Sea Dogs owner Burke dies at 82

Posted Oct. 26, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.
Last modified Oct. 26, 2011, at 10:21 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Dan Burke, whose retirement plan included buying the Portland Sea Dogs after retiring as president and CEO of ABC/Capital Cities Inc., has died of complications from diabetes. He was 82.

Sea Dogs General Manager Geoff Iacuessa said Burke died surrounded by family Wednesday morning at his home in Rye, N.Y.

Burke, along with Tom Murphy, built Capital Cities from a TV station in Albany, N.Y., into a giant that acquired ABC. Capital Cities/ABC was later taken over by Disney.

In 1992, two years before he retired, Burke bought an Eastern League minor league baseball franchise with a goal of providing family entertainment in the state where he spent his summers. The Portland Sea Dogs began playing at a renovated Hadlock Field in April 1994, and Kathie Lee Gifford sang the National Anthem at the first opening day for the Sea Dogs.

Burke was chairman of the team until last year, when he passed on the duties to his son, Bill Burke of Cape Elizabeth.

The Sea Dogs are the Double A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

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