Lou Schwechheimer, a man who was a front office fixture with the Pawtucket Red Sox for over three decades, passed away Wednesday afternoon from complications related to COVID-19. He was 62.
Schwechheimer, a longtime South Kingstown resident, was looking forward to ringing in the 2020 baseball season in a new stadium in Wichita, Kansas before the pandemic struck and forced the Minor League Baseball season to be canceled. At the time of his death, he was the majority owner of the Triple Wichita Wind Surge, a club that had relocated from New Orleans.
The ownership stake he had of the New Orleans-turned-Wichita franchise was one of several of Schwechheimer’s post-PawSox ventures. He also put together group that purchased the Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League.
“There are no words to express the loss of the entire Wind Surge family,” said Jared Forma, senior vice president and general manager for the Wind Surge, in a statement. “Lou was truly one of a kind, someone who never met a stranger. He will be deeply missed by his family and many friends, which included an extended baseball family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lou’s wife and daughter at this difficult time.”
Around these parts, Schwechheimer was known as a PawSox mainstay.
Schwechheimer arrived at McCoy Stadium as a 21-year-old in 1979 and continued to call Pawtucket his place of work until the final out of the 2015 season. Under the watch of longtime owner Ben Mondor, Schwechheimer was hired as an intern before rising to the rank of general manager – a title he held for the vast majority of his tenure with the PawSox.
“The way I look at it now is that I was given the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Schwechheimer during a Sept. 2015 interview. “The trust that families with young kids, grandparents, and young couples on their first date placed in us … it was like every night was a slice of a Norman Rockwell painting. The magic was right there to the end.”
Schwechheimer was at McCoy Stadium as recently as June 2019 for his induction ceremony into the International League Hall of Fame.
“Minor League Baseball has lost a legend and a visionary,” said PawSox chairman Larry Lucchino in a statement released by the PawSox. “In all of our many years with the Red Sox, both Boston and Pawtucket, we found Lou to be so likable, so devoted to this game, and so full of friends in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and all of New England. He loved the PawSox with all his heart, and loved the achievement of restoring affiliated baseball to Wichita as well. He was so looking forward to hosting games in the new ballpark whose construction he spearheaded. This deadly virus has robbed the baseball family of one of its most dedicated souls.”
In a statement, longtime PawSox vice chairman Mike Tamburro stated, “This is the saddest of news. I feel like the PawSox helped raise him. He was more at home at McCoy Stadium than in his own home. He was here morning, noon, and night, and there were nights when he even slept here. Every member of our business community, and tens of thousands of fans, knew him by name. He had remarkable interpersonal skills.”
Schwechheimer is survived by his wife Jane and daughter Jenn.