by Clark Groome
At its 112th annual dinner, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association (PSWA) will be honoring local and national sportspersons for their varied contributions to sports.
Among this year’s honorees is Phillies chairman and Wyndmoor resident David Montgomery, 68, who will receive the Ed Snider Lifetime Distinguished Humanitarian Award at the Feb. 1 dinner being held at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.
Montgomery is being cited for what PSWA describes as his “being a catalyst behind Phillies Charities, which … last year [raised] about $2 million in grants awarded to dozens of deserving charitable organizations.”
“I don’t think of myself as a humanitarian but I do think of the team as such,” the honoree said in a recent interview.
While downplaying his role in what his team has done, Montgomery said: “I feel I’m kind of lucky [to be given this award]. I’ve gone to that dinner for so many years – probably went to my first in 1972 – [and] always sat in the audience because the dais was reserved for players and coaches and what not, so it’ll be a little bit different for me to be on the other side of the room.”
The award, he saId, is “one more manifestation of how fortunate I’ve been in life: growing up in this city, going to school here, rooting for the Phillies [after going to] my first game in 1950 or ’51.”
“I was a fan in high school and as an undergraduate and graduate student at Penn,” he said. “Here I am 45 years later working for the Phillies. Pretty fortunate; pretty lucky in life.”
One of the things that pleases Montgomery about receiving this award is that it is named after Flyers owner Ed Snider.
“I think the [connection] between the two organizations is that as we’ve both had success – in their case on the ice and for us in the late 1970s and 1980 on the field – both organizations became even more attached to doing things in the community,” he noted.
Montgomery said that the Flyers Wives Carnival was an example that the Phillies watched closely as they were setting up their early ALS functions at Veterans Stadium, the first year of which was “1988, if memory serves me.”
Montgomery modestly deflected any talk about the award being given to him, not to the team.
“More important,” he said, “it’s a recognition of our team, not of me but of our team for taking seriously that ‘Philadelphia’ is our first name and we should be good corporate citizens.”
He is also pleased that the award is coming from the Philadelphia sports writers, a group with whom he has established a mutual respect over the years.
“To do a job in sports you have to recognize the responsibility to cooperate with those who cover you,” he said. “I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to understand what it’s like to be a Philadelphia sports fan. I am one and have always thought that we should do everything we could to cooperate with the media, [which is] the link to your fan base. You have to have credibility. Then there’s mutual respect. It’s not that hard. It really isn’t.”
Other honorees at the Feb. 1 event will be Eagles broadcaster Merrill Reese, the inaugural winner of the Bill Campbell Broadcast Award; Flyers winger Jake Voracek (Outstanding Philadelphia Pro Athlete); Larry Holmes (Living Legend) and United States women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd. The name of the year’s Most Courageous Athlete will be announced at the end of the evening.
Emceed by CSN and WIP’s Michael Barkann, the banquet will also feature comic Joe Conklin.
The event is open to the public. Tickets are $95 and can be purchased by visiting www.pswadinner.com.