Phillies president addresses local luncheon

Dave Mont­gomery, pres­id­ent and CEO of the Phil­lies, re­cently ad­dressed a lunch­eon of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The event took place at the Cot­tage Green. Since then, Mont­gomery has had suc­cess­ful sur­gery to re­move can­cer from his right jaw bone.

Mont­gomery joined the Phil­lies’ sales de­part­ment in 1971. Ten years later, he was named head of the busi­ness de­part­ment. Soon after, he joined a group of busi­ness people to buy the fran­chise for $30 mil­lion, and was named ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent.

In 1997, when Bill Giles be­came chair­man, Mont­gomery was named team pres­id­ent.

“I’ve had a won­der­ful ex­per­i­ence 44 years work­ing at the same place,” he said.

Mont­gomery, who turns 68 on June 26, lis­ted Wil­lie Mays and Roberto Clem­ente as his fa­vor­ite play­ers grow­ing up.

Later, he be­came good friends with Phil­lies stars Larry Bowa, Bob Boone and Greg Luz­in­ski.

Mont­gomery re­called that Vet­er­ans Sta­di­um was a “jew­el” when it opened in 1971, adding that the in­tro­duc­tion of the Phil­lie Phanat­ic in 1978 was “one of our best de­cisions ever.”

In a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion, Mont­gomery said the new rule al­low­ing teams to chal­lenge calls has res­ul­ted in few­er con­front­a­tions between man­agers and um­pires.

“I don’t think you’ll see Earl Weaver throw­ing bases,” he said of the fiery former man­ager of the Bal­timore Ori­oles.

Mont­gomery was also asked about the de­cision to re­move Chris Wheel­er from the tele­vi­sion broad­cast booth.

“That was very dif­fi­cult,” he ac­know­ledged.

Mont­gomery ex­plained that Com­cast Sports­Net in­dic­ated a de­sire to have young­er ana­lysts, which led to the hir­ing of re­cently re­tired former Phil­lies Matt Stairs and Jam­ie Moy­er.

Late in the 2013 sea­son, Mont­gomery gave Wheel­er a “heads up” that a change would be made. He de­scribed Wheel­er, who did not play pro­fes­sion­al base­ball, as someone who learned the game from close friends Bowa and an­oth­er former Phil­lie, John Vukovich.

“We owe him a debt of thanks,” he said.

Mont­gomery was asked if the Phil­lies should have a “Chris Wheel­er Day” at Cit­izens Bank Park.

“The an­swer is yes. His an­swer is no,” he said. ••

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