Red Sox Hall of Famer Larry Lucchino served as President/CEO during an historic 14-year period through 2015, in which the club won three World Series, saved and enhanced Fenway Park, established the Major League Baseball record for consecutive sellouts, and created the Red Sox Foundation, a philanthropic powerhouse. Now also Chairman of the Pawtucket Red Sox, Lucchino and the late Jim Skeffington assembled a group that in 2015 purchased Boston’s longtime Triple-A affiliate. He is also Chairman of the Jimmy Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which twice helped to save his life.
After serving as the President of the Baltimore Orioles (1988-93) and the President and CEO of the San Diego Padres (1995-01), Lucchino was instrumental in bringing together Principal Owner John W. Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, and their partners, who purchased the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and 80 percent of NESN in December, 2001.
Committing to “field a team worthy of the fans’ support,” the Red Sox in his tenure played October Baseball seven times in 14 years. Vanquishing the proverbial “Curse of the Bambino,” the 2004 club did what had never been done before—overcoming a 3-0 deficit, against no less than the archrival New York Yankees, whom Lucchino dubbed “the Evil Empire,”—to win the pennant and then sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to win the club’s first World Series since 1918--after an agonizing 86-year wait. The World Champions of 2007 and 2013 also etched in stone this historic era, with the latter club helping to heal a wounded city after the Boston Marathon bombings to embody the strength and resilience that supported the new phrase, “Boston Strong.”
After revolutionizing ballpark ambiance and architecture by creating Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which fulfilled his pioneering vision of a traditional, intimate, old-fashioned downtown ballpark with modern amenities, Lucchino then spearheaded the political and design efforts that created Petco Park in San Diego. More than a ballpark, Petco fulfilled its promise as a catalyst for redevelopment in downtown San Diego.
With the experience of Camden Yards and Petco Park, he was instrumental in conceiving and executing ten years of major improvements to Fenway Park that preserved, protected, and enhanced “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” Once again, a ballpark revitalized a now-vibrant neighborhood.
With aggressive marketing throughout New England and the global fan base called “Red Sox Nation,” the club connected with its fans, who sold out every game (820 straight) from May 15, 2003 through April 8, 2013. The club set franchise attendance records in eight of his 14 seasons.
Lucchino has served on several MLB committees, including the Commissioner’s historic Blue Ribbon Task Force on Baseball Economics, which successfully re-engineered the sport’s economic structure, and the International Committee, of which he was one of its most active members.
Saying his franchises “had a foreign policy,” Lucchino arranged for his Padres to play baseball’s first regular season games in Mexico (1996) and Hawaii (1997) and pioneered a ground-breaking relationship in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines (1997). Returning to Mexico in 1999, he helped establish baseball’s first International Opener in Monterrey. In 2008, he led the Red Sox’ first trip to Japan, where they opened the season. Lucchino was also an early and active supporter of the World Baseball Classic.
Born in Pittsburgh, Lucchino was an All-City League basketball player and second baseman on the Pittsburgh city championship baseball team. He graduated with honors from Princeton University and then graduated from Yale Law School. At Princeton, he was a member of two Ivy League championship basketball teams. Lucchino holds honorary degrees from Suffolk University, Boston University, Bryant University, New England School of Law, Anna Maria College, Palomar College, the University of Massachusetts (Boston), and Bentley University.
In 1974, he joined Williams and Connolly, the law firm founded by his mentor, friend, legendary sportsman, and trial attorney Edward Bennett Williams. He became a partner in 1978 and specialized in sports law and litigation. He was general counsel to the Washington Redskins, of which Williams was president and part owner, and was a member of their Board of Directors from 1979 to 1985. When EBW bought the Orioles on August 2, 1979, Lucchino entered baseball and became the club’s vice president/general counsel. EBW named him president in May 1988, to rebuild the club’s baseball and business operations. Lucchino was President (and co-owner) of the Orioles from 1989 until the club was sold at the end of the 1993 season. In December, 1994, he partnered with John Moores to purchase the San Diego Padres, for whom he served as President/CEO through 2001.
The avid sportsman has the unique distinction of earning World Series rings (Orioles, ’83; Red Sox, ‘04, ’07, ‘13), a Super Bowl ring (Redskins, ‘83), and a Final Four watch (Princeton, ‘65). Lucchino has been active in numerous civic and charitable efforts, particularly in the research and treatment of cancer. He is a board member and served as the co-chair of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s $1 billion “Mission Possible” Capital Campaign, which reached its goal in 2009, and was on the board of Special Olympics International from 2010 until June 2018.
In recognition for “long and meritorious service to baseball” over three decades in the game, Lucchino received the Judge Emil Fuchs Award from the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America at their 72nd annual awards dinner in January 2011. Lucchino was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012, the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame and the Taylor Allderdice High School Hall of Fame in November 2013, and was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in May 2016.
Reflections from a Rainmaker: Building Winning Franchises, Using Sports to Revitalize Cities and More