FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry on Tuesday morning labeled as “ridiculous” speculation published in the newspaper he owns (Boston Globe) that Sox CEO Larry Lucchino may be losing some of his influence with the club in a power struggle with limited partner Mike Gordon.
“Last year Mike Gordon was named president of Fenway Sports Group,’’ Henry said. “I read those ridiculous stories or that ridiculous story about [a potential power struggle]. Ridiculous in this sense, that there’s some sort of power struggle between Mike and Larry. I don’t think you could be further from the truth. There’s never been any, that I know of, a word spoken in that regard within ownership or by Larry. Mike is much, much, much more involved with Liverpool. He gets involved with the Red Sox in regard to financial decisions, because he has a tremendous financial mind. There’s no power struggle.’’
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy had raised the possibility that Lucchino was losing influence at the expense of Gordon. The speculation was hardly groundless. Last year, Gordon’s name does not appear in Major League publications listing the team’s officers and executives. On the team’s website Wednesday, Gordon is listed as president of the Fenway Sports Group, behind only Henry and Werner and just ahead of Lucchino.
Gordon, 49, is a Tufts University graduate who grew up in Milwaukee and has primarily worked in the financial sector, managing some of Fidelity’s large-scale mutual funds and later joining forces with Jeffrey Vinik to form Vinik Asset Management. Both Gordon and Vinik became limited partners when the Henry group bought the Red Sox in 2002, with Vinik also owning the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. When the New York Times sold their shares of the Red Sox last year, Gordon became the second-largest shareholder in Fenway Sports Group, the team’s parent company.
Along with Sox chairman Tom Werner, Gordon served on an MLB committee that recently recommended changes in pace of play, and is highly regarded by recently retired commissioner Bud Selig. Gordon first worked in baseball as a teen-ager selling concessions at County Stadium when Selig owned the Milwaukee Brewers.
“He’s like family to me,” Selig told the Sports Business Journal last fall. “He’s got a terrific perspective, and he and Tom Werner have put an immense amount of effort already into the pace-of-game issue. I think Michael has a great future in baseball, and I do hope this is the beginning of him doing more things under Rob [Manfred, the new commissioner].”
But even while Selig is lobbying for more participation from Gordon, Henry insisted that any involvement from Gordon with the Red Sox will not come at Lucchino’s expense. The Sox CEO, who is recovering from a fractured collarbone and ribs sustained in a motorcycle accident, is scheduled to be in camp, along with Werner, on Wednesday.
Henry was asked if he stands by the assertion he has made in the past that Lucchino “runs” the Red Sox.
“If you were to ask anybody in the organization, including in the offseason, that has been and remains the case,’’ Henry said. “[Lucchino] is a pedal to the metal guy. You can call him a micromanager. He’s involved in every decision. I say micromanager because Jack Welch once said that micromanaging is highly underrated as a management tool. There’s no doubt Larry is in charge and continues to be in charge. You can ask anybody in the Red Sox, I’d be surprised if anybody would doubt that, or say that.’’