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Former Padre Owner Bill Starr Dies at Age 80

From Associated Press

Bill Starr, who caught for and then owned the minor-league Padres baseball team, has died of cancer. He was 80.

Starr won minor-league pennants both as a player and owner during almost 15 years with the Padres. He later turned to real estate development, building condominiums, apartment complexes and shopping centers.

He died Monday in his La Jolla home.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Starr grew up in Chicago and entered professional baseball during the Depression. He made it to the majors in 1935, catching in 12 games for the Washington Senators.

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The next year, Starr played in one game for the Senators. Also in that year, the San Diego Padres were born in the Pacific Coast League.

In 1937, with Starr alternating as catcher and Ted Williams also on the team, the Padres won the PCL championship.

Starr’s playing career ended when he broke his leg in 1939.

Five years later, in 1944, he and a group of partners purchased the Padres following the death of owner Bill (Hardrock) Lane.

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The Padres won the PCL championship in 1954, and a year later, Starr sold the team to financier C. Arnholt Smith for $300,000. Smith eventually became the owner of the major league Padres in 1969.

Starr wrote a book, “Clearing the Bases,” in 1989 and suggested in it that modern training methods have produced bigger and stronger athletes, but not necessarily more skilled players.

Starr is survived by his third wife, Francy Starr; four children living in San Diego; two sisters; and a brother.

Memorial services were scheduled at 2 p.m. today in Temple Beth Israel.

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