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Minor League Baseball

New owners of Worcester Red Sox to keep team leadership in place following sale

Cedanne Rafaela played for the WooSox in 2023.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Key members of the Worcester Red Sox’ leadership team, including chairman Larry Lucchino, president Charles Steinberg, and general manager Dan Rea, will be retained, the company buying the team said on Tuesday.

Diamond Baseball Holdings officially announced it would acquire “the majority of the shares of the Worcester Red Sox,” and that the team would remain a Red Sox affiliate and continue to play at Polar Park. The Globe reported last week that a deal to sell the team had been reached.

According to an industry source, DBH paid $72.5 million for its stake.

“At 78, and after 44 years in baseball, I believe it’s time to have a succession plan, one that assures a commitment to baseball and a commitment to Worcester,” said Lucchino, who has been the principal owner of the franchise since 2015, when it played in Pawtucket, R.I. “There is no organization more committed to Minor League Baseball than Diamond Baseball Holdings.”

Lucchino, Jim Skeffington Jr., and Ralph Crowley, CEO of Polar Beverages, will remain as part of the ownership group, and Crowley will continue to play a role “on behalf of the Crowley family and the ownership group,” Diamond Baseball Holdings said in a release.

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DBH also owns the Double A Portland Sea Dogs and Single A Salem (Va.) Red Sox. The Worcester Red Sox began playing at Polar Park in 2021.

“We are thrilled to add the WooSox to the DBH family, our third Red Sox affiliate and a transformational Triple A franchise for both Minor League Baseball and the City of Worcester,” DBH executive chairman Pat Battle and CEO Peter Freund said in a release. “We are beyond excited to partner with Ralph Crowley of Polar Beverages on the purchase of the club and very grateful to Larry Lucchino, Sam Kennedy, and the entire Red Sox organization for entrusting us with this incredible franchise.”

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Diamond Baseball Holdings was founded two years ago, not long after Major League Baseball gained control of Minor League Baseball and contracted it so that each of the 30 big league teams had exactly four minor league affiliates.

Lucchino and his partners bought the franchise for approximately $25 million in 2015. Prior to the move to Worcester, the franchise played in Pawtucket from 1973-2020. The ownership group originally hoped to keep the team in Rhode Island, but no deal could be reached. The franchise moved to Worcester when Polar Park, which cost $159 million, opened its doors in 2021.

The deal must be approved by Minor League Baseball, but the sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year, DBH said.

Michael Silverman and Alex Speier of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from previous Globe stories also was used.


Matt Pepin can be reached at matt.pepin@globe.com.