ARLINGTON, Texas — Lou Gorman came along at the right time. The late Haywood Sullivan needed someone to be the front man - the guy to take the heat for ownership - and Gorman was more than willing to be that person just to be part of a Red Sox organization he'd loved growing up in Rhode Island.
Gorman, who passed away at Mass General at 1:50 a.m. at age 82, helped build the expansion Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners and he helped build the 1986 New York Mets team that caused one of the worst defeats against his Red Sox in the 1986 World Series, or it would have Gorman who would have won the first championship since 1918.
"He went on his own terms," said his nephew Tom Doughterty of West Roxbury. "He was at the hospital and he had fought and fought for so long and been through much with his health recently. He said, 'I'm done.' He just wanted to make it to Opening Day and he did. There were a lot of Red Sox people who came by to see him yesterday and he told them 'I'll see you in Heaven.' Not many people get to go on their own terms."
Doughterty said that earlier in the evening Gorman watched the NESN Red Sox preview and seemed quite content and comfortable.
He and I spoke about every two weeks. He always repeated everyone's name, "Nicholas, Nicholas, good to hear from you sir" was his salutation. He always appreciated the phone calls and he always had a few "issues" he wanted to discuss with me. I had covered him in his tenure with the Red Sox and he was one of the most easy to reach baseball executives I'd ever dealt with. He took criticism very well. He'd be mad for a moment, but then he let it go. He understood the media's role, but he always defended his position.
He was a loyal soldier who faithfully executed the wishes of his owners. He and Sullivan developed very good talent that came up and became a big part of the 1986 team.
He took heat for trading Jeff Bagwell, the "Where would we play Willie McGee?" quote and "The sun will rise, the sun will set and I'll have lunch" concerning the Roger Clemens negotiations. But what he did was spread a lot of goodwill at a time when the Sox organization needed it most.
Rest in peace Lou.