Buddy LeRoux: 1930-2008

Buddy LeRoux, the former owner of the Red Sox who may have done more than anyone to ensure another decade-plus of futility, died yesterday.

Sportswriters now have the tricky task of being respectful to the deceased while recognizing the historical truth that his incompetence as vice president and owner led to any number of travesties in the late 1970s and early 1980s — not least of which was staging an attempted takeover of the club on Tony Conigliaro Night, while the former slugger was in a coma.

Or, with Haywood Sullivan, the mailing of Carlton Fisk’s contract a day late.

Or, before that, attempting to dump Fisk, Fred Lynn and Rick Burleson in a fire sale.

“Buddy was very friendly, very outgoing,” said Lou Gorman, general manager for the Red Sox from 1964 to 1984. “I think his legacy will be there forever in the Red Sox organization.”

Farewell, then, to Buddy LeRoux — whose legacy is being one in a long line of bad Red Sox owners and, as such, another perpetrator of the "curse" of bad management that haunted the Sox for 86 years.

10 comments… add one
  • Instead of faulting the man for a few things he did wrong while part owner of the red sox,wondering how people will be “tactful” when writing about him – why not recognize ALL the good that he did which was more than any of those who will write about him can say they have done. That I can assure you. The man was generous to a fault, cared deeply about those close to him, was a BRILLIANT business man regardless of the ups and downs that came his way and was a pioneer in the physical therapy industry. Rest assured that the physical therapy industry would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for Buddy LeRoux. I worked for Buddy for a few years while a senior in high school and the year following my graduation, and to this day, 14 years later, I still continue to receive Christmas cards from him as does my Mother. He was an amazing person, shrewd business man, loving father, husband and one of the most honorable, decent and caring individuals i’ve ever met and probably ever will. So think of THAT when you write about him.

    laureen wilkins January 9, 2008, 12:45 pm
  • Unfortunately, that is only part of the story. All accounts describe him as a terrific trainer, yes. But as an owner and manager, his loyalty was to the bottom line at the expense of the ballclub, and it had disastrous effects on the Red Sox in the early 1980s.
    I know nothing about the man’s character, so I’m not going to comment on it. But the 1983 Tony Coniglaro Day takeover bid was classless, and was described that way by far more knowledgeable writers than me.

    Paul SF January 9, 2008, 1:53 pm
  • I agree that it was, and never said it wasn’t. We’ve all made mistakes – at the same tolken, he accomplished quite a lot in his lifetime and did a lot of good for many a people. Certainly far MORE good than any bad and it’s all common knowledge. While most may not want to focus on that, it should at LEAST be included and acknowledged. I think not including that is classless.

    laureen wilkins January 9, 2008, 3:45 pm
  • Laureen –
    Paul’s comments and analysis are based on what the man did in public alone, most specifically to the team that this site is half dedicated to. He does not know him personally like you do and thus has no idea if he sent your mom a christmas card every year. I am a yankee fan and my limited knowledge of the man jibes with Paul’s description. His public actions regarding the red sox speak for themselves and are the most pertinent for conversation on this site. Accusing the author of being classless and willfully overlooking a part of the man’s life he has no knowledge of is totally unfair.

    sam-YF January 9, 2008, 3:58 pm
  • This site being a “baseball” site does not mean that the writer should or has to forgoe mentioning something other than his leadership or lack their of, of the red sox. You talk about my knowledge of his “public” persona? It’s quite common and public knowledge that he started the first rehabilitation hospital in this country and is the reason that phsyical rehab is what it is today – that was an enormous part of his history and well known, yet completely omitted here. Do a google search, you’ll find plenty of non baseball as well as baseball related sites that manage to list both sides of his story whether brief or detailed. To not do that, is classless and i’m certainly entitled to my opinion. That my friend, has nothing to do with a Christmas card being sent. I’m sure the writer is a fine person and I have nothing against him personally, I just wish that he was a little more fair, but hey, that seems to be how the media is these days. No need to respond, I won’t be back. I really have no use for this site but felt that people out there should know that while Buddy certainly made some poor choices and did something i’m sure he regretted and that I disagree with myself, the other 95% of his life certainly well made up for it.

    laureen wilkins January 9, 2008, 4:24 pm
  • thanks for letting us know the other side of buddy, laureen. being a baseball centric site we tend to view things through a baseball driven perspective. it was eric gagnes birthday 2 days ago and not a word was said here. it’s not because he’s a bad person, it’s because he was a bad red sock.

    sf rod January 9, 2008, 4:35 pm
  • I did a Google search for Buddy LeRoux in compiling this story, and the only two non-death-related stories were highly critical of his administration, including the Gammons piece to which I linked.
    LeRoux’s founding of the rehab hospital, while admirable and likely affecting Red Sox players to some extent over the years, does not have as much to do with the subject matter of this site as his masnagement of the Red Sox. I don’t think his death should cause us to gloss over what was in truth a dark chapter of Red Sox history — for which he was very much responsible.

    Paul SF January 9, 2008, 4:39 pm
  • But I do appreciate your comments, Laureen. It is unfortunate that those in the public eye cannot always be seen by the public the way their friends and family see them. Thanks for providing some of that perspective here.

    Paul SF January 9, 2008, 4:40 pm
  • I will say this for Messuir Buddy LeRoux…
    Is there any story on the Boston sports scene that can match the meteoric rise and lightning rod tenure of LeRoux in the pantheon of Boston sports?
    I mean, the guy was a Celtics trainer… at a time when the NBA was about as relevant on the American sports scene as the WNBA is today, and he nearly gained sole control of the Red Sox.
    At the very least, LeRoux was a man who obviously made very good investments and, his stewardship of the Red Sox aside, Buddy LeRoux lived the American dream.
    Having said that…
    Laureen, there may well be people still alive who have nothing but fond remembrances of Charlie Manson.
    Not that Buddy LeRoux was in the same category as Manson, but regargless of your fond remembrances, Buddy will never be seen as anything but a disaster for die hard Red Sox fans. Aside from the horror of LeCoup LeRoux, the one lasting indefensible action LeRoux presided over, for me, was the loss, through incompetence, of Carlton Fisk.
    Pudge Fisk is arguably the most beloved catcher in Red Sox history. If anyone doesn’t believe that Fisk’s loss is the biggest travesty the Red Sox organization has ever perpetrated on it’s fans, I submit to you that at least Harry Frazee got $100,000 and a $350,000 loan from the Yankees for Babe Ruth!
    If there was ever a time in my life that my loyalty to the Red Sox wavered it was during that dark chapter in Red Sox history.
    Carlton Fisk deserved to be, and should have remained, a member of the Red Sox his entire career, but he spent more than half of his playing days in a White Sox uniform (expressions of disgust here) and despite the fact that, in his latter years with the White Sox, Pudge became a feared home run hitter and a true icon of the game, despite the fact that Fisk’s number was retired by the White Sox, Carlton Fisk upon induction into the Hall of Fame, chose a Red Sox cap for his bust at Cooperstown.
    In the end, we here in this forum can not pretend to judge Buddy LeRoux the man, nor do I think has anyone attempted to do so. But with certainty we can say that the vast majority consider Buddy LeRoux as a very black mark in Red Sox history.
    Smart, kind, considerate, a brilliant businessman he may have been, beloved of Red Sox fans? That he will never be.
    In the end I prefer to remember Buddy LeRoux in the best possible way, by seeing him in my mind’s eye on the sideline in Celtics green, jumping up from the bench to administer to the players of Red Auerbach’s
    Celtics Dynamo.

    Brian January 11, 2008, 11:48 am
  • I totally agree with Laureen Wilkins. Frankly, if all you did to know something more about Buddy LeRoux was doing a Google search, I guess you should second guess yourself if that’s the best way to write a story, SF. I am a Celtics fan and over the years I have read and heard many anecdotes about LeRoux which depicted him as a nice human being. Your article instead pictured him just as a Lord of Futility, and if all you wanted to do was to bash a man because of his Red Sox management shortcomings, ok, you have reached your goal.
    But your perspective didn’t add anything new to what is already common knowledge.
    Using some class wouldn’t be bad, especially when you are dealing with the dead. Nobody says you should not tell the truth about a man just because he passed, but a good article grants a birdseye on a life, a complete view, not just a partial point of view. And a research which goes deeper than a mere Google search.

    Legend January 23, 2008, 3:58 am

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