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#pounditTuesday, April 16, 2024

Former Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino dies at 78

Larry Lucchino poses at the ballpark

Larry Lucchino, pictured here in a 2023 photo at Polar Park in Worcester, Mass. Credit: Ashley Green / USA TODAY NETWORK

Former Boston Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino has died.

The Red Sox shared the news of Lucchino’s death in a statement on Tuesday. Lucchino, who was 78, had been battling cancer.

Lucchino joined the Red Sox as their president and CEO when the franchise was purchased by John Henry and Tom Werner in 2002. Lucchino also had a financial stake in the team. He had previously served as an executive with the Baltimore Orioles from 1989-1993 and San Diego Padres from 1995-2001.

While he had a long career as an executive across multiple sports and even won a Super Bowl when he was part of the then-Washington Redskins’ front office in 1982, Lucchino is best known for playing a big role in ending the Red Sox’s infamous 86-year World Series drought in 2004. He then helped build two more championship teams in Boston in 2007 and 2013 before stepping down in 2015.

Of the many franchise-altering moves Lucchino made with the Red Sox, bringing Theo Epstein to Boston may have been the biggest. Epstein had worked with Lucchino as an intern with the Orioles and general manager with the Padres. When Lucchino joined the Red Sox, he hired Epstein and quickly promoted the then-28-year-old to GM. Epstein is largely responsible for assembling Boston’s 2004 championship team.

Lucchino also played a major role in the Red Sox’s decision to renovate Fenway Park rather than replacing it. Lucchino’s vision also factored heavily into retro-style ballparks being constructed when the Orioles built Camden Yards and Padres opened Petco Park.

After citing age as the primary reason he stepped down from his job with the Red Sox in 2015, Lucchino retained a role with Fenway Sports Group. He continued to serve as chairman and co-owner of the Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate. Lucchino worked with the minor-league team when they moved from Pawtucket, R.I., to Worcester, Mass., in 2021.

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