Larry Lucchino dead at 78

amh03

Tippi Hedren
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 27, 2003
6,655
I used to work around the corner from Fenway and when they started the construction of the Green Monster seats I would walk around at lunch and snap a few photos of the progress. I was using a film camera at the time and inevitably had family photos on the rolls as well. I always printed double prints so I could put together family albums for the holidays…so I ended up with a stack of extra Fenway pics…what to do with them?

So during the winter of 2002-2003, I decided to put them into a photo album and ended up giving that to Larry Lucchino at a charity event I attended in the spring of 2003. He took my name and number. A few days later I receive a call from his office…would I like to see a game from the Green Monster? He gifted me 2 of his first row/section 4 (if my memory serves me right) tickets to the Easter Sunday game. It was a beautiful sunny day to watch the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays from the most amazing seats.

RIP, Mr. Lucchino…
 

monty10

New Member
Nov 16, 2006
87
I got the chance to meet LL in 2005. The Sox were on the road at Wrigley. It was a blazing hot day. Larry was out in the right field grandstand in a shirt and tie. I went up to him extended my hand and said thank you. I asked why he was not in some place a little cooler? His reply. I am out here with Red Sox Nation.
 

Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I got the chance to meet LL in 2005. The Sox were on the road at Wrigley. It was a blazing hot day. Larry was out in the right field grandstand in a shirt and tie. I went up to him extended my hand and said thank you. I asked why he was not in some place a little cooler? His reply. I am out here with Red Sox Nation.
There was a SoSH get together that weekend. We met the Dentist and he shared his ring with us, too.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
21,680
There was a SoSH get together that weekend. We met the Dentist and he shared his ring with us, too.
I was at the Sunday game. Wake was sublime, and Youk hit his only HR of the year. Pretty sure Sox fans outnumbered Cubs fans.
 

patinorange

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 27, 2006
30,947
6 miles from Angel Stadium
Dad took us to Fenway in the 60’s quite often. Usually walked up and sat in the bleachers for a buck each. My memories of cigar smoke and the smell of beer are a combination of great memories and being a little scared. And yes, as others have mentioned, the troughs in the men’s room were somewhat traumatic. Over the years, he got season tickets through his job and really, the sales staff could not give them away. From the late 70’s through the 80’s I attended more games than I can count. The Fenway experience then was not great. Small seats, bad parking, long lines and mostly bad teams. But for me, free.

In the early 90’s I moved to Orange County Ca and brought up my family. Angel stadium was a paradise compared to Fenway. Easy in/out, cheap parking, fantastic concessions, and a great family atmosphere. But not Fenway.

In 2006 I took the kids to their first trip to Fenway. I could not believe it was the same place. It was so much better, but still Fenway. I have been back a few times since and remain impressed. So, I will always be grateful to Larry and the owners for the upgraded Fenway, saving the essence of the ballpark, and of course, the WS wins. I have never been to Camden Yards, but Petco Park is fantastic. Larry made a significant contribution to baseball and the Red Sox.

RIP
 

Archer1979

shazowies
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
7,935
Right Here
I never met Larry Lucchino but I did see him on the steps of Springfield's City Hall in late 2004 during the Sox's Victory Tour. He had a firm grasp on how many more NYY fans were in this area than in other parts of New England. He called us the tip of the spear to heart of the Evil Empire.

Without his contributions, in an alternative universe, the Sox are playing next to the partial torn down Fenway and possibly at 106 years and counting.

Rest in Peace Mr. Lucchino. Your place in Red Sox lore is secure.
 

Shaky Walton

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 20, 2019
720
One of my favorite Red Sox books is One Day at Fenway by Steve Kettman. For so many reasons.

One of them is that it gives you a glimpse into the personality, confidence and intense desire to win of Lucchino. It also makes it clear that LL was extremely mindful and solicitous of Sox fans.

I was lucky enough to get to know Larry after the 2003 season ended with Grady’s recklessness, and remained connected with him up until fairly recently. For my money, his contributions to winning and the glaringly obvious improvements to Fenway, and his extreme dedication to all things Red Sox, cannot be understated. And he was incredibly kind to me and my family.

I will be forever grateful to Larry in light of all of the above, hope he is enshrined in the the Baseball HOF soon and wish he had survived to see it.
 

hube

New Member
Apr 4, 2010
232
Every great organization needs someone with a vision and the ability to carry it through. He was that person. As so many others have said, we don't get any of the last 20 years without his vision.
 

Al Zarilla

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2005
59,199
San Andreas Fault
Having lived in California for some years now, I don’t get inside detail like what Lucchino did for the Sox leading up to the WS titles, or the Fenway improvements. So, I appreciate the posts in here explaining them. I’ll add my thanks to LL for what he did for the Red Sox and baseball.
 

Sin Duda

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
835
(B)Austin Texas
I, too, want to thank everyone for their reflections of the full pallet of what LL meant to the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, and those communities. I wish I could thank him for everything, but I surely appreciate a life well lived.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
27,062
Newton
Shaughnessy with an excellent remembrance of Larry in todays Globe:

He was the last of a kind — a personable, hard-charging baseball executive who demanded results, never suffered fools, and most of the time made things better for fans. He should be in Cooperstown simply for Camden Yards (which changed everything about the fan experience in every ballpark built after 1993), and he could have been commissioner of baseball, but Boston was best served because Lucchino ran the Red Sox from 2002-15.

The Sox haven’t been the same since he “retired,” and you can be sure Lucchino wouldn’t have tolerated the “let the fans eat cake” message ownership delivered in the recent non-full-throttle offseason.


Larry Lucchino. Think Harry Sinden with a law degree. Think Red Auerbach brawling with NBA owners at Board of Governors meetings. Think Tommy Lee Jones as Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard in “The Fugitive.”

Get 108 Stitches
Receive the Globe's best reporting and commentary on the Red Sox every weekday.
He grew up in the shadows of Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, an all-star baseball player at Allderdice High School (future home of Curtis Martin).

“Forbes Field was across the street from the library, which was across the street from the YMCA, which was across the street from a pizza place,” Lucchino once said. “So you had all your essential elements of life in one system. You had everything together.”

A member of Bill Bradley’s Final Four team at Princeton, Lucchino never lost his love of asymmetrical green ballparks, replete with nooks and crannies, tucked into city neighborhoods. This is why Camden Yards was built and became the most important MLB change since Jackie Robinson integrated the sport in 1947. This is why Fenway Park was preserved when new Sox ownership took over in 2002. This is why Lucchino fined employees a token amount if he heard them refer to Fenway or Camden as a “stadium.”

I met him in 1979 when attorney Edward Bennett Williams bought the Orioles. One of the great trial attorneys of the 20th century and a proud name on Nixon’s enemies list, Williams also owned part of the Washington Redskins and brought Lucchino into baseball as a club vice president and general counsel.

As a reporter covering those Orioles, I came to think of Lucchino as the power behind the throne. Young Larry was involved in all Oriole matters and never shied from a healthy disagreement. When he was particularly angry, he would poke you in the chest to make his point.

By the time he came to Boston as president/CEO with the new Red Sox ownership, Lucchino had already built Camden Yards, broken ground on Petco Park in San Diego, and made a raft of enemies.

In 2002, Red Sox principal owner John Henry (who also owns the Globe) told me, “Larry brought me in, actually. I was working on [buying] the Angels. He was working on this deal [buying the Red Sox with Tom Werner and Les Otten].

“At one point, it became apparent to me that we weren’t going to be able to make a deal for the Angels. And I remember I called Larry on my cellphone, and he was at the Yale Bowl. It was Nov. 3 [2001]. And I said, ‘How’s it going in Boston?’ And he said, ‘We’re dialing for dollars.’

“And so I asked him if there was a possibility for an investor to come in. I told him I was only interested if I could be the lead investor, and he said, ‘That would be great. Let me talk to Tom.’ That’s how it happened.”

A few months after the sale was approved, Lucchino summoned 28-year-old protégé Theo Epstein, who’d been learning the baseball craft under Lucchino in San Diego.

A Pittsburgh guy who’d made his baseball bones in Baltimore and San Diego, Lucchino immediately understood the Boston Baseball Experience.

The old Yawkey/Harrington Red Sox — like the Bob Kraft Patriots — had a frosty relationship with Boston City Hall, but Lucchino put a stop to that immediately, forging a strong relationship with Mayor Thomas Menino. Before you knew it, Menino had a nightly suite at Fenway (I think Lucchino let the mayor make out the Sox lineup a couple of times) and the Sox were getting everything they wanted from the city.

Lucchino embraced conflict. He once called Scott Boras “a liar” — to his face. He openly mocked George Steinbrenner. When he reluctantly agreed to be interviewed for a book I was writing with deposed Sox manager Terry Francona, Lucchino insisted on having a Sox employee record the session. Dueling recording devices. It was like the Nixon White House.

On the other hand, Francona told me that Lucchino was the only member of the Sox ownership trio who called him after Bob Hohler’s explosive story on the ex-manager in October of 2011.

Lucchino’s hate for the Yankees earned love from Sox fans.

“To be a true baseball fan, you’ve got to despise your nearest rival,” he once said. “That’s easy for the Red Sox. I was signing some autographs the other day, and I asked the guy, ‘Would it be OK if I write “Yankees suck” on there?’ ”

Lucchino was briefly considered for a spot on a special “contributors” Hall of Fame ballot last summer, but failed to get enough support.

“I’ve got some scar tissue from the battles in baseball,” he acknowledged. “I think you could round up some of the usual candidates. Judge me by my enemies as well as my friends.”

RIP Larry Lucchino. Boston is forever grateful for your time here.
Worth noting that Shaughnessy says Larry immediately reached out to Francona after the Hohler piece that many believed The Dentist (and by extension, Lucchino) was behind.
 

Harry Hooper

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 4, 2002
34,596
LL certainly followed the "contest living" mantra of his guru Edward Bennett Williams, so he inevitably had run-ins with certain parties. I definitely tossed some criticisms his way where I thought they were deserved, but what a key transformational role he played for this franchise. His accomplishments with the Red Sox and his other stops in MLB are underappreciated both here and elsewhere. Some great work with charities as well. RIP, Larry.
 

Beskedne værker

New Member
Apr 4, 2024
1
I am very grateful for Mr. Lucchino's contributions to the Red Sox, MLB, and to our communities. I was very happy to witness his joy when the Red Sox won the WS in 2004. RIP.
 

JBJ_HOF

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 5, 2014
540
Bill Madden, NYDN

Larry Lucchino, the hard-driving, uncompromising former CEO of the Red Sox and George Steinbrenner’s most famous antagonist, died last week at age 78 after as long, recurring battle with leukemia. Let it be said the Red Sox would not have won those world championships, Fenway Park might have fallen victim to the wrecking ball, and Camden Yards in Baltimore would not have started the ballpark renaissance in baseball were it not for Lucchino. It was Lucchino who hired Theo Epstein, who ended the Curse of the Bambino in Boston, and Lucchino, who fostered a relationship with Boston mayor Thomas Menino that led to the Red Sox being able to secure the necessary funding for the renovations to fast-decaying Fenway, including the seats above the Green Monster in left field that really should be named after him. It was also Lucchino — who never met a fellow baseball lord he couldn’t engage in mortal combat with — who breathed new life into the age-old Yankee-Red Sox rivalry by dubbing the Yankees “the evil empire” after Steinbrenner had out-maneuvered he and Epstein to sign Cuban defector Jose Contreras in 2002 a week after they’d also signed Hideki Matsui. In 2002, Red Sox owner John Henry told Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy that it was Lucchino who brought him in as the primary investor to the group that bought the Red Sox in 2002.

Sadly, Lucchino had a falling out with Henry and Sox chairman Tom Werner, who blamed him for the disastrous hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager in 2011 and the loss of Jon Lester in 2014. Werner was said to have long been jealous of Lucchino getting all the credit for the Red Sox successes, and with Henry’s blessing was able to push Lucchino out. In his last years, Lucchino owned and operated the Red Sox Triple-A farm club in Worcester but friends said he died a bitter man after the way things ended for him in Boston. I would add it’s no coincidence the Red Sox ownership/front office has been a dysfunctional mess and the team has gone backward since his departure.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
27,062
Newton
Do we think that is true? I have always wondered about the reasons for him leaving the ownership group -- but I would hardly lump the post-Lucchino Dombrowski era in with the confused dysfunction of recent years.
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
2,422
Simi Valley, CA
2 possibly boring anecdotes about Larry. I was a guest of an Orioles front office person at the 1993 Camden Yards All Star game and attended some functions in the big brick building beyond right field where the Orioles offices were. I was allowed to go into LL's office although he was not there. One of the walls had a whiteboard with all the players in the system on it. Haywood Sullivan was having cocktails nearby wearing the ugliest pink sport jacket I had ever seen.

March 2008 the Red Sox are playing the Dodgers at the LA Coliseum and me and my pals were tailgating in the parking lot of the Sports Arena. Dodger fans were everywhere around us getting primed for the game and it looked like things could get out of hand. A man was walking from Figueroa St. down a sidewalk to the Coliseum and Dodger fans were giving him shit. Eventually he walked by our group, unscathed, and it was Larry Luchino. We told him we were ready to rescue him if necessary. He laughed and declined our offer of a beer and a sausage and walked into the Coliseum.
 

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
SoSH Member
Apr 3, 2001
44,896
Mtigawi
LL certainly followed the "contest living" mantra of his guru Edward Bennett Williams, so he inevitably had run-ins with certain parties. I definitely tossed some criticisms his way where I thought they were deserved, but what a key transformational role he played for this franchise. His accomplishments with the Red Sox and his other stops in MLB are underappreciated both here and elsewhere. Some great work with charities as well. RIP, Larry.

That’s a pretty good sign he was a leader. Not everything he did made sense or worked, but he seemingly never let perfect get in the way of being effective. In retrospect the sum of his actions are seemingly very positive.
 

TomRicardo

rusty cohlebone
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2006
20,638
Row 14
That’s a pretty good sign he was a leader. Not everything he did made sense or worked, but he seemingly never let perfect get in the way of being effective. In retrospect the sum of his actions are seemingly very positive.
Only in death did Nip identify with Lucchino.

That said he is really missed. Seeing other leadership as juxtaposed to him makes you really see the value he brought.