Peter Magowan ’55, 1942-2019
Recognized as one of Major League Baseball's most progressive leaders, Peter Magowan ’55 retired in September 2008 after serving sixteen seasons as the San Francisco Giants’ managing general partner. A longtime resident of San Francisco and a lifetime baseball enthusiast, Peter is credited with playing a critical role in two major events that kept the Giants in Northern California.
Peter and a group of civic-minded San Franciscans saved the Giants from relocating to Tampa Bay in 1992. The successful rescue has special meaning for Peter, a New York native who moved to San Francisco with his family about the time the Giants moved west in 1958. He saw the Giants abandon New York for the West Coast and was determined to prevent a similar exodus thirty-five years later from San Francisco.
Then in December 1995, Peter unveiled a revolutionary plan to build a new, privately funded 41,000-seat ballpark at China Basin which would further ensure successful Major League Baseball in San Francisco well into the 21st Century.
For his efforts in overseeing the building of the nationally acclaimed ballpark, Peter was named 2000 Sports Executive of the Year by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal. In 2016 he was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. The Giants have enjoyed unprecedented success in AT&T Park and currently have sold out every seat for the past several years.
When asked about his time at St. Bernard’s Mr. Magowan shared the following:
"As I have said many times of all the schools I went to (Groton, Stanford, Oxford, and the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies) St. Bernard’s was the best. I can remember my classmates and my teachers (Mrs. Ashton, Mrs. Ferguson, Mr. Lawton, Mr. Manders, Mr. Phelan, Mr. McClung, Mr. Cox, Mr. Strange, Mr. Fry, and of course Mr. Westgate) better than any subsequent group of instructors. Simply put they were the best. They loved teaching and they loved their students. I didn’t have a favorite – because I enjoyed them all.”
Sports were a big part of his life at St. Bernard’s – particularly soccer and baseball. Sports can help develop key values – of teamwork, enthusiasm, sportsmanship, listening to your coaches, always trying to do your very best, learning how to win – but also how to lose.
His lifetime love of baseball probably began when he first started playing in the fourth grade. This was the year that his father took him to his first baseball game – Giants vs. Phillies in 1950. From that point on, Peter became a Giants fan.
Peter learned a lot more than sports at 4 East 98th Street. The values that the school taught – respect for your teachers and classmates, the encouragement of a questioning mind, being accountable for everything that you say and do, having the courage to express yourself and standup for your beliefs, the proposition that learning can be fun, the importance of being on time, always striving to be better, of setting and achieving goals, working hard – but doing all of this while having fun and enjoying life and developing lasting friendships – these are the values that became a central part of who he was. They are also values that he tried to set as examples for his children and grandchildren. Peter believed they are the values that the school still teaches today and all the students there share. Long live St. Bernard’s!