Longtime Phillies chairman David Montgomery died on Wednesday after a five-year battle with jaw-bone cancer.

Montgomery, 72, started working for the Phillies in 1971 as a sales apprentice.

He ascended rapidly through the organization and in 1997 he became president and general manager.

The lifelong Philadelphian grew up in Roxborough and attended Penn Charter before matriculating to Penn. He and his wife raised their three children in Wyndmoor.

Friends, colleagues and admirers reflect on Montgomery’s legacy:

David Montgomery greets Shane Victorino at a charity event.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
David Montgomery greets Shane Victorino at a charity event.

Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor:

David and I met when we were 20 and we’ve been friends for 55 years. I’ve known a lot of people in those 55 years given what I’ve done and he was simply the nicest person I ever knew. He wasn’t a pushover. How could be competitive as hell, but he was the nicest person I ever knew.

“He and Bill Giles made the Phillies as good a corporate citizen as there was in the city of Philadelphia. When I became mayor 25 years ago the swimming pools were all closed down. The city had no money and we went on a campaign to raise money for the pools in the private sector. David talked to [Phillies pitcher] Terry Mulholland and Terry agreed to contribute $1,000 for every win he had that year ... Terry had his best year and The Phillies double-matched it. David went all around and spoke about how important it as to give the kids something during the hot summers.

“He was a very good businessman and he was a better baseball man than people gave him credit for. Because he was on the business side if it and hadn’t played ball in the minors or majors, people didn’t think he was a baseball man. But he learned it ... He got a lot crap in the late 1990s for not getting into free-agency. But he was convinced they had a pipeline of young players in the minor leagues and he wasn’t going to sacrifice them. It turned out he was right.

“Most owners go to the stadium and if they work an hour a day, it’s a lot. He would work for 16 hours. He was always there.

"As competitive as he was, I never saw him hold a grudge or have malice toward anybody. The best thing about him was David was a nice to a vendor as he was to the commissioner of baseball.

“For me and a lot of other people, life isn’t going to be nearly as nice.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred:

“I am deeply saddened on the passing of my dear friend David Montgomery. David was a first-class representative of his hometown team, the Philadelphia Phillies, for nearly half a century. He never forgot his days as a fan at Connie Mack Stadium, and he carried those lessons to Veterans Stadium and Citizens Bank Park. David’s approach to running the franchise and serving its fans was to treat everyone like family. He set an outstanding example in Philadelphia and throughout our game. David was one of my mentors in baseball and was universally regarded as an industry expert and leader. In recent years, I marveled at his courage as he battled cancer and through it all his amazing ability to think of others. I will remember David Montgomery as a gentleman and a man of great integrity. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest sympathy to David’s wife Lyn, their children and grandchildren and the entire Phillies organization.”

Former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge:

“David was not only one of the most respected executives in baseball, he was a civic leader whose passion for his Phillies was equaled only by his love for Philadelphia and its people. We got to know David back when the Commonwealth negotiated the deal for Citizens Bank Park. At all times he was a true gentleman and a class act, and a leader who understood the need to blend business with community. Michele and I send our sympathies to David’s family and friends, and to all Phillies fans who mourn his passing.”

Brian Monihan, NBC Sports Philadelphia president:

“David was a pillar of our community and a friend. He always led by example and his impact on the sport of baseball, the Phillies and on the City of Philadelphia will be felt for a very long time.

He will be missed not just for what he did, but for who he was – a leader, a gentlemen and genuine in everything he did …

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, and the entire Phillies organization.”

Brian L. Roberts, CEO, Comcast:

“The entire Comcast family is saddened by the passing of Dave Montgomery. Dave and the Phillies were long term business partners with Comcast, including as a founding partner of Comcast SportsNet and multiple collaborative efforts among professional sports teams in Philadelphia. But more importantly, we were so proud to partner with Dave in so many civic and charitable activities in Philadelphia. Dave was in every sense of the word Mr. Philadelphia. He loved our city — and we loved him.”

Ruly Carpenter, former Phillies owner:

“From the first time I met Dave years ago, I knew that he was destined to become a top executive in the baseball world. Little did I know that he someday would be the president of the Phillies. Stephanie and I pray for Lyn and his family during this time.”

Mayor Jim Kenney:

“Dave left his mark not just on the Phillies, but on all of Philadelphia, particularly in his contributions to our city’s youth. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, his friends, and to the millions of Phillies fans who supported the team during his long tenure.”

Ed Wade, former Phillies general manager:

“David led in a collegial manner, which made everyone feel he was ‘one of us.’ Whether interacting with the commissioner of baseball, an intern in the lunch room or a fan on the street who wanted to talk about the bullpen, David listened and cared. He loved his family, he loved his city, he loved his friends and he loved his Phillies.”

Jim Thome, former Phillie:

“David Montgomery was one of the kindest and most genuine people I had the honor of knowing in the game. He treated everyone he met with the same respect, regardless of whether they worked in the front office or behind the scenes at the ballpark. He was a true gentleman and knowing him made me a better person. Andrea and I are so saddened to hear of his passing and we send our love and prayers to Lyn, his children and all who loved him.”

John Middleton, Phillies managing partner:

“David was one of Philadelphia’s most influential business and civic leaders in his generation. 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.”

Chase Utley, former Phillie:

“Dave Montgomery is one of those rare men who you can’t help but love and admire the moment you meet him. Dave’s ‘family first’ approach resonated throughout the entire Phillies organization and was, in my opinion, a huge reason for our success. The news of his passing is a tragic loss not only for anyone that knew him but for the entire city of his beloved Philadelphia. I pass along my most sincere love and thoughts to his wife Lyn and their family.”

Shane Victorino, former Phillie:

“I am beyond crushed by this news. David Montgomery gave a little boy growing up in Maui a chance to live out my dreams. He instilled hard work, dedication and passion into me and every other player who had the privilege to know him. He also showed us the importance of giving back to the community unlike anyone else I have known. He was truly one of a kind and I am blessed to have had a special man like David in my life.”

Beth Devine, executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative:

“The sadness we are feeling today at the passing of our friend and mentor David Montgomery is so very deep. As chair of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative Task Force, Dave touched the heart and soul of our organization. He was a true gentleman who embodied the Philadelphia sports family. We were constantly awed by his commitment to our mission that all children should be given the opportunity to experience the power of sport in their lives. Having lived it himself, he truly understood what a gift it was. David, we will miss you every day.”

Fran Dunphy, former Temple men’s basketball coach:

“My heart is so very heavy over the loss of one my best friends. David was the model of dignity and courage. David had a special way with people. There are no words to describe his ‘way,’ but for all who knew him, you knew what that way felt like. I’m not sure I’ve known anyone who cared more than David - about everything and everyone. We’re all better for having had him in our lives. He will be missed beyond words.”

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