CLEARWATER, Fla. -- David Montgomery had a few tears in his eyes as he spoke about Dallas Green on Wednesday.
"There are very few people who were more synonymous with the Phillies than Dallas," said Montgomery, who joined the Phillies ticket office in 1971 and rose to become club president, part owner and now chairman.
"For me, growing up watching this guy pitch, and then the first time you meet him, I mean, what a presence. There's no other way to describe it. He filled the room with his presence.
"I can remember people coming back from spring training in '71, and I'm working in the ticket office, then all of a sudden you meet Dallas Green. You have to step back a little bit when you meet Dallas Green -- his size and his personality and his voice. What a thrill. And you know what? That never died."
Green, who managed the Phillies to their first World Series title in 1980, died Wednesday after a long battle with kidney disease. He was 82 (see story).
After his playing career ended, Green, an imposing man of 6-foot-5 with a square jaw, wide shoulders and booming voice, joined the Phillies player development staff and in the early 1970s helped groom one of the best collections of talent the organization has ever known. When that group of talent couldn't get over the hump and win a World Series, Green was asked by general manager Paul Owens to become manager late in the 1979 season. Owens thought that team had grown complacent and needed Green's tough, demanding in-your-face style.
"I was a contemporary of some of the players. I knew some of them," Montgomery said. "They asked, 'Why do we have this guy? We like Danny (Ozark).'
"But it turned out that Dallas was what some of them needed. We owe 1980 to that.
"I think Dallas enjoyed his size and his presence to back people away. But when you get to the core of the man, he was a lot more loveable."
Green left the Phillies in 1982. He ran the Chicago Cubs and later managed the Yankees and Mets before finding his way back to Philadelphia as a front-office man.
Forty-six of his 62 years in pro ball were spent with the Phillies.
"Thankfully he came back to us," Montgomery said. "We had the pleasure of being with him for the last 20 years."