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Larry Lucchino, former Red Sox executive, dies at 78



Larry Lucchino, former Red Sox executive, dies at 78
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

BOSTON (AP) — Larry Lucchino, the hard-driving pressure behind baseball’s retro ballpark revolution and the transformation of the Boston Pink Sox from cursed losers to World Collection champions, has died. He was 78.

Lucchino, who was a three-time most cancers survivor, died early Tuesday morning of congenital coronary heart failure. His demise was confirmed by his household and the Triple-A Worcester Pink Sox, the place he had most lately been the first proprietor and chairman — the final undertaking in a profession that was additionally linked to 3 main league baseball franchises and one within the NFL.

“Larry leaves behind an enormous baseball legacy filled with historic accomplishments with three completely different organizations,” mentioned Theo Epstein, who labored for Lucchino in Baltimore, San Diego and Boston — the latter when he turned the youngest basic supervisor to that time in baseball historical past. “For me and for therefore lots of my greatest buddies in baseball, Larry gave us our begin, believing in us and setting a permanent instance along with his work ethic, imaginative and prescient, competitiveness and fearlessness. He made a profound impression on many in baseball — and on the sport itself — and shall be missed.”

Lucchino was remembered with a moment of silence earlier than the WooSox house opener on Tuesday at Polar Park — his fifth and closing ballpark undertaking, and “the child of his ballpark household.” Lucchino was additionally acknowledged before the Red Sox game in Oakland.

The Padres additionally honored Lucchino with a second of silence earlier than their sport in opposition to the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park. Earlier than the video board went darkish, it confirmed an image of Lucchino holding the 1998 NL championship trophy throughout a parade via downtown just a few days after the Padres have been swept by the New York Yankees within the World Collection.

A Pittsburgh native who performed on the 1965 NCAA Ultimate 4 Princeton basketball crew captained by future U.S. senator and basketball Corridor of Famer Invoice Bradley, Lucchino went on to Yale Regulation College and labored on the Home Judiciary Committee investigating the Watergate scandal. He landed a job with Washington lawyer Edward Bennett Williams and shortly discovered himself engaged on Williams’ sports activities groups, the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington NFL franchise now referred to as the Commanders.

Lucchino rose to president of the Orioles, and led the hassle to switch Memorial Stadium with a downtown, old-style ballpark that ended the fad of cavernous, cookie-cutter stadiums surrounded by parking tons. Camden Yards turned a trend-setter, and Lucchino himself would comply with up with a brand new ballpark for the Padres, whom he served as president and CEO.

As Padres proprietor John Moores’ right-hand man, Lucchino led the push for Petco Park — one other downtown ballpark — permitting the crew to depart growing older Qualcomm Stadium, which they shared with the NFL’s Chargers. The Padres ended a 14-year playoff drought by profitable the NL West in 1996, after which gained the NL pennant in 1998.

Lucchino’s subsequent cease was in Boston, serving to to assemble the brand new possession group led by John Henry and Tom Werner that purchased the franchise in 2002. Their choice to replace Fenway Park reasonably than change it — bucking one other development — preserved one in every of baseball’s jewels, which is able to open its 113th season on April 9.

“We didn’t know that we have been going to ignite a revolution in ballpark structure,” Lucchino advised The Related Press in 2021 because the WooSox ready to open their new house. “We simply needed to construct a pleasant little ballpark.”

However a good greater overhaul was happening within the Pink Sox entrance workplace, and on the sector. After hiring as GM the 28-year-old Epstein, who’d began with the Orioles as an intern and adopted Lucchino to the Padres, the Pink Sox ended an 86-year championship drought — vanquishing the archrival New York Yankees, whom he dubbed “the Evil Empire” alongside the best way.

They gained two extra World Collection in his tenure as president earlier than an aborted try and retire in 2015. As a substitute, he turned the entrance man for a bunch that bought the Pawtucket Pink Sox, ultimately shifting them from Rhode Island to central Massachusetts.

“Larry was a winner,” mentioned former Pink Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who performed for the crew from 2006-19, profitable three championships. “Didn’t matter if it was a contract negotiation, saving Fenway, asking gamers what we have to compete. Larry was going to work till the job was completed. He had a presence and an angle that wouldn’t be denied. He was a tone setter for our group.”

The lawyerly Lucchino was recognized for an aggressive, typically adversarial method that got here off as antagonistic however was designed to hone arguments and squeeze out a plan’s tiniest imperfections. It additionally impressed a loyalty amongst his cadre of followers, together with Worcester Pink Sox President Charles Steinberg, who additionally labored with Lucchino in Baltimore, San Diego, Boston and Pawtucket; architect Janet Marie Smith, who labored on Camden Yards, Petco Park and Fenway Park; and present Pink Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy, who adopted Lucchino from San Diego to Boston together with Epstein, his highschool pal.

“There are such a lot of of us who got our begin in baseball by Larry,” Kennedy mentioned. “He instilled in us, and so many others, a piece ethic, ardour, aggressive hearth that we’ll carry endlessly. His legacy is one that each one of us who have been taught by him really feel a deep accountability to uphold.”

Steinberg, who labored with the feisty Lucchino for 45 years, known as him “Earl Weaver in a swimsuit — with a greater vocabulary.”

“Boss, coach, mentor, pal,” Steinberg mentioned. “How do you thank somebody for a life and a lifetime?”

Ex-Pink Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez mentioned Lucchino’s combative exterior camouflaged a caring pal.

Boston Pink Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, left, and Chief Working Officer Sam Kennedy in Boston on Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Picture/Steven Senne, File)

“My coronary heart goes out to the Lucchino household. They misplaced not solely an incredible man, however a visionary with the largest coronary heart,” mentioned Martinez, who was the ace of the pitching workers that led Boston to the 2004 World Collection title. “Despite the fact that he tried to cowl it enjoying shy and making an attempt to cover away from individuals’s eyes … however not me; he didn’t idiot me.”

Lucchino was mentioned to be distinctive in his possession of 5 World Collection rings — having collected one with the Orioles in 1983 and one other in 2018 because the Pink Sox president and CEO emeritus — a Tremendous Bowl ring from Washington in ’83 and a Ultimate 4 watch. He was additionally lively in serving to Main League Baseball unfold internationally, taking journeys to China and Japan and as an early supporter of the World Baseball Basic.

“Larry Lucchino was one of the vital completed executives that our trade has ever had,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned. “He was deeply pushed, he understood baseball’s place in our communities, and he had a eager eye for govt expertise.”

Lucchino was additionally a boss of The Jimmy Fund, the charitable arm of the Dana-Farber Most cancers Institute.

“To us, Larry was an distinctive one who mixed a Corridor of Fame life as a Main League Baseball govt along with his ardour for serving to these individuals most in want,” Lucchino’s household mentioned in a press release. “He introduced the identical ardour, tenacity, and probing intelligence to all his endeavors, and his achievements communicate for themselves.”