All-Star Game headed to Philly in 2026

April 16th, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody other than Philadelphia could have hosted the 2026 All-Star Game. David Montgomery believed that a long time ago.

He was right.

Major League Baseball, the Phillies and the City of Philadelphia used Independence Hall as the backdrop to make the announcement on Tuesday afternoon that in seven years the best players in the National League and American League will play the Midsummer Classic at Citizens Bank Park. 2026 will be the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, making it a year-long celebration across the country.

Philly will be the epicenter of it.

“It was a really easy sell to baseball to host the game here in Philadelphia,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said. “It's the logical place.”

It will be the fifth time the city has hosted an All-Star Game. It most recently hosted at Veterans Stadium in 1996 and 1976, which was the country’s bicentennial.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, Middleton, Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler were just a few of the people who headlined the announcement. The Phillies’ Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Nola -- each a former All-Star -- attended. Former Phillies All-Stars Mike Schmidt, Jimmy Rollins, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone, John Kruk, Charlie Manuel, Dave Cash and Ricky Bottalico also attended.

But Montgomery was at the front of everybody’s minds.

Montgomery is the Phillies’ chairman and former team president. He has been continuing his courageous fight against cancer, so he could not attend Tuesday’s announcement. But Montgomery had been personally targeting the 2026 All-Star Game since 2004, when Citizens Bank Park opened. In fact, it had been an almost unspoken truth since then: whenever somebody asked when Philly would host another All-Star Game, they said 2026.

Montgomery then began pushing for MLB to make the announcement official as far back as two years ago.

“We’d been talking to David about it for a while,” Manfred said. “I think it was something that was really important to him for the city of Philadelphia. He was passionate about it. It’s not easy to do seven years out. There’s a lot of logistics that need to be handled with extra lead time. Everybody worked hard to make it happen. I think a big part of that was wanting to deliver for Dave, not just me but the Phillies organization and a lot of people in New York.

“I really don’t believe we would have made this announcement today without David being the driving force behind it. He has that quiet ability to persuade, and because he’s such a good person, he’s very difficult to say no to. It’s a tribute to his devotion to the city that he took this project on.”

Manfred has a great affinity for Montgomery, and he has been one of Montgomery’s greatest advocates.

"For the last 30 years, one of my best friends has been David Montgomery,” Manfred said. "He’s been a mentor, a friend, an adviser. I can say without hesitation, I would not be standing here as Commissioner of Baseball if it were not for him.

"When Dave started asking me a few years ago if we could announce the 2026 All-Star Game in Philadelphia, he didn’t do that for himself. He didn’t even really do it for the Phillies. He did it for the fans here in Philadelphia."

Montgomery got the job done. He got his wish.