Bill Giles

Legacy of Excellence

47+ years with the Phillies as VP, GM, Executive VP & Chairman

During more than four decades working in the Phillies front office, Bill Giles provided a classic example of a person who made things happen. In fact, Giles made so many things happen that under his reign the Phillies became the winningest, most lucrative, and most popular team in franchise history. Giles was a working member of the Phillies executive branch from 1969 to 1997 and served as team President and CEO during his final 16 years. During that time, he became the team’s largest stockholder. From 1997 to the present, he has held the position of President Emeritus. Many of Bill Giles’ accomplishments have left not only an indelible imprint on the Phillies, but on all major league baseball. Under his leadership, the Phillies won three pennants and in 1980 their first World Series. He hired Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas. He signed Pete Rose to what was then the richest contract in baseball history. The Phillie Phanatic emerged during Giles’ watch. He put together the group that bought the Phillies in 1981. And he was the driving force behind the construction of Citizens Bank Park. Bill Giles was born in 1934 in Rochester, NY. At the time, his father Warren Giles was a minor league baseball executive. Warren Giles went on to become general manager and later president of the Cincinnati Reds. From 1951 to 1969, Warren Giles served as president of the National League. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. Warren’s son Bill worked as a summer employee with the Reds while attending Denison University. Bill served three years in the US Air Force and then took a full-time job in Cincinnati’s front office. In 1962, he joined the new franchise in Houston as traveling secretary and publicity director. He played a key part in changing the new franchise’s nickname from the Colt 45s to the Astros, and became the club’s vice president in 1967. Giles was hired by the Phillies and named vice president of business operations in 1969. “The best hire (Phillies owner) Bob Carpenter ever made was bringing Bill Giles to Philadelphia,” said Larry Shenk, the team’s director of public relations for 44-years. “He was the perfect executive to lead the organization into Veterans Stadium and change the franchise’s image. Bill is a Phillies and Philadelphia treasure.” Soon after the team left Connie Mack Stadium, Giles was named executive vice president. He quickly helped move the team forward by doubling the size of the team’s small front office. Giles wanted to create family fun at the ballpark – and he did. He put together a team of ball girls named the Hot Pants Patrol. He created a pair of mascots named Phil and Phyllis. And he staged pre-game events such as duck races, cow-milking contests, celebrity events, a re-enactment of Paul Revere’s ride, and performances by Kiteman, Cannonman, the Playboy Bunnies, Benny the Bomb, Rocketman, and other celebrities. Giles scheduled post-game concerts. For the first game played in Veteran’s Stadium, he had the game ball dropped from a helicopter. He had a giant Liberty Bell placed atop Veteran Stadium’s center field stands, and installed the Phanavision video replay board. Giles initiated building statues of former star players and master-minded the creation of the Phillies Wall of Fame, alumni weekends, and uniform number retirements. And in the most spectacular non-sports event ever at a Phillies game, he twice hired a stuntman named Karl Wallenda to walk across the top of the stadium on a suspended highwire. In 1981, the Carpenter family put the Phillies up for sale and Giles assembled a group that bought the team for $30 million. Bill was named team president and CEO. He also served as the team’s general manager from 1984-‘87 after Paul Owens retired. Under Giles, the Phillies added such players as Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, John Denny, Von Hayes, Curt Schilling, Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk and many more who helped the 1983 or 1993 teams win National League pennants. “He had a lot to do with our success,” said star shortstop Larry Bowa. “And the players all liked him. He had a real good relationship with us. He was a great baseball man.” Giles eventually became the Phillies’ largest stockholder when part of the team was sold again in 1986. He and his wife Nancy have also played a major role in various charities, especially including the Philadelphia ALS Association, for which the Phillies have currently raised more than $22 million. He has also served on several important National League committees. It has truly been a marvelous career for the man who is largely responsible for putting the Phillies in their present position. by Rich Westcott

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Charter Class (2004)

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