After an 86-year championship drought that left some fans wondering if their team was cursed, the Boston Red Sox transformed into baseball’s most successful team, winning the World Series three times in the last 10 seasons. President and CEO Larry Lucchino ’67 is one of the few major figures who has been with the club for all three championships, and last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he explained some of the secrets behind his team’s swift turnaround from a disappointing year in 2012 to last week’s 4-2 series win over St. Louis.
“One of the lessons that we’ve learned from this year is that personality counts, that character counts,” he said. “At the bottom of most of the player personnel decisions was this assessment of personality, character, and the ability to work in the crucible that is Boston baseball.”
Red Sox fans set a high bar, but they also care deeply for their team, and the 2013 players were particularly beloved by a hometown that endured the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon in April, near the start of the baseball season. The World Series victory parade made a special stop at the marathon’s finish line, where outfielder Jonny Gomes draped a “Boston Strong” jersey over the World Series trophy.
Lucchino, the Red Sox president since 2001, majored in history at Princeton and played basketball for two Ivy League champions, including the 1965 Final Four team. He began his career as a lawyer but moved into baseball front offices during the 1980s, first with the Baltimore Orioles and later with the San Diego Padres.
In an interview with PAW before the 2004 season, Mark F. Bernstein ’83 asked Lucchino if ’04 was going to be “the year” for the hard-luck Sox. “I refuse to believe that, let alone suggest it to someone else,” he said, adding that his answer was typical for “a superstitious baseball executive.” Six months later, Boston hoisted its first trophy since 1918.
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