Election: February 6, 2008
Induction: June 28, 2008
Born (date, year, place): June 2, 1930 in Toronto, Ontario
Died (date, year, place): February 11, 2005 in Aspen, Colorado
One of the most respected executives in Toronto Blue Jays history, Peter Widdrington graduated from Pickering College and Queen’s University, prior to obtaining his MBA from Harvard. Starting as a salesman with Labatt’s in 1955, the Toronto native rose through the ranks to serve the company in several executive posts, before being elevated to president from 1973 to 1989.
An avid sportsman, Widdrington joined the Blue Jays board of directors in 1976, eventually becoming the board chair in 1991, a post he would hold through the Jays’ two World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. At various points in the ’90s, he chaired Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Licensing & Marketing Committee and MLB’s Trust Advisory Committee. He also acted as MLB’s interim CAO and as an advisor to the commissioner. Widdrington also played a key role in establishing TSN, Canada’s first all-sports TV station, in 1984, resulting in an increased TV profile for the Blue Jays.
His contributions to the Blue Jays board have been widely acknowledged. “Over time, I have come to know and work with many people who served in the ownership and management of Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs, and Peter was one of those who really stood out. He made enormous contributions to the success of the Blue Jays, helping to make it one of the most well-run and highly respected franchises in all of professional sports,” said Donald Fehr, former executive director of the MLB Players Association. Widdrington was also a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s advisory board and served as the fundraising chair until his death in 2005.