David Montgomery

Phillies' surprise honor for David Montgomery

photo-miles-kennedy-david-montgomery-phillies.jpg
Photo: Miles Kennedy

Phillies' surprise honor for David Montgomery

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies officials were conducting a meeting Thursday morning on the executive level of Spectrum Field to discuss plans for an expansion to the minor-league complex.

Just before 9:30 a.m., Dave Buck, the club's executive vice president, asked the group to take a walk over to the complex to look at some of the proposed changes.

It was all a ruse, a little ploy to lure David Montgomery to the other side and to an honor that left even the hardest of baseball men with a tear welling behind their sunglasses.

The Phillies named their indoor training facility in honor of Montgomery in a moving 30-minute ceremony that was attended by ownership, front office officials, many of the team's scouts and every player — including 175 minor leaguers — coach and manager in the organization.

Montgomery, who became club chairman in 2015, knew something was up when he saw the players assembled in uniform in the bullpen at the minor-league complex.

"I saw Odubel (Herrera) standing over there and thought, 'He's at the wrong field,' " Montgomery said after the event. "The next thing I know, Dave Buck is pushing me into the middle of this.

"I was stunned. I'm overwhelmed by what the organization has done."

Montgomery joined the Phillies' sales department in 1971 and eventually rose to club president in 1997. His contributions include a lucrative television deal, Citizens Bank Park and the 2008 World Series title. 

His love for the Phillies started way before that.

"My first memory is going to Connie Mack Stadium when I was about five," Montgomery said. "We had linoleum in our porch in the back in our house in Roxborough. I used to try and slide on the linoleum the way Richie Ashburn would slide into the bases. Then at age 24, I'm literally working with and sitting next to Richie in a cubicle at Veterans Stadium.

"I've just been so fortunate. I've had the opportunity to work for the team I rooted for in the city I've lived in and loved my entire life."

John Middleton, the team's managing partner, spoke during the ceremony. He described Montgomery as "a baseball man" and told the players that the state of the art facilities that they work and train in were the result of Montgomery's vision and commitment to player development. The Carpenter Complex minor-league facility has grown substantially since it was first planned and brought to life in the late 1960s by the late Paul Owens, the legendary Phillies executive for whom the entire complex is named.

Lifelong Phillies Roly deArmas and Larry Bowa spoke from the heart about how Montgomery always put respecting others first.

"David, you are the Phillie Way," Bowa said.

A banner emblazoned with the words David P. Montgomery Baseball Performance Center was unfurled. Montgomery looked at it with a tear in his eye.

"It's not about structures, though I couldn't be more honored," he said.

"It's about people."

David Montgomery and John Middleton share memories of Roy Halladay

David Montgomery and John Middleton share memories of Roy Halladay

A great dad, teammate and pitcher was lost Tuesday.

The baseball community is mourning the loss of 16-year veteran Roy Halladay, who died in a plane crash Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico at the age of 40 (see story).

Across Major League Baseball, players shared their feelings about the former Blue Jays and Phillies star (see story).

Phillies managing partner John Middleton and chairman David Montgomery also talked about their memories of Halladay during his four years in Philadelphia, painting a picture of a selfless, diligent man.

Montgomery on the widespread impact of Halladay's death
“This is his family’s loss first but it is the Phillies' and baseball’s loss as well. All-Star pitcher, All-Star person and All-Star father and family man we lost today.”

Halladay was the father to two children, Ryan and Braden, with his wife, Brandy (see story). He enjoyed bringing his kids to the ballpark in the later stages of his tenure with the Phillies (see story)

Montgomery on Halladay the teammate
"It didn’t take long to prove his worth [in 2010], obviously. I have been hanging around here a long time, those two years of pitching (2010-11) were almost beyond description. It reminds me of one other thing when you mention team. Following that perfect game, he agonized over how to include his teammates in the perfect game. The reality is, it was Roy’s statement that it wasn’t about me and it was about us and what we accomplish and not what one accomplishes.”

Halladay often praised his catcher, Carlos Ruiz, for calling great games, especially following Halladay's perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010, and his no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 6, 2010 against the Reds.

Middleton on Halladay the teammate
"What people remember about Roy is what a great human being he was. Great husband, great father, great friend, and ultimately a great teammate. But he was a great teammate because he was a great person."

Halladay dedicated himself to charity work off the field, including hunger relief and animal rescue organizations. In September, he traveled to Alabama to save two puppies whose ears were cut off.

Many of Halladay's former teammates remembered "Doc" on social media following the news of his death (see story)

Montgomery on Halladay's humility and work ethic
“I’ll never forget Kyle Kendrick saying to me if I knew how early Roy got here. As a result of that, he set the bar not by saying this is what you have to do but this is what you should do. In many ways, maybe his humility came from the fact that he went down to the minors after early success. Oftentimes, we say in this game that you learn how to succeed by failing and coming back from that. Maybe that is why he spent so much time with Harvey Dorfman thinking about the mental aspects of the game. Physical talent is one thing, but believing in yourself and having confidence takes you to the next level.”

Dorfman, the late sports psychologist, was an invaluable resource for Halladay, who credited Dorfman's counseling with resurrecting his career.

Middleton's message to Phillies fans
“I think you should remember that Roy was, first and foremost, a great human being, and he dedicated his life to doing the best he could for his family and his friends and his profession. And just be grateful for every moment you have, because you never know when it’s going to be taken away from you.”

Phillies raise $656,500 at Phillies Phestival in fight to strike out ALS

Phillies raise $656,500 at Phillies Phestival in fight to strike out ALS

The Phillies continued the fight to strike out ALS, raising $656,500 at the annual Phillies Phestival on Thursday.

The money raised will go to funding research, patient care and health services for those with the disease in the Greater Philadelphia area.

The Phillies have donated more than $17 million to fight the disease in the area since the event started in 1984.

"Tonight's Phillies Phestival was about making a difference for those suffering from ALS," Phillies chairman David Montgomery said in a statement released by the team. "We are extremely thankful to the countless fans and sponsors, as well as players, day of game employees and front office staff, who continuously show tremendous support for this cause."

Thousands of fans flooded the stadium to get autographs and pictures with members of the team, participate in various auctions around Citizens Bank Park, throw in the bullpen and even pose with the World Series trophy.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, and nobody has been by our side more during these four decades than the Philadelphia Phillies," Ellyn Phillips, the chapter president, said. "Just like ALS care, the Phillies Phestival is a total team effort with everybody doing their part. ALS families throughout the region and beyond are forever grateful to the Phillies organization for always going the extra mile to strike out ALS."