By Sam Bush
For a kid who grew up in Roxborough and rose to the top of the Philly sports pantheon, this was the ultimate honor.
The city of Philadelphia has designated “David P. Montgomery Field.”
“I feel very blessed,” Phillies former president Montgomery (above right with Pat Gillick) told MLB.com. “I just hope and pray that others get the opportunity that I did. But as it has happened to me so many times in my life, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, with parents that cared.
“What hits me is how fortunate I’ve been,” Montgomery said. “You just pinch yourself and say, ‘How lucky can you be?’ I was lucky. It’s staggering. I remember throwing down a pillow and practicing sliding like Richie Ashburn in my back porch when I was 9, 10 or 11 years old. Fast forward 15 years later, and I’m working with Richie Ashburn. You can’t describe how fortunate and blessed I’ve been as far as opportunities.”
Montgomery was 10 years old in May 1957. He was one of 15 children to play for the Andorra A’s, which was one of four teams in 21st Ward Junior League Baseball. They played on Daisy Field, which community leaders built from scratch..
“My first job in baseball was when when this league expanded from four teams to eight teams,” Montgomery said. “But it’s pretty special to see the field that you played on 61 years ago still standing. This allows me to reflect. I got involved with the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative. Their goal is to give everybody in the city an opportunity to participate in something after school, those hours between the end of school and the time parents get home.
“When I reflect, I realize how important it was for me to have all of these opportunities to play ball. So many people in our city don’t have that opportunity. To make one field better is a start. But the goal is to give everybody in the city an opportunity to participate in something. But I am pleased. I am pleased because I care about the community. When I do reflect upon it, it was an amazing experience.”