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With a new Red Sox ownership group set to take over, longtime chief executive John Harrington yesterday sent out a nostalgic goodbye letter to fans of the fabled franchise.
In a two-page letter laced with highlights from memorable past Sox seasons, Harrington tells the Fenway Faithful he believes he successfully honored the Yawkey legacy.
Harrington's letter is part of a package sent to season ticket holders. The package lays out plans for another ticket price hike at Fenway, and comes with a letter from Larry Lucchino, the incoming Sox president and chief executive.
In a boost to the new Sox ownership group, a key Major League Baseball committee yesterday approved winning Sox bidder John Henry's sale of the Florida Marlins. The $ 158 million deal includes a $ 38 million loan from MLB to Marlins buyer Jeffrey Loria, who is selling the Montreal Expos.
The closing of the Marlins sale, in turn, would clear the way for Henry to wrap up his Sox deal.
In his letter, Harrington makes a case for his hotly contested decision to sell the Olde Towne Team to Henry's group of baseball insiders.
Rejecting a $ 790 million bid by a New York corporate lawyer, and a $ 740 million offer from a New York cable tycoon, the deal faced an intense probe by Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.
Reilly charged that Harrington, by accepting a lower offer, shortchanged the myriad local Bay State charities expected to benefit from the sale of the Yawkey Trust's 53.48 percent stake in the team.
Harrington eventually cut a deal with Reilly, who has some oversight over public charities, boosting by $ 30 million the amount the deal will funnel into local charities. Though he will leave Yawkey Way sometime in mid-February, Harrington will run the newly enriched Yawkey Foundation, overseeing more than $ 400 million from the Sox sale.
"As the trustee of the Yawkey Trust, it was my responsibility to make sure that the team's sale would bring the greatest return to the Yawkey Foundation," Harrington writes. "We accomplished that, in spite of the economic downturn of this fall."
Harrington took over the Sox after Jean Yawkey's death in 1992. He ran the team as chief executive, while also serving as trustee of the Yawkey Trust. Jean's husband, the legendary and longtime team owner Tom Yawkey, bought the Sox back in the 1930s.
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