Late Phillies chairman David Montgomery will be honored during the Hall of Fame induction weekend this summer.
Montgomery, who died May 8 after a five-year fight with cancer, will be honored as the fifth recipient of the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hall of Fame announced Thursday. The award will be presented on Saturday, July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y., an honor that his wife, Lyn, described as a “wonderful surprise.”
“I would like to thank the [Hall of Fame] board of directors for acknowledging David’s impact on the game during a career that spanned almost 50 years,” Montgomery said. “To have his life celebrated in Cooperstown, as recognition for his devotion and dedication, is an honor that would have undoubtedly moved him to tears.”
The Hall of Fame established the award in 2007, one year after O’Neil’s death, to pay tribute to his longstanding efforts to broaden baseball’s appeal. O’Neil, a star in the Negro Leagues before becoming an ambassador for baseball, was honored in 2008, followed by longtime executive Roland Hemond in 2011, late catcher/broadcaster Joe Garagiola in 2014, and Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel, in 2017.
“He and Buck certainly had much in common, first and foremost their love of the game and their commitment to maintaining its integrity,” Montgomery said. “David’s passion for the Negro Leagues makes this honor even more fitting.”
Born in Roxborough, David Montgomery began working for the Phillies in the ticket office in 1971 and rose to become team president in 1997. Under his leadership, the Phillies opened Citizens Bank Park and won five consecutive division titles and the 2008 World Series.
He advanced many of the team’s philanthropic and community service efforts, including its work with the ALS Association of Philadelphia. He also served on Major League Baseball’s executive council, business and media committee, labor policy committee, and competition committee.
“During his life in the game, David’s integrity and dignity inspired all who knew him and worked with him,” Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said in a statement. “His positive impact on the baseball world will always be remembered and honored.”