Longtime MLB executive Larry Lucchino dies at 78

Larry Lucchino, a longtime baseball executive who oversaw three World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, has died at 78.

Lucchino was the president of the Baltimore Orioles (1988-93) and president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Padres (1995-2001) before serving as president and CEO of the Red Sox from 2002-15.

In addition to the World Series triumphs in Boston in 2004, 2007 and 2013, his legacy includes serving as a driving force behind trend-setting ballparks built in Baltimore (Camden Yards) and San Diego (Petco Park).

“Larry Lucchino was one of the most accomplished executives that our industry has ever had,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on Tuesday. “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.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my condolences to Larry’s family, his Red Sox colleagues and his many friends throughout our National Pastime.”

A Pittsburgh native who earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton and a law degree at Yale, Lucchino was inducted into the Halls of Fame for the Red Sox (2016) and Padres (2022).

Lucchino played basketball at Princeton and went to the 1965 Final Four. He was working in the front office for the Orioles when they won the World Series in 1983, and was an executive with the then-Washington Redskins when they won Super Bowl XVII.

The Red Sox also released a statement about Lucchino, who was there when Boston won its first World Series since 1918 and ended the so-called “Curse of the Bambino.” Lucchino was also responsible for labeling the rival New York Yankees as “the Evil Empire” during one of his frequent clashes with then-Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“The Red Sox & the sports world have lost a giant,” the team posted on X. “Larry was a visionary whose competitive spirit & strong will took sports franchises to new heights, particularly ours. He was a curse-breaker, ballpark-preserver & community champion. Thank you, Larry.”

Following his retirement from the Red Sox in 2015, he worked as chairman and co-owner of Boston’s Triple-A team and oversaw its move from Pawtucket, R.I., to Worcester, Mass., in 2021.

Lucchino was a survivor of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He had surgery in 2019 to remove a cancerous blockage near his kidney.