- Gordon Edes, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Longtime baseball executive and former Boston Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman died Friday. He was 82.
Nephew Tom Dougherty says Gorman died early Friday and was surrounded by family at Massachusetts General Hospital after an illness of almost a year.
"All he wanted to do was make it to Opening Day," Dougherty said.
The Red Sox opened against the Rangers Friday afternoon in Texas.
Gorman was general manager of the Red Sox from 1984 to 1993, constructing three playoff teams in that span, including the 1986 squad that reached the World Series. The Red Sox came within an out of winning but ultimately lost that series to the New York Mets, a team that Gorman actually helped to build as a member of the front office from 1980 until he went to Boston.
"Lou Gorman was a legendary figure in the game of baseball," Red Sox owner John W. Henry said in a statement.
Henry recounted Gorman's service to the game and to his country as a naval man who did two tours in Korea.
"Above all else, Lou Gorman was a profoundly decent man who always had a kind word and an optimist's perspective," Henry said. "His warm spirit and fundamental goodness will be greatly missed."
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said: "I will deeply miss sitting and watching Red Sox home games with Lou, learning from his wisdom and character. They just don't make them like Lou Gorman. That is not a cliché; it is a historical fact."
Gorman also was the first general manager of the expansion Seattle Mariners (1977-80).
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig also issued a statement on Gorman's death.
"I had a wonderful friendship with Lou Gorman, a great gentleman, for decades," the statement reads. "A Navy man who became a baseball man, Lou guided the front office of the Seattle Mariners from their inception and later helped build the farm system of the New York Mets in the early '80s. The native New Englander then led the 'Olde Towne Team,' highlighted by the 1986 American League pennant for his beloved Red Sox.
"Lou was a perpetual optimist, a wonderful storyteller, and a contributor to many outstanding baseball causes, such as the Red Sox Hall of Fame and the Baseball Assistance Team. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Lou's family and his many friends and admirers throughout the game of baseball."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.