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Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino works the phone on the field at Fenway Park in 2012. (John Wilcox/Boston Herald/File)
Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino works the phone on the field at Fenway Park in 2012. (John Wilcox/Boston Herald/File)

Larry Lucchino died Tuesday.

And with him, so did an integral part of Red Sox history.

John Henry famously told the listeners of “Felger and Mazz” back in 2011 that “Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox.”

During the time Lucchino “ran the Red Sox,” the team won the World Series three times. In 2004, 2007 and 2013. They also lost Game 7 of the ALCS twice  – on the road – by a combined score of 9-6.

They were “The Other Dynasty.”

Lucchino became Red Sox president and CEO on Nov. 15, 2001. In the 14 seasons that followed under his administration, the Red Sox finished over .500 11 times and made the postseason in 7 seasons.

The Red Sox were 1,247-1,021 (.549) on Lucchino’s watch. Lucchino’s Red Sox won 95 or more games six times. They also finished last three times. Swing big. Miss big. The current Red Sox have finished last in 3 of the past 4 seasons playing the smallest ball possible.

More importantly, Lucchino’s Red Sox tried to win every inning. Every game. Every series. Every season.

Lucchino saw the cash-cow potential in Fenway Park and realized how its milk and honey could be used to finance the most successful MLB franchise during the first two decades of the 21st century.

Not soccer teams. NASCAR teams. Hockey teams. Or the PGA Tour.

And fans rewarded that passion with five seasons of more than 3 million in attendance during Lucchino’s time with the Red Sox, in addition to monstrous ratings on NESN and WEEI. Lucchino was raised in Pittsburgh and attended Yale Law School. But he got it when it came to the Red Sox and the once-unbreakable emotional relationship the team shared with its fan base.

Now that passion, too, has died on both sides of the equation.

Lucchino more so than any other person in the front office changed the historic trajectory of the Red Sox. Dan Duquette came close. But he never got the chance to finish the job.

There was never any concern about salary limitations, luxury taxes, or balancing the books for the Fenway Sports Group.

Lucchino was an OG Jedi Master. He gave us the “Evil Empire” and then oversaw the Red Sox team that blew up the Death Star 20 years ago. Nothing in the Bronx has been the same since. It got so bad they tore the place down four years later.

“The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America,” Lucchino quipped after the Yankees outbid the Red Sox and others for Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras in December 2002.

That non-deal, much like the non-deal that almost brought Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox, turned out to be a blessing.

Still, the Red Sox never quit trying to get better under Lucchino.

Lucchino was a “killer” in the most non-violent sense of the word. His impact on baseball was clear before he arrived in Boston as part of John Henry’s ownership cabal. While the aloof Henry and his squishy Hollywood pal Tom Werner had the cash, Lucchino delivered the brains and guts of the operation.

Henry said as much in a statement issued by the team above his name Tuesday.

Lucchino “engineered the ideal conditions for championships wherever his path led him, and especially in Boston,” Henry said.

“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,” Henry added. “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.”

Lucchino was president of the Baltimore Orioles when that team built Camden Yards, the first of its kind inner-city ballpark that has been the template of nearly every new MLB park since. He brought Theo Epstein with him to San Diego from Baltimore, and then to Boston.

Lucchino knew that spending and winning went hand-in-hand. And Lucchino knew enough to know what he didn’t know. It was Lucchino who saw enough potential in Epstein to make him Red Sox general manager at age 28.

Theo tried to warn the masses that 2010 was going to be a “bridge year.” Soon he felt enough heat from his boss and lifetime mentor to walk it back. The 2010 Red Sox fell short of the postseason and finished 89-73.

2011 was also a “bridge year” given how many Red Sox fans wanted to leap off the Tobin into an endless metaphorical bucket of chicken and beer after it was over.

The wreckage of baseball’s “Greatest Team Ever” in 2011 wrought the Bobby Valentine Error in 2012.

And just when it seemed the Red Sox franchise had ended its “Dynasty,” the 2013 season delivered a poignant triumph that no one who experienced it will ever forget.

The Red Sox begin their celebration of 2004 before Fenway Park Opening Day on Tuesday. Given the team’s solid start on the West Coast, the game should be sold out by the time fans will be asked to find their seats ahead of the pre-game ceremonies.

Raffy Devers and the Men of Mystery had baseball’s lowest team ERA (1.26) after their first five games. They only walked one opposing batter, granted the Oakland A’s are no longer an official MLB team. The Red Sox also opened 5-0 against the baseball run line (think point spread).

The team will honor the late Tim and Stacy Wakefield before Tuesday’s opener.

And now, Lucchino, sadly, will also be remembered posthumously for his success with the Red Sox.

The end of an era, indeed. In so many ways.

Bill Speros (@RealOBF and @BillSperos) can be reached at

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino talks to the media on Truck Day outside Fenway Park in 2012.
Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino talks to the media on Truck Day outside Fenway Park in 2012. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald, File)