Red Sox mourn the passing of Larry Lucchino

Red Sox Hall of Famer Served as President/CEO during Historic 14-Year Period

April 2nd, 2024

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Red Sox mourn the loss of Red Sox Hall of Famer and former President/CEO Larry Lucchino, who passed away early this morning at the age of 78. A visionary leader and baseball executive, Lucchino presided over the club during an historic 14-year period (2002-2015) in which the team won three World Series, saved and enhanced Fenway Park, established a Major League Baseball record for consecutive sellouts, and created innovations in fan services and hospitality. The Pittsburgh native also helped establish the Red Sox Foundation and further elevated the club’s commitment to The Jimmy Fund and myriad New England philanthropies.

“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.”

“There are so many of us who were given our start in baseball by Larry,” said Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy. “He loved a good slogan and his campaign to ‘free the Brookline two’ liberated Theo and I from the San Diego Padres, allowing us to work for our hometown team and changing the trajectory of our lives forever. He instilled in us, and so many others, a work ethic, passion, competitive fire that we will carry forever. His legacy is one that all of us who were taught by him feel a deep responsibility to uphold. When those he mentored moved on from the Red Sox, he would always say ‘we’ll leave a light on for you.’ The lights will always be on for you at Fenway Park, Larry. May you rest in peace.”

Lucchino was instrumental in bringing together Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, and their partners, who purchased the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and 80 percent of NESN in December 2001. During his tenure the Red Sox reached the Postseason seven times in 14 years and won three World Series Championships (2004, 2007, 2013), the first of which broke an 86-year drought. Under his leadership, the club set franchise attendance records in eight of Lucchino’s 14 seasons and set Major League Baseball’s attendance record by selling out every game (820 straight) from May 15, 2003, through April 8, 2013. He was instrumental in conceiving and executing 10 years of major improvements to Fenway Park that preserved, protected, and enhanced “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” Lucchino also oversaw the construction of JetBlue Park, which replicated Fenway Park’s dimensions at the club’s Spring Training home in Lee County, Florida.

Prior to the Red Sox, Lucchino served as President of the Baltimore Orioles (1988-93) and President and CEO of the San Diego Padres (1995-2001). In both cities, he earned a legacy for creating ballparks that have transformed the fan experience, enhanced franchise values, and positively impacted the greater civic community. His original vision for the design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards – a traditional, old-fashioned, asymmetrical, intimate downtown ballpark with modern amenities – ushered in an era of revolutionary ballpark architecture and ambiance responsible in part for the game’s resurgence since 1992.

He also had the vision for the ballpark that saved baseball in San Diego. Petco Park was approved in a 1998 landslide vote on Proposition C, a campaign that Lucchino spearheaded. As much as the Padres needed a ballpark, the city needed a catalyst to redevelop an under-utilized 26-block area in the city’s downtown. As promised, a ballpark revitalized a key neighborhood, as it had done in Baltimore and, subsequently, in Boston and Worcester. The design of the park was completed in August 2001, and construction was well underway when Lucchino left the Padres for the Red Sox after the 2001 season.

Lucchino’s passion for ballparks was rivaled by his drive for baseball’s internationalization. In 1997, he pioneered a ground-breaking relationship in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines and helped organize the Red Sox’ first trip to Japan in March 2008 when they opened the MLB regular season with two games at the Tokyo Dome. In addition, he previously arranged the efforts to play Major League Baseball’s first regular season games in Mexico (1996) and Hawaii (1997) and established baseball’s first International Opening Day in Monterrey, Mexico in 1999. Lucchino was also an early and active supporter of the World Baseball Classic.

Lucchino served on several MLB committees, including the Commissioner’s historic Blue Ribbon Task Force on Baseball Economics, which successfully re-engineered the sport’s economic structure, and the International Committee, of which he was its chairman. He was also a member of MLB’s Restructuring Committee, the Realignment Committee, and the American League’s Cable Television Committee, and served as Chairman of the Player Development Contract Negotiations Committee.

In recognition for “long and meritorious service to baseball” over three decades in the game, Lucchino was awarded the Judge Emil Fuchs Award by the Boston Baseball Writers’ Association of America at their 72nd annual BBWAA dinner in January 2011. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012, the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame and the Taylor Allderdice High School Hall of Fame in November 2013, the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in May 2016, and the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame in July 2022.

Lucchino established major charitable foundations with three MLB franchises (The Orioles Foundation, The Padres Foundation, and The Red Sox Foundation), expanded the depth and reach of the PawSox Foundation, and in January 2020, he established the WooSox Foundation in Worcester. He has been active in numerous civic and charitable efforts, particularly in the research and treatment of cancer. During his time as President/CEO of the Red Sox, he helped strengthen the club’s longstanding partnership with Dana-Farber and The Jimmy Fund, serving as Chairman of the Jimmy Fund and establishing the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon and trips to Spring Training for Jimmy Fund Clinic patients and caregivers. As an Institute Trustee beginning in 2003, Lucchino was deeply involved in Dana-Farber’s fundraising efforts. He served as co-chair of the Institute’s ambitious $1 billion “Mission Possible” campaign from 2004-2011 and chair of the Trustee Philanthropy Committee from 2014-2020. He walked in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk and served as a member of the Dana-Farber Society, a special family of forward-thinking supporters who have invested in the Institute’s future through planned giving.

Lucchino’s connection to Dana-Farber went beyond formal partnerships and fundraising efforts. The world-renowned cancer 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 and the late Jim Skeffington assembled a group that purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s longtime Triple-A affiliate. In August 2018, an agreement was reached with the City of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to move the team which led to Luchino leading the creation of an innovative downtown ballpark in the city’s resurgent Canal District. He served as the WooSox Chairman & Principal Owner from the club’s inception in 2021 through 2023 after serving in that same role for the Pawtucket Red Sox from 2016-2020. He remained as the WooSox Chairman following the sale of the team to Diamond Baseball Holdings in December of 2023. He was selected to the inaugural WooSox Hall of Fame class in 2024.

Born in Pittsburgh, Lucchino was an All-City League basketball player and second baseman on the Pittsburgh city championship baseball team at Taylor Allderdice High School. He graduated with honors from Princeton University and received his law degree from Yale Law School. At Princeton, he was a member of two Ivy League championship basketball teams. Lucchino held honorary degrees from Suffolk University, Boston University, Bryant University, New England School of Law, Anna Maria College, Palomar College, the University of Massachusetts (Boston), Bentley University, and Assumption University.

Early in his legal career, Lucchino worked on the House Judiciary Committee, aiding its investigation into the Watergate scandal. Following Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, Lucchino joined Williams and Connolly, the law firm founded by his mentor, friend, and trial attorney Edward Bennett Williams. He became a partner at the firm in 1978 and specialized in sports law and litigation. He was general counsel to the Washington Redskins, of which Williams was president and part owner, and was a member of their Board of Directors from 1979-1985. When Williams bought the Orioles in August 1979, Lucchino entered baseball and became the club’s Vice President/General Counsel. Williams later named him President of the Orioles where he served in that role and as co-owner from 1989 until the club was sold at the end of the 1993 season. In December 1994, he partnered with John Moores to purchase the San Diego Padres, for whom he served as President and CEO through 2001.

An avid sportsman, Lucchino has the unique distinction of earning five World Series rings (Orioles, ’83; Red Sox, ’04, ’07, ’13, ’18), a Super Bowl ring (Redskins, ’83), and a Final Four watch (Princeton, ’65).

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, PA, as well as a younger nephew David L. Lucchino (Carrie Beth), who lives in Boston, MA. He also is survived by seven grand-nieces and grand-nephews.