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In memoriam: James Skeffington

Pawtucket Red SoxSome sad news to pass along: Pawtucket Red Sox (Class AAA; International League) President James Skeffington passed away Sunday while jogging near his Barrington, R.I. home. He was 73.

Skeffington, part of the group buying the PawSox in 2014 and working on a move of the team to a new Providence ballpark, was an attorney who had previously worked with the Boston Red Sox on real-estate and ballpark matters, including the lease to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.

Here’s a statement from the team:

Jim was an extremely loyal and charitable man who, in his all too brief time with the PawSox, relished his new role as club president. He enjoyed learning all he could about the PawSox operation and meeting fans, staff, and players.

Jim was committed to keeping the PawSox in Rhode Island and sharing his vision for a new ballpark. He was a true Rhode Islander who was devoted to his family and the entire community at large.

Our condolences go out to Jim’s family and his many friends.

Politics being what they are in Rhode Island, discussions immediately turned to the viability of a proposed Providence ballpark, a proposal not met with warm and fuzzy feelings in state-government corridors. From the Boston Globe:

Nicholas Mattiello, speaker of the Rhode Island House, said in a statement that Skeffington’s death cast some uncertainty over negotiations.

“Obviously, with the tragic passing of Jim Skeffington, the dynamic has changed,” Mattiello said. “We’ll have to see if the owners of the team want to continue to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island the way that Jim did.”

Such talk is perhaps a little inappropriate given the fact Skeffington passed away just a few days ago. So let’s give Larry Lucchino, president/CEO of the Boston Red Sox and chairman of the PawSox, the final word:

“All of us with the Boston Red Sox and the Pawtucket Red Sox have suffered an enormous loss, both personally and professionally. We have lost a close and loyal friend, a great business partner and a veritable Rhode Island institution.

“Skeff was passionately devoted to his home state, a land he loved with all his heart. He loved virtually every sport he encountered, especially baseball, and he seemed to attend every sporting event he could. He was deeply committed to the PawSox and to ensuring a bright future for the franchise in Rhode Island. We will miss his spirit, his optimism and his joviality. We will miss his knowledge, his intellect and his wisdom.

“On a personal level, I will miss a good and decent man who for many years has been a dear friend to me. I could always rely on his candor, camaraderie and compassion. He may have been the most generous person I have ever known; there was never a check he wouldn’t grab; there was never a worthy charitable cause he would not support.”

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