FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Former Florida Marlins owner John Henry and his partners completed their record $660 million purchase of the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, ending seven decades of ownership by the Yawkey family and its trust.
The closing of the deal, which probably will lead to the ouster of general manager Dan Duquette, marked the end of an era that saw a downtrodden team grow into one of the premier franchises in sports but fail in its quest to win the World Series for the first time since 1918. It also closed an often contentious 16-month sale process.
''It seemed like a good baseball game,'' Henry said of the process. ''It was always in doubt up until the end.''
Henry and incoming team president Larry Lucchino refused to outline personnel changes until after the sale was completed.
Duquette was expected to be the first to go, a move that could come this week. The Henry group has done little to dampen speculation that Duquette will be replaced, perhaps by vice president of baseball operations Mike Port on an interim bases.
Duquette said Wednesday he expected to be part of the team.
Lucchino has said he doesn't anticipate wholesale changes immediately.
''Today is a day for celebration,'' Lucchino said. ''We've been waiting a long time to celebrate. ... We'll get to work tomorrow.''
''These guys, I think, are going to be hands on,'' former Red Sox outfielder Dwight Evans, now the hitting coach, said Wednesday. ''They're going to be in the clubhouse. They're going to be in there after the game and before the game, which will be good.''
The purchase also includes 80 percent of the New England Sports Network plus $40 million in assumed debt. The price more than doubled the previous record for a baseball franchise -- the $323 million paid by Larry Dolan for the Cleveland Indians in 2000.
The Red Sox announced the agreement with Henry's group on Dec. 20, but the deal was held up as losing bidders tried to restart the auction and Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly investigated whether the Jean R. Yawkey Trust, which owned 53 percent of the team, would receive fair value.
Reilly later withdrew his objections and major league baseball owners approved the deal on Jan. 16 by a vote of 29-0 with one abstention, the New York Yankees.
Henry has an agreement to sell his 1 percent of the Yankees to the New York Yankees Partnership for between $4 million and $5 million, a pair of high-ranking baseball officials familiar with the transaction said on the condition of anonymity.
Lucchino and Tom Werner, another Henry partner, also had to reach agreements to divest themselves of their interest in the San Diego Padres before the closing could take place.
Thomas Yawkey bought the Red Sox from J.A. Robert Quinn in 1933 and when Thomas Yawkey died in 1976, his wife took over.
When Jean Yawkey died, she willed all her holdings to her trust, giving John Harrington, her longtime adviser, power to run the team.
''I'm proud to have been part of the Yawkey baseball era, and I think Tom and Jean would be pleased to see their team passing on to a group with outstanding baseball experience, a passion for the game, and a commitment to our community,'' Harrington said in a statement.
Wednesday's sale completed an unprecedented musical chairs among baseball owners. On Feb. 16, Henry sold the Marlins for $158.5 million to Jeffrey Loria, who sold the Montreal Expos to the other 29 major league teams for $120 million.
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