Former Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino dies at 78

Larry Lucchino, the former Red Sox executive who helped lead the club to three World Series championships during his tenure, died Tuesday morning. He was 78.

Lucchino served as Red Sox president and CEO from 2002 to 2015, a period that coincided with one of the greatest stretches in franchise history. In addition to the club’s historic championships in 2004, 2007 and 2013, Lucchino also played an integral role in the modernization of Fenway Park and in his later years served as principal owner of the Worcester Red Sox.

“We are heartbroken to share that our beloved brother and uncle, Lawrence Lucchino, passed away on April 2 surrounded by his family,” his family said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “The Lucchino family wishes to thank his friends and caregivers who, over the past few months, have surrounded him with love, laughter, and happy memories.”

Prior to his time in Boston, Lucchino served as President of the Baltimore Orioles (1988-93) and President/CEO of the San Diego Padres (1995-2001). He was deeply involved in the creation of Camden Yards, the Orioles’ game-changing new ballpark that opened in 1993, and laid the groundwork for the eventual creation of the Padres new ballpark, Petco Park, which opened in 2004. He later helped bring together future Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner. The group purchased the franchise ahead of the 2002 season.

“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,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry. “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. Many of them continue to shape the organization today, carrying forward the same vigor, vitality, and cherished sayings that were hallmarks of Larry’s personality. Larry was a formidable opponent in any arena, and while he battled hard, he always maintained the utmost respect for a worthy adversary and found genuine joy in sparring with people. I was lucky enough to have had him in my corner for 14 years and to have called him a close friend for even longer. He was truly irreplaceable and will be missed by all of us at the Red Sox.”

“When John and I joined forces with Larry in 2001, we dreamed not only of breaking an 86-year curse and winning multiple Championships, but also about how a baseball team could transform and uplift a region,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “Larry was more decorated in sports than any of us, coming to the group with a Super Bowl ring, a World Series ring, and even a Final Four watch from his days playing basketball at Princeton. He added to that impressive collection with us in Boston because he was the kind of man who would find a path to success no matter the obstacles. He was bold and had the audacity to dare, challenge, and even taunt our rivals in ways that made the game of baseball better. In a sport defined by statistics and standings, he was accomplished in every way, and while his career is a masterclass in leadership and innovation, he will be equally remembered for his unwavering commitment to community engagement and his hands-on role with the Red Sox Foundation and The Jimmy Fund. We are devasted by the loss of a great man, a great leader, and a great friend.”

In addition to his accomplishments in the baseball world, Lucchino was also an active philanthropist. He created the Red Sox Foundation as well as its counterparts in Baltimore and San Diego, and also served as Chairman of the Jimmy Fund, helping establish the club’s highly successful WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. His connection to Dana-Farber went beyond just fundraising: the institute helped save his life three times, first from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1985, second from prostate cancer in 2000, and third from cancer in the kidney area starting in 2019.

In 2015 Lucchino assembled a group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s longtime Triple-A affiliate, and several years later moved the team to Worcester after attempts to build a new ballpark in Rhode Island fell short. The club’s new Polar Park debuted in 2021 and the WooSox began their fourth season in Worcester this past week.

Lucchino sold the WooSox to Diamond Baseball Holdings this past offseason for a reported $70 million. Lucchino remained with the club as chairman, and the team’s existing front office staff remained in place as well.

Lucchino is survived by his brother the Honorable Frank J. Lucchino (Bobbie), a nephew F.J. Lucchino (Jane) and a niece Jennifer Lucchino (Freddie Croce), of Pittsburgh, as well as a younger nephew David L. Lucchino (Carrie Beth), who lives in Boston. He also is survived by seven grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

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