BOSTON (CBS) – Portland Sea Dogs owner Daniel Burke died Wednesday morning.

More from the Red Sox press release:

“I had the honor of knowing Dan for 30 years, ever since he invited me to work with him when Capital Cities acquired the ABC network,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “I was fortunate to collaborate with him in the television industry, where his reputation was absolutely peerless in terms of his respect for quality, honesty and integrity. I know he is going to be deeply missed by anyone who had the privilege of knowing him.”

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Dan’s passing,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington. “He was an important part of the Red Sox family and I was lucky to call him a friend. His professional accomplishments are well known but those of us at the Red Sox knew him best as the caretaker of so many Portland Sea Dogs and future Red Sox big leaguers. He had a keen eye for talent and I benefitted from many hours in his box at Hadlock Field. He will be sorely missed.”

Burke, a New York native who summered in Maine, made it his goal to bring baseball back to Portland. Maine’s largest city had gone nearly 50 years without a professional team until he founded the Sea Dogs after being awarded one of two Double-A expansion franchises in 1992. Since the first Sea Dogs game on April 18, 1994, Hadlock Field served as Burke’s second home, and he enjoyed spending time with the fans he met at the ballpark as much as the games being played on the field.

Originally an affiliate of the Florida Marlins, Burke brought the Red Sox to Portland in 2003 and three years later the team delivered its first Eastern League Championship. Some of Boston’s biggest stars have come through Maine on their way to Fenway Park, including Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Jon Lester, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

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