PHILADELPHIA, PA - After a courageous five year battle against cancer, on Wednesday morning the Philadelphia Phillies announced longtime Chairman David Montgomery had passed away.
Montgomery had been with the Phillies since 1971, working in the ticket office during the day and helping operate the scoreboard at night.
It didn’t take long for him to begin proving himself, as he was soon named marketing director and then director of sales. He was promoted to executive vice president after the 1981 season when Bill Giles put together a group that purchased the team from the Carpenter family. He became chief operating officer in 1992 and remained in that position until being promoted to general partner, president and chief executive officer in 1997. “I was just blessed with opportunities,” he told the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1999. “It never felt like a job to me. I was just pursuing my passion in sports.”
Officials with the Phillies worked through a tearful press conference Wednesday morning, remembering their longtime friend, mentor, and colleague with the highest regards.
Former Phillies manager, Larry Bowa, suggested honoring Montgomery's legacy by winning the World Series this season.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement saying, “I join all Philadelphians in mourning the loss of Dave Montgomery, who helped build the Phillies into one of the preeminent sports franchises in the nation. Dave was a true local success story, a Philly native who worked his way up from the team’s sales department to become president, co-owner, and later, chairman. I had the pleasure of knowing Dave, and I know that in the past few years he fought his health battle with the same vigor and courage with which he ran the team. Dave left his mark not just on the Phillies but on all of Philadelphia, particularly in his countless contributions to our city’s youth. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, his friends and the millions of Phillies fans who supported the team during his long tenure.”
Former Temple Men's Basketball coach, Fran Dunphy, said, "My heart is so very heavy over the loss of one my best friends. David was the model of dignity and courage. David had a special way with people. There are no words to describe his ‘way,’ but for all who knew him, you knew what that way felt like. I’m not sure I’ve known anyone who cared more than David - about everything and everyone. We’re all better for having had him in our lives. He will be missed beyond words.”
Robert Manfred Jr, Commisioner of the MLB, said, “I am deeply saddened on the passing of my dear friend David Montgomery. David was a first-class representative of his hometown team, the Philadelphia Phillies, for nearly half a century. He never forgot his days as a fan at Connie Mack Stadium, and he carried those lessons to Veterans Stadium and Citizens Bank Park. David’s approach to running the franchise and serving its fans was to treat everyone like family. He set an outstanding example in Philadelphia and throughout our game. David was one of my mentors in baseball and was universally regarded as an industry expert and leader. In recent years, I marveled at his courage as he battled cancer and through it all his amazing ability to think of others. I will remember David Montgomery as a gentleman and a man of great integrity. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest sympathy to David’s wife Lyn, their children and grandchildren and the entire Phillies organization.”