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R.I.P. Ben Mondor, Pawtucket Red Sox owner

Posted by Joshua Kummins on October 4, 2010

It is the end of an era for the Pawtucket Red Sox today, as the club and the baseball community mourn in the passing of beloved owner, Ben Mondor. Ben passed away peacefully on Sunday evening at his home in Warwick Neck, RI at the age of 85.

Our condolences go out to his family, friends, president Mike Tamburro and the PawSox organization, and the state of Rhode Island and anybody associated with this great man.

A statement from the Boston Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox join baseball lovers everywhere in mourning the loss of Pawtucket Red Sox Owner and Red Sox Hall of Famer Ben Mondor. The club extends its deepest condolences to his beloved wife Madeleine, his family, and his extended PawSox family and friends.

“Ben was a giant among men who saved baseball for the State of Rhode Island. On both a personal and professional level, I am saddened to hear of his passing,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He was a good friend of many years and was one of the finest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. When we honored him on ‘Ben Mondor Day’ at Fenway Park in 2004, the sheer number of people who came to join us in the celebrations showed the profound impact that his life had on the game and on the lives of people. His generosity, kindness and compassion will be missed, but what a life he led.”

“Ben Mondor was a legend and made innumerable contributions to the Boston Red Sox, which directly contributed to two World Series Championships,” said Red Sox Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein. “Through Ben’s foresight and determination, he transformed the PawSox into one of the best Triple-A franchises in the country. He played a significant role in developing hundreds of Major League players many of whom contributed immensely to the success of the Boston Red Sox. He treated the players like his own family and his devotion to their development was absolute. We will miss him.”

When Ben Mondor took over the reins of the “Rhode Island” Red Sox in 1977, the franchise was on the brink of bankruptcy and losing its association from professional baseball. A struggling franchise was transformed into one of the most successful Triple-A ballclubs because of his vision, business acumen and dedication, and thanks to him Rhode Islanders have enjoyed the best of baseball and family entertainment.

Ben nurtured the careers of almost 500 Major Leaguers. He transformed beautiful McCoy Stadium from an aging 1942 relic into the “building of dreams” after an extensive renovation in 1999. But Ben was always devoted to his fans and kept baseball affordable for families in Rhode Island, and beyond, during his 33 year tenure.

Ben was a warm and generous man who was loved in the community and well known for his benevolence and philanthropy. Hundreds of non-profit groups and charities benefited from the big heart of a baseball giant.

A statement from Minor League Baseball, regarding the death of Mondor and former International League president Harold Cooper:

“Our game has lost two icons with the recent passing of Ben Mondor and Harold Cooper.  These two men were architects of the modern Minor League Baseball era.  Their tireless efforts in Minor League Baseball are no more evident than the fact they sustained Minor League Baseball through some of our roughest years and completed the task of returning it to the limelight it richly deserves.

Ben Mondor took a Pawtucket franchise from the depths of bankruptcy and led it to prominence in Minor League Baseball’s highest classification.  Ben was recognized by every major industry publication for his executive and ownership successes.  More telling is the love affair Ben had with his team, fans and front office staff.  From first-class operations to a major renovation of McCoy Stadium, Ben handled his ownership with dignity, respect and responsibility.  His gentle, but steady, hand will always be present in the workings of the Pawtucket franchise.  Seldom are we privileged to associate with the likes of Ben Mondor. 

In many respects, Harold Cooper was professional baseball in Columbus, Ohio.  Harold rose from the ranks of a clubhouse attendant to General Manager of the Columbus franchise.  His fierce style and competitive nature made him a giant in our industry.  Harold served our game in many positions, and in many ways.  His knowledge of baseball’s inner workings was rarely matched, and his reputation in the game seldom equaled.  As a childhood fan of the Columbus team, I personally benefitted from Harold’s involvement in the game.  As an organization, we owe him a debt of gratitude.  He will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out their families, friends and colleagues.”

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