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Larry Lucchino, World Series-winning Red Sox president, dead at 78

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Larry Lucchino, the fiery former Red Sox, Padres and Orioles president who was part of three World Series championships with Boston and coined the “Evil Empire” moniker for the Yankees, died Tuesday.

He was 78.

“We are heartbroken to share that our beloved brother and uncle, Lawrence Lucchino, passed away on April 2 surrounded by his family,” the Lucchino family said in a statement released by the Red Sox.

Lucchino joined the Red Sox in 2002 after spending seven years with the Padres and retired from the club in 2015 after helping lead the franchise to championships in 2004, 2007 and 2013.

Larry Lucchino, who was Red Sox president for three World Series championships, died Tuesday at the age of 78. Getty Images

“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,” Red Sox owner John Henry said of Lucchino in a statement. “He was truly irreplaceable and will be missed by all of us at the Red Sox.”

He brought Theo Epstein to the Red Sox and made him the youngest general manager in baseball history in 2002 at the age of 28.

Epstein was the architect of the 2004 championship-winning team that ended the 86-year Curse of the Bambino, as well as the ’07 team, before joining the Cubs in 2011.

Epstein was an Orioles intern who worked with Lucchino in San Diego.

Larry Lucchino (r.) with Theo Epstein (c.) and Red Sox owner Tom Werner (l.) AP

“Larry Lucchino was one of the most accomplished executives that our industry ever had,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He was deeply driven, he understood baseball’s place in our communities, and he had a keen eye for executive talent.”

Lucchino spearheaded the construction of Camden Yards in Baltimore and Petco Park in San Diego, and he convinced Red Sox ownership to renovate Fenway Park instead of tearing it down to build a new ballpark.

After the Yankees beat out the Red Sox for Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras’ services in free agency in 2002, giving him a four-year, $32 million contract, Lucchino told the New York Times, “The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America.”

Larry Lucchino New York Post

This was on the heels of the Yankees’ dynasty run when they won four World Series in five years from 1996-2000 and lost in the 2001 World Series.

“He was a very formidable adversary,” Yankees president Randy Levine said of Lucchino, per the Boston Globe. “A great competitor. We went back and forth for many years.”

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