November 17, 2016
In an impactful yet not surprising bit of news from the Major League Baseball owners meetings in Chicago today, it was announced that John Middleton has been approved as the “control person” of the Phillies.
The 61-year-old Middleton, a limited partner of the team since 1994 who holds a 48 percent stake in the franchise, takes over for chairman David Montgomery, who held the distinction since 1997. According to the press release announced the news, the control person is “accountable to Major League Baseball for the operation of the club and for its compliance with the rules of Baseball.”
“I am both thrilled and honored to assume this important position. I’m grateful that the Buck family, Major League Baseball and the other Major League clubs have confidence in my ability to lead our franchise into the future,” Middleton said in a press release. “Our fans should know that the Phillies organization is committed to restoring the Phillies to its recent dominant past. We will approach the 2017 season and the years to follow with even greater intensity and determination, knowing our fans are eager to bring a championship back to Philadelphia. We intend to accomplish that goal.”
The news isn’t surprising since the franchise has been in transition mode for the better part of the last two years. Middleton emerged from the shadows of the ownership group in the summer of 2015, when Andy MacPhail was hired to take over the team president role from Montgomery.
On the day MacPhail was hired, Middleton was present at the press conference and promised to be a more vocal presence for the franchise. (I tried to insert a link here from a story I wrote for the Philadelphia Daily News, but philly.com is not being very cooperative!)
Montgomery, meanwhile, will continue in his current role of chairman (a role he took on in January of 2015).
“David’s leadership during his tenure was certainly distinguished, and we owe him a debt of gratitude,” Middleton said. “Under his leadership, the Phillies won five consecutive division titles, two National League pennants, and the 2008 World Series championship.”