping down from the position in 2008. The Giants signed free-agent outfielder Barry Bonds to a record-setting contract in the first offseason under his group, and later built what is now known as Oracle Park using private funding.
“Peter was a rare combination in life of a close friend and mentor,” Baer, the Giants' President and CEO, told the Chronicle in a statement. “We carried on that relationship for three decades. When you really got to know Peter you saw that he had a heart of gold.”
Lurie first reached an agreement to sell the Giants to a group which wanted to move the team to Florida. Magowan and Baer's group stepped forward with a $100 million bid when the National League rejected Lurie's initial sale, and told him to find a group who would keep the team in the city by the Bay.
Two years later, Magowan and the Giants announced plans to build a waterfront ballpark in downtown San Francisco. The Giants broke ground on the $350 million privately financed stadium in 1997, and it opened three years after that.
During Magowan's tenure, Bonds became broke Mark McGwire's single-season home-run record, and Hank Aaron's all-time mark. Those accomplishments came at the height of baseball's "steroid era," and Bonds himself was linked to performance-enhancing drugs. The Mitchell Report, an investigation led by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, determined that the Giants willfully ignored Bonds and other players using steroids. He later told the Chronicle he regretted not doing more.
Magowan had recently gone into hospice care, according to the Chronicle, and had previously had surgeries to treat prostate and liver cancer. The Giants were already set to honor Magowan with a place on their Wall of Fame on Feb. 9.