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Montgomery honored with Buck O'Neil Award

@ToddZolecki
March 5, 2020

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies honored David Montgomery a couple of years ago when they named their indoor practice facility at Carpenter Complex as the David P. Montgomery Baseball Performance Center. Somebody asked him afterward if he felt that the Phillies honored him because he impacted so many people in

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies honored David Montgomery a couple of years ago when they named their indoor practice facility at Carpenter Complex as the David P. Montgomery Baseball Performance Center.

Somebody asked him afterward if he felt that the Phillies honored him because he impacted so many people in so many positive ways. Everybody at the Phillies seemed to love Montgomery, who died in May following a five-year battle with cancer. It did not matter if they were an executive or an intern, he tried to treat everybody equally. He tried to know everybody’s name. The way he treated them resonated.

“Look, it’s what I believe in,” Montgomery said in March 2018. “I was blessed. I had wonderful parents. They said it so much. My mother would say, ‘Treat people the way you want to be treated yourself.’ You say, well, that’s kind of trite. But the reality is, we’re all on this earth for ‘X’ number of years, God knows. Why not enjoy each other? Why not make it easier for everybody? Why make it tougher? Show people you care, that’s all.”

The National Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday announced that Montgomery is the 2020 recipient of the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. It is presented to an individual for “extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball’s positive impact on society.” He will be honored posthumously at an awards presentation during Hall of Fame weekend on July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Montgomery is the fifth winner of the Buck O’Neil Award, which was established in 2007 to honor an individual “whose efforts broadened the game’s appeal and whose character, integrity and dignity is comparable to the late O’Neil.” O’Neil was the first recipient of the award in 2008. Roland Hemond (2011), Joe Garagiola (2014) and Rachel Robinson (2017) are the other winners.

“The National Baseball Hall of Fame is so proud to honor David Montgomery’s memory with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award,” Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said in a statement. “During his life in the game, David’s integrity and dignity inspired all who knew him and worked with him. His positive impact on the baseball world will always be remembered and honored.”

Said Montgomery’s wife, Lyn: “He and Buck certainly had much in common, first and foremost their love of the game and their commitment to maintaining its integrity. David’s passion for the Negro Leagues makes this honor even more fitting. I would like to thank the Board of Directors for acknowledging David’s impact on the game during a career that spanned almost 50 years. 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.”

Montgomery served several roles with the Phillies over the years, most notably as president and CEO. He was president when the Phillies won five consecutive National League East titles from 2007-11, two National League pennants and the 2008 World Series. Off the field, Montgomery helped the Phillies raise more than $19 million for the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia, but his efforts in the community were endless and long-lasting. He worked closely with Phillies Charities, the charitable arm of the organization.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .