In a four-hour operation on June 2, Marci's thyroid was removed. She is expected to make a full recovery. In the first 18 games after the surgery, a relieved Salmon hit .419 with five home runs and 19 RBIs. "It makes you realize how meaningless a batting slump is compared to the possibility of losing a spouse," Salmon says. "I think I'm a little more mellow now and funneling my intensity better. It definitely puts things in perspective."
A Farewell in Philly
When Dave Montgomery began working for the Phillies' sales department in 1971. he was handed a list of season-ticket leads to follow up. He dialed the first number ort the page, and a voice on the other end answered, "West Laurel Hill Cemetery." If Montgomery thought selling tickets to a graveyard was difficult, 26 years later he's really got a tough job: Last Friday he was promoted to president and chief executive-officer of the worst team in the big leagues.
Montgomery took over the day-to-day operation of the Phils from longtime man—aging general partner Bill Giles, who announced that he wanted to concentrate on getting a new baseball stadium built in Philadelphia. Coworkers described Giles as having been increasingly distraught in recent weeks over the Phillies, who had lost eight straight games through Sunday. (In fact Philadelphia was on pace to lose more games than any team since the 1965 Mets.) Giles was also dismayed about the Phillies' attendance—the lowest in the National League—which had decreased by an average of more than 22,000 fans per game from the '94 season. While there was speculation that Giles had been forced out, he apparently fled on his own. Said one Philadelphia executive, "I don't think there was pressure from the partners. I think there was pressure from the fans."
Giles has been the scapegoat for every—thing that has gone wrong with the injury-ravaged Phillies. He has often been accused of being cheap, but three current Phillies (Darren Daulton, Len Dykstra and Gregg Jefferies) are making at least $5 million a year and pitcher Curt Schilling will reach that level next year. The truth may be that, except for Schilling, Giles has exercised lousy judgment in spending his money. Former All-Star catcher Daulton is valiantly trying to play rightfield after missing all but five games last season because of his bad right knee. Injured centerfielder Dykstra hasn't played this season because of a back injury and hasn't played more than 84 games in any season since signing his current contract extension four years ago, and left' fielder Jefferies was batting a subpar .265. And Giles's talk about needing a new stadium has drawn criticism from fans who believe a mismanaged team shouldn't be rewarded with a new ballpark built with public money.
So Giles handed over the reins to Montgomery, whose challenge is daunting. The man who was once asked to sell tickets to a cemetery is now in charge of reviving a bunch of stiffs in a baseball graveyard.
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