Phillies employees, former players, fans remember life of David Montgomery

Mike DeNardo
June 06, 2019 - 6:46 pm
Phillies employees, fans and current and former players gathered at Citizens Bank Park Thursday afternoon to remember team chairman David Montgomery, who died in May at the age of 72.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Phillies employees, fans and current and former players gathered at Citizens Bank Park Thursday afternoon to remember team chairman David Montgomery, who died last month at the age of 72. 

The same words kept coming up when people described David Montgomery: Gracious. Humble. Honest. Decent.  

The Phillies family that Montgomery created came together to celebrate his life.  

Related: David Montgomery dies at 72; Phillies lose a 'big piece of our heart'

Fan George Class of Horsham recalled meeting him at an annual barbecue.

"The following year after getting a picture with him I showed up the next year with the picture. And sure enough, there was Dave Montgomery. And his response was, 'Boy, I'm glad I'm not wearing the same shirt!' I mean, what a gentleman," Class said.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred recalled speaking to Montgomery after getting complaints about rowdy Phillies fans during the 2008 World Series.

"Dave absolutely refused to accept the possibility that his fans might be out of line. In fact, he dismissed me quickly, suggesting that the Tampa fans were just too sensitive," he said.

Several members of that championship team attended the service, including Jamie Moyer, Manager Charlie Manuel and Ryan Howard.

"That's pretty interesting, David saying they might be too sensitive. That was a great time, and that's just David. I mean, he believed in Philadelphia. He believed in the organization, he believed in the fans.  And it doesn't surprise me at all," Howard said.

The story of how David Montgomery started with the Phillies by selling season tickets has often been told. But few may know that in 1971, Phils infielder Larry Bowa worked an offseason alongside Montgomery in the ticket office.  

But at the ballpark memorial service, Bowa recalled that Montgomery had way more success. 

"I said, 'Dave, I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but you're on the phone for ten or eleven minutes. I'm ten or eleven seconds! He says, 'Bo, you gotta talk a little softer to them. Let them know that it's a young team, all these kids are coming up. We're gonna be good,'" Bowa said.

In the last year of the Vet in 2003, Theresa Deck remembers Montgomery helping her find her way on her first day at work.

"I wanted to make sure that I was headed in the right direction, and Mr. Montgomery was walking up alongside of me. And I stopped and looked around a minute, and he said, 'Hi, I'm Mr. Montgomery,'" she recalled.

And the family feeling Montgomery fostered even extended to the players.  Jimmy Rollins remembered, his parents taking a liking to Montgomery.

"In 2008 when we won the World Series, I wasn't there but David was dancing with my mother. She came back and was like, 'that David's a terrific dancer,'" Rollins said. 

The ceremony ended with a video that included scenes of Montgomery with Phillies legends passed including Dallas Green, Darren Daulton and Harry Kalas, to a Hooters song entitled "Heaven Laughs."