Edward Guy "Buddy" LeRoux Jr. (August 17, 1930 – January 7, 2008) was an American businessman and a club owner in Major League Baseball. LeRoux, a general partner in the Boston Red Sox from 1978 through 1986, became a successful businessman after beginning his sporting career as an athletic trainer for the Boston Celtics (during their championship runs in the 1950s and 1960s), the Boston Bruins and—from 1966 through 1974—the Red Sox themselves. A native of Woburn, Massachusetts, LeRoux graduated from Woburn Memorial High School and Northeastern University and was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Led 1977 group that purchased Red Sox
Buddy LeRoux invested in real estate and a series of physical therapy and rehabilitation hospitals during the 1970s and by 1977 he was a wealthy man — wealthy enough to assemble a group of investors seeking to purchase the Red Sox from Jean Yawkey, the widow of Tom Yawkey, the team's longtime owner who had died in 1976.
With the backing of Rodgers Badgett, a Kentucky-based coal magnate, LeRoux put together a group of 30 limited partners and then recruited Red Sox vice president Haywood Sullivan, one of Mrs. Yawkey's favorites among her husband's employees, as a member of his syndicate. When the American League initially rejected the purchase in 1978, Mrs. Yawkey herself joined the LeRoux-Sullivan bid, and when the league finally approved the sale, the club had three general partners: LeRoux (in charge of business operations), Sullivan (general manager in charge of baseball operations) and Mrs. Yawkey (club president). At one point it was estimated that LeRoux and Badgett controlled 42 percent of Red Sox stock.
Rebelled against fellow general partners in 1983
But LeRoux and his limited partners grew restive when the Red Sox fell from contention, and attendance at Fenway Park and revenues fell from prior levels. Part of the club's on-field decline was due to fiscal belt-tightening and refusal to compete aggressively for veteran talent by signing free agents, although it was not clear which general partner ordered the policy. Reportedly, the LeRoux faction wanted the team run in a more "business-like" manner, while Mrs. Yawkey sought to preserve some of the philosophies of her late husband, known as a "player-friendly" owner. LeRoux was thwarted in an attempt to sell his share in the team for $20 million to Boston businessman David Mugar, and then rejected a counter-offer from Mrs. Yawkey and Sullivan.
In the event, in 1983, a season in which the team suffered its first losing campaign since 1966, the division among the ownership factions became public. On June 6, prior to a Monday night home game against the Detroit Tigers, the Red Sox planned a special benefit for stricken former star outfielder Tony Conigliaro, who had been incapacitated at age 37 by a heart attack in January 1982. Conigliaro's old teammates from the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Red Sox assembled for a pre-game ceremony, and a crowd of nearly 24,000 gathered, one of the largest gates at Fenway Park since Opening Day. Boston's television stations had crews in place to cover "Tony C Night."
But prior to the festivities, LeRoux called a press conference and announced that he and the majority of his limited partners were exercising language in their partnership agreement to overthrow Sullivan and Yawkey and take command of the club. He announced a "reorganization of internal management" and appointed himself managing general partner, while bringing in former Red Sox general manager Dick O'Connell to replace Sullivan as head of baseball operations. Boston media immediately dubbed the gambit the Coup LeRoux.
Lost legal battle to take over team
The two ousted general partners immediately filed suit against LeRoux, were granted an injunction, and then battled him in court over the next 12 months. The trial revealed unflattering details about all the principals: it was learned that LeRoux and his faction were in negotiations to buy the Cleveland Indians while still involved with the Red Sox and LeRoux' legal team heaped criticism upon the management decisions of Mrs. Yawkey and Sullivan. In early June 1984, the legal fight ended with an appeals court ruling against LeRoux. He was removed as the team's executive vice president, administration, and his allies were purged from management. In late 1985, LeRoux' limited partners were bought out. In March 1987, Mrs. Yawkey acquired LeRoux' general partnership for a reported $7 million to become majority general partner in the team.
LeRoux then largely faded from the public eye, although from 1986–89 he did own Boston's Suffolk Downs thoroughbred racetrack. By the late 1980s, he had filed assets of $100 million, "including oil wells, greyhound racing dogs and antique cars."
LeRoux died at age 77 from non-prescribed medicine given to him by a doctor in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on January 7, 2008. He was the brother of Roger LeRoux who had a son named Mark LeRoux who married Susan Delaney. Mark and Susan had two children, named Nicholas and Chris LeRoux.
- "Buddy LeRoux Heads BoSox Coup," The Associated Press, 1983-06-07
- 1983 Retrosheet: Boston Red Sox game log
- The New York Times, 1983-07-12
- The New York Times, March 31, 1987
- Amalie Benjamin (2008-01-09). "Buddy LeRoux; was part owner of Sox, real estate baron; at 77". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- "Obit: Edward "Buddy" LeRoux Jr.". Boston Herald. 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- "Obit: Edward "Buddy" LeRoux Jr.". Boston Globe. 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-09.