PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Phillies legend Larry Bowa is already carrying on David Montgomery’s legacy. Bowa gave the opening remarks at the sixth annual Tim Strain Memorial Wiffle Ball Tournament in Wissahickon Saturday morning.
The tournament took place at the David P. Montgomery Field, formerly known as Daisy Field, in honor of 18-year-old Tim Strain, who suddenly died in August 2009.
Montgomery, known for his involvement with the community, helped the tournament get started by donating wiffle ball bats.
“We lost a great human being in David Montgomery,” Bowa said. “Talking with Andrew and knowing this is the sixth annual wiffle ball tournament is something special because I’m sure David, from what I understand, he helped start this by giving the wiffle ball bats out.”
“When you’re in baseball as long as I’ve been, you’re going to hear people say, ‘Yeah, he was OK,’ or, ‘Yeah, we really liked him,’ but with David Montgomery, there was no buts,” Bowa added. “Everybody loved David Montgomery. Not only was he a great baseball man, but he gave to the community and events like this he would be proud of.”
Bowa got involved in the event after Strain’s father sent an email to the Phillies expressing interest in pairing the tournament with honoring Montgomery and his love for the community.
“And they were awesome. They were like it’s short notice but you’re absolutely right. Let’s make it happen,” Andrew Strain, Tim’s brother and organizer, told CBS3.
After the Phillies showed interested in the fundraiser, Andrew Strain wrote a letter explaining that he wanted to make this event about honoring two great men.
“Larry Bowa came and did a hell of an introduction for us,” he said. “They also provided some T-shirts and I think kids shirts as well. They went all out.”
After Bowa’s introduction, Joe Mahan, a friend of Tim’s, talked briefly describing Tim as a very genuine friend.
“There’s a lot of things I could say about Tim, I’m telling you right now, but he really was a genuine, genuine friend,” Mahan said. “Every single day there was just so much that he brought to the table. His personality could make you change your day and even want to help someone else change their day.”
Daisy Field was renamed the David P. Montgomery Field last November and the family chose it as the fundraiser’s location because “it just fit.”
“I was born and raised in Roxborough-Manayunk so it just fit right,” Andrew said. “Daisy Field, which is now David Montgomery Field, is literally, I wanna say, 200 feet from where my grandmom lives.”
Tim’s love for playing sports inspired his family to donate the proceeds from the tournament to local youth athletic organizations.
The money is used to sponsor children, who otherwise may not be able to afford it, to play sports and purchase equipment.
The family is also happy to announce this year the money will also go toward the W.B. Saul High School Tim Strain Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a 2019 W.B. Saul High School senior on the baseball or softball team who is furthering their studies in the fall at a four-year college or university, a two-year community college or a vocational school.
The Tim Strain scholar will be chosen not only based on their academic accomplishments but also their embodiment of teamwork, sportsmanship and characteristics of hard work.
While the amount of the scholarship is still being worked out, Tim’s brother, Andrew, says they chose W.B. Saul High School because Tim played a year of baseball there and other family members went to school there.
“My aunt Barbara Strain, she’s very big into the Saul alumni. I went to Saul. My aunt Beth went to Saul. So there’s just a lot of [family] ties there and we just kind of figured that why not broaden this out a little bit,” Andrew said. “For the last five years we did Impact Softball and Wissahickon AA. This year we wanted to broaden it out and give a little sports scholarship.”
Last year the tournament raised enough money to give 32 children a full or partial scholarship to play football for the Wissahickon Braves and could purchase new equipment for the tackle and flag football program.
The event also provided the Impact Softball organization with enough money to give four partial scholarships and one full scholarship to the 14u-18u players.
The funds allowed Impact to purchase much-needed equipment, including practice netting, new balls and field maintenance equipment.
The fundraiser wouldn’t be possible without the donations and support it receives from the local businesses and faithful people who come back year after year.
Andrew’s says his family and friends who help him organize the event also play a huge role in its success.
“I typically get labeled as the face of this [fundraiser] but it’s definitely a group effort,” Andrew said.
Putting together an event like this can become stressful at times, but Andrew says seeing the smiles on people’s faces during the event makes it worth it.
“Just to kind of walk back and you see the smiles that people are having and kind of reflect back on the pictures, I think that’s what makes it worth it,” Andrew said.
Andrew encourages people to find something you’re passionate about and get involved.
“Find something you’re passionate about and just pay it forward,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what it is, just find some connection just do some kind of good with it.”