San Diego Padres Hall of Famer Larry Lucchino dies at age 78

Larry Lucchino
Posted at 8:04 AM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 14:05:05-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Larry Lucchino, the president and CEO of the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2001 who was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in 2022, died early Tuesday at the age of 78.

"We mourn the passing of former Padres executive Larry Lucchino. Larry's passion and leadership was instrumental in the design and construction of Petco Park," the team said Tuesday on X.

Lucchino, who presided over the Padres' last World Series appearance in 1998 and also won three World Series during his tenure as president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox from 2002-15, had suffered from cancer.

According to the Padres website, "Lucchino's lasting legacy is Petco Park, which began with his vision to create a smaller, classically-designed ballpark, placed in the heart of downtown. From lobbying city officials to working fervently to win the 1998 vote that approved the ballpark, Lucchino was instrumental in revitalizing the city and making Petco Park a point of civic pride for all San Diegans."

A Pittsburgh native who played on the Princeton basketball team, Lucchino went on to Yale Law School and got a job with Washington lawyer Edward Bennett Williams. Lucchino worked on Williams' sports teams, the Washington NFL franchise and the Baltimore Orioles.

Lucchino became president of the Orioles, and it was in his tenure that the team replaced Memorial Stadium with a downtown, old-style ballpark.

Lucchino's next stop was in Boston, joining with new owners John Henry and Tom Werner in 2002. Their decision to update Fenway Park rather than replace it preserved one of baseball's jewels, which will open its 113th season on April 9.

His most recent project was being chairman of the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox.

"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," Lucchino's family said in a statement. "He brought the same passion, tenacity, and probing intelligence to all his endeavors, and his achievements speak for themselves."

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred paid tribute to Lucchino on on Tuesday.

"Larry Lucchino was one of the most accomplished executives that our industry has ever had," Manfred said. "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."

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