PHILADELPHIA -- The highest honor for any Phillies employee was handed out before Sunday afternoon's season finale. It's an award that's been a part of the organization for two decades. This year, though, the recognition carried some extra meaning.After 20 years of honoring someone who demonstrates the same qualities as
PHILADELPHIA -- The highest honor for any Phillies employee was handed out before Sunday afternoon's season finale. It's an award that's been a part of the organization for two decades. This year, though, the recognition carried some extra meaning.
After 20 years of honoring someone who demonstrates the same qualities as the award's namesake, the Richie Ashburn Special Achievement Award added another Phillies legend to its official title to be renamed the Richie Ashburn & David Montgomery Special Achievement Award.
"During their combined 95 years with the Phillies, Richie and David are undoubtedly the two most significant figures in club history who have exhibited loyalty, dedication and passion for the game," said the team's executive vice president, Dave Buck, in a statement. "Because of these commonalities, Richie and David became very good friends. I have no doubt that Richie is smiling down, knowing that the award now bears his special friend's name as well."
Montgomery, now in his 48th season with the Phillies, has served as chairman since 2015. He joined the organization in 1971 as a ticket salesman, then worked his way up to team president by '97. He too has embodied the spirit of what the award means. Ashburn's family knows that as well as anyone.
"As a family, we've been fortunate to know David for all of his 48 years with the Phillies. Every time you see David, you're always greeted with a smile," said John Ashburn, Richie's son, in a statement. "There are some commonalities that David and our father shared -- the love of the game, love of the people they work with, love of the organization and love of the greatest fans in the country. On behalf of our father, it's a great honor to have David Montgomery's name forever attached to this award."
Jean Ashburn, daughter of the Hall of Fame outfielder and broadcaster, joined Montgomery on the field at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday to present the first edition of the renamed award to director of Minor League operations Lee McDaniel, who is in his 23rd year with the organization.
During the ceremony, McDaniel gathered on the field to celebrate such an esteemed accomplishment with his wife Lisa, daughter Riley and son Jason, as well as several past recipients of the award.
"Lee attributes how he conducts business to what he has learned from David over the years which explains, in part, why he is so deserving of this award," Phillies president Andy MacPhail said in a statement. "Aside from his level of professionalism, Lee's love of the game and his career accomplishments in player development, his instrumental role in establishing the academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, and his tireless work during the Florida Instructional League and Spring Training are just a few highlights of why Lee is such a worthy recipient."
Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.