Report: Magowan stepping down as managing partner of Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Peter Magowan, the owner who brought Barry Bonds to San Francisco, built a new ballpark and kept major league baseball in the city, is stepping down as managing partner of the Giants.

The 66-year-old Magowan will retire from his duties at the end of the season on Oct. 1 but maintain an ownership stake, the team said Friday.

American Bar Association president William Neukom, a current partner in the Giants group, will take over for Magowan. Also, executive vice president Larry Baer will become team president effective Oct. 1.

These changes are subject to the approval of Major League Baseball. The Giants expect that to happen when the owners next meet, Aug. 13-14 in Washington.

Magowan informed the ownership group of his decision during a meeting Friday morning. He plans to spend more time with his family once he's through, including seeing more of his 10 grandchildren.

"It has been an honor to represent the Giants the last 16 years," Magowan said in a news release. "The decision to retire was not an easy one. But it is the right one for my family and me. I have spent the last 29 years as head of two incredible organizations -- Safeway and the Giants. I put everything I had in terms of time, energy and commitment into my work and inevitably made some sacrifices."

Magowan, one of the more public owners in baseball, was mentioned in the Mitchell report that came out in December. Magowan then met with commissioner Bud Selig during spring training about whether members of the Giants' front office knew players were allegedly using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

The decision to bring Bonds to San Francisco came soon after Magowan bought the team before the 1993 season. The Giants were close to moving to Florida before Magowan's group bought the team from Bob Lurie.

The addition of Bonds revitalized baseball in San Francisco and contributed to the opening of the franchise's privately funded waterfront ballpark in 2000. Last summer, the Giants hosted the All-Star Game.

Bonds became baseball's home run king last year. He has since been indicted, accused of lying to a grand jury about his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Magowan parted ways with the slugger and seven-time NL MVP in September, about a month after Bonds broke Hank Aaron's record with No. 756.

The Giants made the playoffs four times under Magowan's rule. In 2002, they came close to winning their first World Series since moving West in 1958, falling five outs short in Game 6 against the Angels.

Magowan also signed left-hander Barry Zito to a $126 million, seven-year contract before the 2007 season. It was the richest deal ever for a pitcher before his contract was topped by the Mets' Johan Santana and his $137.5 million deal.

Neukom, a member of the Giants' ownership group since 1995 and a general partner since 2003, grew up in nearby San Mateo. He is a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis.

"Like Peter, I have been a Giants fan almost my entire life," Neukom said. "While no one will be able to match what Peter has accomplished these past 16 years, I am excited about the opportunity before me, and I look forward to continuing the great work of this organization."

Baer began his tenure with the Giants in 1993 along with Magowan.