Former World Series winning Boston Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino dies at 78

by 24USATVApril 3, 2024, 6:01 a.m. 22
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Larry Lucchino, whose Boston Red Sox teams won three World Series while he was president and CEO, died Tuesday morning at age 78, his family said in a news release issued by the team.

No cause of death was given. Lucchino was a three-time cancer survivor.

Lucchino helped build championship teams during his tenure from 2002 to 2015, with the World Series title in 2004 being the first for the organization in 86 years. The team also won in 2007 and 2013.

Lucchino was also notable for his work on MLB stadiums, and while with the Baltimore Orioles from 1988 to 1993, he ushered in an era across baseball where new facilities took on a more intimate, old-fashioned design. He helped get a new stadium when he worked in San Diego and led improvements to MLB’s oldest stadium, Boston’s Fenway Park, while with the Red Sox.

“Larry’s career unfolded like a playbook of triumphs, marked by transformative moments that reshaped ballpark design, enhanced the fan experience, and engineered the ideal conditions for championships wherever his path led him, and especially in Boston,” Red Sox owner John Henry said Tuesday. “Yet, perhaps his most enduring legacy lies in the remarkable people he helped assemble at the Red Sox, all of whom are a testament to his training, wisdom, and mentorship.”

Lucchino was a collegiate basketball player at Princeton University and a Yale Law School graduate. During his early days as an attorney, he worked for the House Judiciary Committee, which was investigating the Watergate scandal. After President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, Lucchino went to work for a law firm where he was special counsel to the Washington NFL team. He went to work for the Baltimore Orioles in 1979 and left for the Padres in 1994 when he and John Moores purchased the team.

“Larry Lucchino was one of the most accomplished executives that our industry has ever had,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “He was deeply driven, he understood baseball’s place in our communities, and he had a keen eye for executive talent. Larry’s vision for Camden Yards played a vital role in advancing fan-friendly ballparks across the game.”

According to the Red Sox, Lucchino has the unique distinction of earning five World Series rings (in 1983 with the Orioles, three as Red Sox president and another in 2018 when he was owner of the organization’s Class AAA franchise), a Super Bowl ring (1983 with Washington) and a Final Four watch (1965 with Princeton).

One of Lucchino’s best hires was Theo Epstein, who at 28 became general manager of the Red Sox after working with Lucchino at Baltimore and San Diego. Epstein built the the team for the 2004 and 2007 titles before joining the Chicago Cubs after the 2011 season.

“For me and for so many of my best friends in baseball, Larry gave us our start, believing in us and setting an enduring example with his work ethic, vision, competitiveness and fearlessness,” said Epstein, who is now a partner with Fenway Sports Group. “He made a profound impact on many in baseball — and on the game itself — and will be missed.”

Troup Parkinson, the Red Sox’s executive vice president for partnerships, said Lucchino was very detailed oriented and felt strongly about how Fenway Park should look. Parkinson said he would bring Lucchino every proposed sponsor sign in March and they would negotiate for hours.

“He was absolutely consumed with ensuring the ballpark looked ‘right.’ He also tended to change his mind depending on his mood, so I would have him sign every approved mock-up in red pen,” Parkinson said. “When we would walk the ballpark the night before Opening Day, and he complained about the look of almost every sign saying ‘I would never approve that,’ I would bring all the signed copies to show him he actually had.”

Parkinson said the first few years it was painful but it became his favorite thing to do.

Baseball Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend David Ortiz said he saw Lucchino as someone who cared greatly about the product on the field.

“As a player, it was sometimes hard to understand where he was coming from, but he made everything about winning and the organization doing well,” Ortiz said. “Once we got to know each other better, we became really good friends. I loved Larry.”

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