Ron Fowler wanted to bring a winner to San Diego. In 2020 he got his wish, and decided his time at the controls of the organization were over.
The Padres announced today that Fowler has stepped down as the club's Executive Chairman. Peter Seidler will now assume day-to-day control of the club as Chairman, a move that has been approved by Major League Baseball.
Fowler headed the group - which included Seidler - that purchased the Padres in 2012. He will maintain an advisory role within the franchise, now serving as Vice Chairman. Fowler will also remain on MLB's Labor Policy Committee.
“I’m very proud of our accomplishments over the last eight years in San Diego, including rebuilding our brand, improving the product on the field and showcasing our beautiful ballpark to our community and beyond,” Fowler said in a statement released by the Padres. “As an ownership group, we set out to right the ship and restore pride in the Padres, and I believe we have delivered on those goals. While I will be taking a step back in my daily duties with the Club, I feel we are well positioned for Peter to continue the process and deliver a World Series championship to the City of San Diego.”
Fowler was vocal about his desire to see the Padres return to relevance. He took over the franchise six years removed from a playoff appearance. After a disappointing 2019 season he delivered the new famous promise that if the team didn't improve soon, "heads will roll, beginning with mine."
He made the stakes clear again on the day that General Manager A.J. Preller introduced new manager Jayce Tingler.
"If w don't perform better in 2020 and 2021 we will make changes," Fowler said.
Fowler got his wish, with the Padres posting their best win percentage in club history, going 37-23 during the shortened 2020 season. They made the playoff for the first time in his tenure, posting a winning record for the first time since 2010. His club beat the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Series for their first postseason series win since 1998.
The Padres breakthrough season came due in part to Fowler's willingness to spend money on star players. Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers signed lucrative deals in recent seasons - highlighted by the 10-year $300 million contract given to Machado in 2019. As a result, the Padres jumped into the top half of the league in payroll.
His last year at the helm also featured the club's long-awaited return to brown uniforms. Fowler called them the uniforms that the Padres will win a championship in.
Seidler now moves from General Partner to Chairman. The 60-year-old has been the Padres lead investor since 2012.
"I greatly appreciate the support of Commissioner Manfred and the other MLB team owners and am excited to assume the responsibilities of control person and Chairman,” Seidler said in a statement released by the team. “The Padres hold a special place in San Diego and our organization will continue to work tirelessly to bring consistent championship quality baseball to our supportive and deserving fans. I particularly want to thank Ron for being instrumental in building outstanding qualities including a strong work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit and a focus on continuous improvement into the foundation of our franchise.”
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