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Phillies Chairman Bill Giles visits School of Tourism a day before season opener

April 5th, 2012

Bill Giles was raised in a baseball park.

The son of Warren C. Giles – president and general manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1946-51 and then National League president until 1969 – he started in the Reds’ public relations office. From age 15, with Cincinnati’s Crosley Field as his home, “my whole goal, my whole dream, my whole hope, was to run a baseball team.”

Chairman of the Philadelphia Phillies, Giles relayed his personal story and professional accomplishments to some 150 School of Tourism and Hospitality Management students, mostly sport and recreation management majors, during an Executive in Residence presentation April 4. His discussion, moderated by team public affairs Director Scott Palmer, came a day before the Phillies opened the 2012 season at the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Giles began his Phillies tenure as vice president of business operations after the 1969 season. He joined baseball management full-time 10 years earlier when he became general manager of the Nashville Vols, a minor-league team.

In 1981, Giles organized a group to buy the Phillies for $30 million – Forbes now ranks the team as the fifth most valuable in baseball at $723 million – and he served as club president until 1997, when he became chairman. Giles is also honorary president of the National League.

He told students that determination, integrity and people skills are vital in sport management, and he emphasized that the two most important words in life are hope and family.

“The greatest miracle isn’t winning the World Series,” Giles said. “The greatest miracle in the world is your family and friends, and we try to live that motto at the Phillies.”

Giles’ imprint with the Phillies, and Philadelphia, is vast. In addition to the team’s on-the-field accomplishments, he helped create the Phillie Phanatic and build Citizens Bank Park, the eight-year-old stadium he calls his greatest success.

Giles also served for 15 years as chair of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and led fundraising efforts to build the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

When asked by a student how important it is to work your way up professionally, Giles, who has experience in almost every facet of baseball, replied with some truth in jest.

“If you don’t have a lot of money, it’s very important,” he said.

– Brandon Lausch