BOSTON (AP) — Larry Lucchino, the hard-driving drive behind baseball’s retro ballpark revolution and the transformation of the Boston Red…

BOSTON (AP) — Larry Lucchino, the hard-driving drive behind baseball’s retro ballpark revolution and the transformation of the Boston Red Sox from cursed losers to World Series 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 Red Sox, the place he had most not too long ago been the first proprietor and chairman — the last project in a career that was additionally linked to a few main league baseball franchises and one within the NFL.

“Larry leaves behind an enormous baseball legacy stuffed 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 common supervisor to that time in baseball historical past. “For me and for thus lots of my greatest associates in baseball, Larry gave us our begin, believing in us and setting a permanent instance together 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 might be missed.”

A Pittsburgh native who performed on the 1965 NCAA Final Four Princeton basketball crew captained by future U.S. senator and basketball Hall of Famer Bill Bradley, Lucchino went on to Yale Law School and labored on the House 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 generally known as the Commanders.

Lucchino rose to president of the Orioles, and it was in his tenure that the crew changed Memorial Stadium with a downtown, old-style ballpark that ended the move toward 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 San Diego Padres, whom he served as president and CEO.

“We didn’t know that we had been going to ignite a revolution in ballpark structure,” Lucchino informed The Associated Press in 2021 because the WooSox ready to open their new house, Polar Park. “We simply wished to construct a pleasant little ballpark.”

As Padres proprietor John Moores’ right-hand man, Lucchino led the push for Petco Park — one other downtown ballpark — permitting the crew to depart ageing Qualcomm Stadium, which they shared with the NFL’s Chargers. The Padres ended 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 determination to replace Fenway Park quite than substitute it — bucking one other pattern — preserved considered one of baseball’s jewels, which can open its 113th season on April 9.

But a fair greater overhaul was happening within the Red 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 Red Sox ended an 86-year championship drought — vanquishing the archrival New York Yankees, whom he dubbed “the Evil Empire” alongside the way in which.

They gained two extra World Series in his tenure as president earlier than an aborted try and retire in 2015. Instead, he turned the entrance man for a gaggle that bought the Pawtucket Red Sox, ultimately shifting them from Rhode Island to Worcester, Massachusetts, and constructing a brand new house there — his fifth main ballpark challenge.

“Larry was a winner,” mentioned former Red 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 perspective that wouldn’t be denied. He was a tone setter for our group.”

The lawyerly Lucchino was identified for an aggressive, usually adversarial strategy 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 WooSox President Charles Steinberg, who additionally labored with Lucchino in Baltimore, San Diego, Boston and Pawtucket, Rhode Island; architect Janet Marie Smith, who labored on Camden Yards, Petco Park and Fenway Park; and present Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy, who adopted Lucchino from San Diego to Boston together with Epstein, his highschool pal.

“There are so many people 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 are going to carry perpetually. His legacy is one that every one of us who had been taught by him really feel a deep accountability to uphold.”

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

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

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

“My coronary heart goes out to the Lucchino household. They misplaced not solely an awesome man, however a visionary with the most important coronary heart,” mentioned Martinez, who was the ace of the pitching workers that led Boston to the 2004 World Series title. “Even although 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 Series rings — having collected one other with the Orioles in 1983 — a Super Bowl ring from Washington in ’83 and a Final Four watch. He was additionally energetic in serving to Major League Baseball unfold internationally, taking journeys to China and Japan and as an early supporter of the World Baseball Classic.

“Larry Lucchino was one of the achieved executives that our business 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 Cancer Institute.

“To us, Larry was an distinctive one that mixed a Hall of Fame life as a Major League Baseball govt together 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 converse for themselves.”

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