The Angels may have Mexican-American Arte Moreno as their owner, but the San Diego Padres have invited longtime chairman Alfredo Harp Helú to be an investor in the club’s new ownership group led by the Seidler/O’Malley families and Ron Fowler.
He is the first Mexican citizen to be a part-owner of a Major League Baseball team.
“I am very excited for my participation with the Padres team,” he said through a team press release. “I’m specifically excited to join the O’Malley family; we are united through the love of baseball and the desire to help our community by actively participating in philanthropic activities.”
Helú, a successful businessman and long-time philanthropist has owned the Mexico City Red Devils (Diablos Rojos) baseball team since 1994.
The Alfredo Harp Helú Foundation has provided more than $500 million in support of education, culture, health, the environment and sports. Additionally, he chairs 12 philanthropic institutions, as well as the Academia de Beisbol Alfredo Harp Helú, a youth baseball academy to help aspiring baseball players in Mexico achieve their dreams.
Harp, described as a baseball fanatic by Forbes, made his billions in banking and oversaw the purchase of the Mexican bank Banamex — of which he was a major shareholder at the time — to Citigroup. As of March 2012, Forbes reported his net worth stood at $1 billion.
The team’s sale comes a time where there is nowhere else to go but up, as the Padres sit in next to last place, 13 games behind the San Francisco Giants.