Phillies Chairman David Montgomery dies at 72

Phillies Chairman David Montgomery died Wednesday following a five-year-battle with cancer. (Jeff Fusco/Philadelphia Business Journal)

Phillies Chairman David Montgomery died Wednesday following a five-year-battle with cancer. (Jeff Fusco/Philadelphia Business Journal)

This article originally appeared on Philadelphia Business Journal.

Philadelphia Phillies Chairman David P. Montgomery died Wednesday morning at the age of 72 following a five-year battle with cancer.

“David was one of Philadelphia’s most influential business and civic leaders in his generation,” said Phillies managing partner John Middleton. “For 25 years, he has been an invaluable business partner and, more importantly, an invaluable friend. He was beloved by everyone at the Phillies. Leigh and I are saddened beyond words at David’s passing and extend our love and sympathy to Lyn, his children and grandchildren.”

Montgomery’s Phillies career began in 1971 when he was hired to work in the ticket office during the day and help operate the scoreboard at night. 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 CEO in 1997.

Montgomery led the club’s move from Veterans Stadium to Citizens Bank Park in 2004. He also led the organization during its most successful period of sustained winning in franchise history, from 2007 through 2011, when the Phillies won five straight National League East titles, two pennants and the 2008 World Series championship. The team is currently valued at $1.9 billion, according to Forbes.

In August 2014, Montgomery took a leave of absence as president and CEO following his diagnosis in May of that year.  He returned as chairman in January 2015.

Montgomery remained active in that role until his passing. He attended many of the team’s 2019 spring training games in Clearwater, as well as this year’s home opener at Citizens Bank Park.

When Major League Baseball announced the Phillies would host the 2026 All-Star Game, the early disclosure was done as a favor to Montgomery, whose pushed hard to get the game and whose health was failing. At the announcement, Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. praised Montgomery as being both a mentor and friend.

“David was truly a great man,” said Giles, now the team’s Chairman Emeritus. “I have never known a person with more integrity or who truly cared so much about everyone who worked for the Phillies. He and I worked hand-in-hand for over 30 years. During that time, I saw his unparalleled love for his family, the Phillies and the team’s fans, and, of course, the City of Philadelphia  David was a big reason why the Phillies won 12 division championships, five National League championships and two World Series championships in that time. He was a fierce competitor in everything he did, including his battle to fight his illness. He will be tremendously missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

Outside of baseball, Montgomery, a Philadelphia native, served in a number of capacities at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.  At Penn, he was a trustee, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. He served on the policy board  of WXPN, the university’s member-supported radio station. He also gave much his time and effort in volunteer positions at PHL Sports, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Need in Deed, a non-profit working with children in Philadelphia public schools; the Children’s Scholarship Fund; and the Walnut Street Theatre.

He is survived by his wife, Lyn; three children, Harry, Sam and Susa; one granddaughter, Elizabeth; and two grandsons, Cameron and Will.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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