Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on March 15, 2012
Elten F. Schiller passed
away at his San Diego home on March 10, 2012 at the age of 88. Elten was
born in Essen, Germany on October 17, 1923, and arrived in the United
States with his family on his first birthday. He was raised on a farm
in Bellaire, Ohio. He joined the U.S. Navy in January 1943, and while
in the Navy he met his wife Valorie, also a Navy veteran.
Following Elten's discharge from the Navy in 1947, he began a lifelong
career working in the front office for two professional baseball teams.
He worked as the General Manager for the Dodgers' minor league affiliates
from 1947-1971 in St. Paul, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Albuquerque, New
Mexico; and Spokane, Washington. In 1961, while working for the Omaha
Dodgers, he was named Minor League Executive of the Year. From 1971 until
his retirement in 1988, Elten worked as Sr. Vice President Director of
Business Operations for the San Diego Padres.
Elten was an innovator in the business of baseball and was sensitive to
the common fan concerns and desires. As a result he initiated the concept
of the sponsored promotional giveaways at games, weekday business specials,
Junior and Senior Padres membership clubs, the first computer generated
ticket system, the mini season ticket and payment plan, plus initiated
the community volunteer ticket sales force known in San Diego as the Padres
In 1992, Elten received special recognition from the Commissioner of Major
League Baseball, Francis Vincent, for conceiving the idea for inviting
fans for MLB All-Star workout day. The 1982 book "Baseball Stamps...Autographs"
was written by Elten as he was a knowledgeable and renowned collector
of baseball stamps and first day covers which he was able to have autographed
by the many baseball personalities he knew throughout his life.
He and his wife enjoyed traveling to many locations around the world including
Russia and Germany. Elten retired from the Padres in 1988 but continued
to attend their home games through 2011, and he stayed in touch with many
of the baseball people that he worked with during his 41-year baseball
career. He loved baseball and it was his life's passion. He was often
quoted as saying, "I had the best job in the world for over 40 years."
Elten's beloved wife Val, the heart and soul of his world, passed away
in 1997. He is survived by his daughters Linda and Carol, his son Jeff,
his grandsons Barry and Jesse, and his sisters Helene, Irene, and Darlene.
A private gathering will be held by the family.
In lieu of flowers, Elten wanted any donations to be made to San Diego