David Montgomery Named Buck O’Neil Award Winner
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors has selected David Montgomery as the 2020 recipient of the John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to an individual for extraordinary efforts to enhance baseball’s positive impact on society.
Montgomery, who passed away on May 8, 2019, will be honored with the Award at the Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 25, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2020.
Montgomery becomes the fifth winner of the Buck O’Neil Award, which was established in 2007 to honor an individual whose efforts broadened the game’s appeal and whose character, integrity and dignity is comparable to the late O’Neil, who passed away in 2006 after eight decades of contributions to the game. O’Neil was honored as the first recipient of the Award in 2008. Roland Hemond (2011), Joe Garagiola (2014) and Rachel Robinson (2017) are the other previous winners of the O’Neil Award.
Montgomery became a Philadelphia icon while spending his entire career in baseball, spanning parts of five decades, devoted to the Phillies, working his way up from the sales office to become executive vice president and chief operating officer before acquiring an ownership stake in the team. He later served as president, chief executive officer and then assumed the role of chairman in January of 2015.
“The National Baseball Hall of Fame is so proud to honor David Montgomery’s memory with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “During his life in the game, David’s integrity and dignity inspired all who knew him and worked with him. His positive impact on the baseball world will always be remembered and honored.”
The Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Board of the Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at its discretion, though not more frequently than every three years. A permanent, life-size bronze statue of O’Neil is located at the Hall of Fame on the Museum’s first floor and serves as the home for the Award. The statue of O’Neil was created by nationally renowned sculptor Williams Behrends.
“What a wonderful surprise it was to receive the call from Jane Forbes Clark informing me that David has been selected as the fifth recipient of the Buck O’Neil Award,” said David’s wife Lyn Montgomery. “He and Buck certainly had much in common, first and foremost their love of the game and their commitment to maintaining its integrity. David’s passion for the Negro Leagues makes this honor even more fitting.
“I would like to thank the Board of Directors for acknowledging David’s impact on the game during a career that spanned almost 50 years. To have his life celebrated in Cooperstown, as recognition for his devotion and dedication, is an honor that would have undoubtedly moved him to tears.”
In his role as president and CEO, Montgomery became the face of the Phillies front office. Under his leadership, the team enjoyed one of the longest sustained periods of success in franchise history from 2007-11, winning five consecutive National League East titles, two NL pennants and the World Series in 2008. He also spearheaded the construction of the team's current home, Citizens Bank Park, which opened in 2004.
Montgomery advanced many community service efforts for the Phillies, including helping raise more than $19 million for the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia, the official charity of the team. Montgomery worked closely with Phillies Charities, Inc., the official charitable arm of the organization, to provide support for other nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area and in the communities of the Phillies’ minor league affiliates.
Active in a wide range of areas for Major League Baseball, Montgomery served on MLB’s Executive Council, MLB’s Business and Media Committee, MLB’s Labor Policy Committee and MLB’s Competition Committee.
The Buck O’Neil Award is open to nominations from the public to the Hall of Fame, at any time, through written submissions. The next O’Neil Award is eligible to be presented in 2023. Nominations must be received by June 30, 2022 and should detail how the proposed candidate carries O’Neil’s extraordinary traits. Letters of nomination should be submitted to: Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Only submissions received by mail will be considered.