Larry Lucchino, former Red Sox executive who won three World Series rings in Boston, dies at 78


Larry Lucchino, who served as president of the Boston Red Sox when the team ended its 86-year World Series drought in 2004, died Tuesday. He was 78. No cause of death was given. Lucchino was a cancer survivor who was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the 1980s, prostate cancer in 1999, and kidney cancer in 2019.

“To us, Larry was an exceptional person who combined a Hall of Fame life as a Major League Baseball executive with his passion for helping those people most in need,” his family said in a statement. “He brought the same passion, tenacity, and probing intelligence to all his endeavors, and his achievements speak for themselves.”

A Pittsburgh native, Lucchino attended Yale Law School and later practiced in Washington D.C., which led to a position on the board of the directors with the NFL’s Washington franchise. He then became president of the Baltimore Orioles in 1988. Lucchino preferred old style ballparks and was instrumental in the construction of Camden Yards, which was completed in 1992.

After working with the O’s from 1988-93, Lucchino then became CEO of the San Diego Padres, and played a role in getting approval for a new stadium in downtown San Diego. Lucchino was with the Padres from 1995-2001, at which point he joined the Red Sox as their team president. Petco Park, the Padres’ current stadium, opened in 2004.

“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,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. 

“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.”   

Lucchino hired Theo Epstein to run Boston’s front office soon after joining the Red Sox. Epstein began his career in baseball in public relations with the Orioles under Lucchino, and then followed him to the Padres, where he broke into baseball operations. Lucchino also encouraged Epstein to attend law school during their time in San Diego.

From 2002-15, Lucchino was team president for three World Series championships in Boston (2004, 2007, 2013), including two with Epstein. He retired after the 2015 season and served as the chairman of the Jimmy Fund, which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is the Red Sox’s official charity, from 2016 until his death.

Lucchino won three World Series with the Red Sox and also a National League pennant with the Padres in 1998. In addition to Camden Yards and Petco Park, he also played a role in the construction of Polar Park, home of Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Worcester, and also JetBlue Park, the club’s spring training facility.

“Larry Lucchino was one of the most accomplished executives that our industry has ever had,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He was deeply driven, he understood baseball’s place in our communities, and he had a keen eye for executive talent. Larry’s vision for Camden Yards played a vital role in advancing fan-friendly ballparks across the game. He followed up by overseeing the construction of Petco Park, which remains a jewel of the San Diego community. Then Larry teamed with John Henry and Tom Werner to produce the most successful era in Red Sox history, which included historic World Series Championships on the field and a renewed commitment to Fenway Park.”

In addition to his accomplishments in baseball, Lucchino was also with Washington for their Super Bowl win in 1983, and he served on the board of directors for the Special Olympics. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Padres Hall of Fame in 2022.


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