01Lucchino Mjzk Facebookjumbo

Larry Lucchino, who with the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres oversaw the design of the state-of-the-art stadiums that inspired their neighborhoods — Oreo Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and Petco Park in San Diego — and helped preserve Fenway Park for generations as president of the Boston Red Sox, died on Tuesday at his home in Brooklyn. . He was 78.

His family announced his death but did not reveal the cause. He was treated for cancer three times.

Mr. Lucchino became president of the Red Sox in 2002 under new ownership led by the team’s principal owners, John Henry and Tom Werner. During Mr. Lucchino’s 14 years with the team, the Red Sox won three World Series titles — the first in 2004, breaking an 86-year drought — and reached the postseason seven times. He oversaw improvements to Fenway Park that included installing seats above the Green Monster, a 37-foot-high left field wall, as well as expanding the concourses and new concourses.

Instead of replacing it with a new stadium, Mr. Lucchino envisioned a renovation that would preserve Fenway, which opened in 1912, for decades.

“Haven’t you learned anything?” Mr. Lucchino told Charles Steinberg, another Red Sox executive, that he was quoted in the profile. Sports Business Journal in 2021. “You can’t destroy the Mona Lisa. You wait for the Mona Lisa.

Mr. Lucchino’s combative, competitive personality played out in the rivalry between the Red Sox and New York Yankees. In the year In 2002, after the Yankees signed the Japanese slugger Hideki Matsu and the Cuban outfielder Jose Contreras within days, Mr. Lucchino told The New York Times, “The evil empire extends its tentacles to Latin America.

The moniker stuck — even though Boston’s success outpaced the Yankees in the years to come. A year later, Mr. Lucchino further described the Yankees-Red Sox dynamic:

“It’s white hot,” he told the Times. “It’s the competition on the field, it’s the competition of the press, it’s the competition of the front office, it’s the competition of the fans.

The feeling was mutual.

In the year Interviewed by The New York Times in 2007, Hank Steinbrenner, son of then-Yankees owner, said of the Red Sox, “If it wasn’t for the rivalry with us, they would be OK.” another group.”

Lawrence Luchino was born on September 6, 1945 in Pittsburgh. His father, Dominick, owned a bar and later worked for the Pennsylvania Courthouse. His mother, Rose (Rizzo) Luchino, was a writer and accountant.

Mr. Lucchino played second base on the Pittsburgh City Championship winning high school baseball team. At Princeton, the basketball team that reached the final four of the 1965 NCAA Men’s Tournament before losing in the semifinals to the University of Michigan – its star Bill Bradley was the guard. Mr. Lucchino received his bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton in 1967.

In the year One of his colleagues was Hillary Clinton.

In the year In 1974, Mr. Lucchino was hired by the powerful Washington law firm Williams & Connolly. Over the next 14 years, he became a partner in the firm as well as an executive with the Orioles and Washington Redskins (now the Chiefs) because the respected trial lawyer Edward Bennett Williams, who headed the firm, had interests in both teams.

“My baseball career is a product of him, the opportunity he gave me and his belief in me,” Mr. Lucchino told the Boston Globe in 2002.

After Mr. Williams’ death in 1988, Mr. Lucchino became president of the Orioles. In that role, he oversaw the development of Oreo Park at Camden Yards, which opened in 1992 with its brick-and-steel aesthetic and disproportionate field dimensions reminiscent of early 20th-century ballparks like Forbes Field, the long-gone home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. as a boy. The old B&O Railroad depot became a unique backdrop beyond right field.

Camden Yards is often credited with inspiring other Major League Baseball teams to build unusual ballparks in downtown settings.

Mr. Lucchino worked with Janet Marie Smith, who served as an executive for the Orioles and Red Sox and as a consultant for the Padres, on the Camden Yards, Petco and Fenway projects. She described Mr. Lucchino as a strong-willed personality who coordinated with architects and others to create great results.

“He was always challenging everybody,” Ms. Smith said in a telephone interview. She said he disparaged the use of the word “stadium,” which evoked concrete structures built in the 1960s and 70s. Baseball and football teams – “And if you say the ‘S-word’ you get fined $1.”

Mr. Lucchino left the Orioles in late 1993, shortly after the team was purchased by Peter Angelos, who died last month. The following year, Mr. Lucchino was part of a team that failed to bid for the hometown Pirates. But in the year In late December 1994, he stepped down to become president and minority owner of the Padres. It wasn’t a good time to buy a team: The players’ union was on strike that destroyed the postseason.

“The team was at the bottom of the hill,” Mr. Lucchino told the Sports Business Journal. “We had the worst attendance, the worst image, the worst revenue, the worst winning record. Probably the worst uniform. It couldn’t have been worse.”

The team improved on the pitch under his leadership; In the year He reached the World Series in 1998, but was swept by the Yankees. However, Mr. Lucchino is perhaps best known for his development work on Petco Park, which opened in 2004, three years after he left the group.

“Petco felt it needed context, felt it needed to be something about San Diego,” Ms. Smith said.

Petco features include a granite exterior; An old brick building is included in the infield in left field; A small park outside with a small baseball diamond and a statue of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn; and spectacular views of San Diego Harbor from the top deck.

Mr. Lucchino helped engineer a renaissance from the Padres to join the Red Sox. One of his early hires, Theo Epstein, became the youngest general manager in baseball history and the architect of a roster overhaul that won World Series in 2004 and 2007.

Mr. Luchino is survived by his brother, Frank; His marriage to Stacey Johnson ended in divorce.

For his last baseball activity, Mr. Lucchino went to the minor leagues. In the year After leaving the Red Sox in 2015, he joined with other investors to purchase the Pawtucket Red Sox in Rhode Island, the organization’s top minor league team. After the state failed to pass a stadium financing package, it moved the team to Worcester, Mass., where Polar Park is slated to open in 2021.

Late last year, Mr. Lucchino sold the team — called the WooSox — to Diamond Baseball Holdings, part of a private equity firm that owns 30 minor league teams in the United States and Canada.

“At 78, and 44 Years Later in Baseball.” he said in a news release.“I believe it is time to develop a succession plan that ensures a commitment to baseball and a commitment to Worcester.”