Later in the day, Francona tried to call Lucchino and left a message with the CEO.
“I thought it was a respectful message,” said Francona. “I wasn’t emotional. I just wanted him to understand why. I didn’t want it to be a fight.”
When Lucchino returned the call, Francona started to ask if the CEO had received his message, and Lucchino snapped, “I didn’t listen to it.”
“That led us to round two,” said Francona.
“That was a bit of a blowup,” admitted Lucchino. “He was mad we hadn’t publicly identified the person who had leaked this story, and I told him how hard it was and how frustrating it had been my whole career, and you just can’t keep turning your organization upside down and expect that you’re likely to find who had done it. I never had any great success.”
Lucchino understood that Francona felt betrayed and persisted in his efforts to find the leak. But there were limits. As a Yale law student, Lucchino had worked alongside classmate Hillary Rodham on the Senate Watergate impeachment committee. Lucchino rejected the notion of conducting what he termed a “Nixonian investigation.”
“That would entail a special prosecutor and literally calling people in,” said Lucchino. “I’ve never done this, tempted as I’ve been in the past to have people come in and take a lie detector test. I’ve been frustrated enough about leaks that have been damaging to me and the organizations I’ve been with and the other people in the organization, and I know how hard it is to try to identify that person.”
Lucchino believed the primary source was someone who had already left the organization.
“The people who actually do know aren’t saying it,” said Lucchino. “So I’m not sure the responsibility falls on those of us who don’t know.”
“That’s interesting coming from someone who promised to find out,” said Francona. “Maybe this will help people understand my frustration.”
The Sox principal owner ignored multiple emails from Francona requesting cooperation for this book.
Francona’s final email to John Henry, sent in August 2012, read: “Hello John. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that after 8 years together and what I thought was mutual respect you chose not to even respond to my email. I guess I know now where I stand with you. Good luck. Tito.”
Excerpted from “FRANCONA: The Red Sox Years” by Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy. Copyright 2013 by Terry Francona. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.