Phillies, ALS Association celebrate 30-year relationship

Partnership has raised more than $15.2 million

Phillies, ALS Association celebrate 30-year relationship

PHILADELPHIA -- David Montgomery got a little emotional Friday afternoon as he discussed the Phillies' 30-year relationship with the Philadelphia chapter of The ALS Association.

He said countless memories, faces and relationships came back to him as he spoke on stage.

"The emotion is really the commitment of so many people from our organization," he said following a luncheon at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Center City.

The Phillies and The ALS Association celebrated their relationship Friday. The luncheon included words from former Phillies pitchers Curt Schilling and Geoff Geary and current Phillies third baseman Cody Asche. Each player represented the three decades of the organization's commitment to ALS research.

"This thing just keeps living," said Montgomery, who is on a medical leave of absence as Phillies president following jaw cancer surgery this summer.

"Think about a 30-year marriage," said Jim Pinciotti, who is the executive director of the Philadelphia chapter. "Think about any kind of partnership. It's pretty incredible. It's more than just a philanthropic partnership. We are family."

The Phillies raised a record $904,732 for the ALS Association at this summer's ALS Phestival. They have raised more than $15.2 million in the past 30 years. The partnership is so big today it is hard to remember the relationship started as a Phillies wives' dinner and fashion show, raising $28,000 its first year.

"The involvement by the Phillies is fantastic," Pinciotti said.

This year has been a great year for the ALS Association. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $120 million nationally.

"There hasn't been this much awareness of ALS since Lou Gehrig gave his speech 75 years ago," Pinciotti said. "We worked diligently to get people to know about us. We've made a lot of progress in understanding the disease process. In candor, we still don't have a cause. We still don't have a cure. But there is so much stuff in the pipeline right now. … While we don't have an answer yet, I honestly believe that we will see a therapy -- some sort of pill, shot, something -- that will make this more of a chronic disease than a fatal disease in my lifetime."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.