Montgomery Takes Leave, Gillick Assumes Control

Pat Gillick, left, along with David Montgomery, right, survey Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 in Philadelphia. Gillick just replaced Ed Wade, who was fired after failing to get the team into the playoffs during eight years on the job. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

Pat Gillick, left, along with David Montgomery, right, survey Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

The Phillies made a surprising announcement this afternoon when they revealed general partner and president David Montgomery is taking an immediate medical leave of absence while he recovers from jaw cancer surgery.

Pat Gillick has assumed Montgomery’s responsibilities.

Gillick, who served as the organization’s general manager form 2005-08 and continued to work as a senior advisor, issued a statement that said, “I have the highest regard for David Montgomery, as does everyone in our industry. I am glad to be of assistance to the Phillies.”

The team added in its statement: “The club looks forward to David returning to his roles as General Partner, President and Chief Executive Officer when he is fully recovered.”

Montgomery, 68, had surgery May 19 to remove cancer form his right jaw bone. He had been undergoing treatment following the surgery. Montgomery has kept a low profile since, although he was first in line Wednesday to shake hands on the field with the Taney Little League team during a pregame ceremony at Citizens Bank Park.

Montgomery had been unavailable to reporters in recent weeks, although he spoke to a fan group last week at the ballpark. He also recently made the team’s road trip to Washington before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Montgomery has been the public face of the Phillies’ ownership group since 1997, when he became president. He started in the organization in 1971, when he sold season and group tickets. He advanced to marketing director and director of sales before becoming executive vice president following the 1981 season.

He became chief operating officer in 1992. He acquired an ownership interest in the team in 1994.

Montgomery is very popular with his employees. Former players often cite the organization’s “family atmosphere” and it is something that starts with Montgomery, who makes a point to know everybody in the organization, regardless of their stature or importance.


Heard him talk on the air with KYW Radio’s Harry Donahue last week when Harry retired. It was clear by the slurred speech he was a long way from being recuperated, physically. He’s not going to give up his partnership interest, but he should permanently drop the operating duties. Let Gillick fire Roob (a Hall-of-Famer cn take the blame easily), and oversee the search for a new Pres and GM.

My best wishes for Monty’s recovery but this seems like a precursor to a graceful way to slide him out of the present job to make room for a new leader. I’d rather have Gillick look for Amaro’s replacement and oversee the deconstruction of the front office, starting with many of the scouts, talent evaluators and minor league staff.

The first thing Pat Gillick should do is tell Sandberg to give Darin Ruf a fair chance to be an everyday left fielder. Dom Brown digs a bigger hole for himself every time he plays out there.

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Seems odd that 3 months AFTER surgery he’s decided to take a leave of absence. Perhaps it didn’t go well and he’s knocking on heaven’s door.

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