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Bill Giles
Baseball in Giles family bloodlines

By Mike Scarr /

It's in the blood, this game of baseball.

That was the case for Warren Giles and has certainly been the life's work of his son, Bill. It has also impacted the lives of Bill's son, Joe, and grandson, Max.

Well, we'll see about Max; he's only 5. But his dad says he eats, breathes and walks baseball, so the early returns look good.

It's a steady line of succession that makes the Giles name synonymous with baseball. The name even graces the National League's championship trophy.

As the chairman of the Phillies, Bill helped guide the club to the 2008 World Series championship. It was the franchise's first title since 1980 and the second since its inception as the Quakers in 1883.

The Giles family cannot trace its baseball roots back that far, but Warren got his start in 1919 as president of the Moline (Ill.) baseball club of the Three-I League, so named for clubs in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, eventually paving the way to his 18-year tenure as NL president from 1951-69.

It deeply affected Bill, as his father's work became his life, too.

After losing his mother as a 9-year-old, Bill spent his formative years at Cincinnati's Crosley Field while his dad was first general manager and, ultimately, president of the Reds. That experience led to Bill's first job in baseball as a go-fer in the public relations office.

Having earned a college degree from Denison University, Bill went on to serve a three-year tour in the U.S. Air Force in the Strategic Air Command as a navigator.

And he already knew where he wanted to go next.

Following his military service, Bill became GM of the Nashville Vols in 1959 before moving on to the expansion Houston Colt .45s three years later.

That's when Joe got his first taste.

Joined organization: 1969

Co-owner since: 1981

Rochester, N.Y.

Denison University

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"I thought I was the luckiest kid alive," said Joe, who currently serves as director of business development for the Phillies. "I thought it was the ideal situation with my dad working for a baseball team."

Bill moved on to Philadelphia, where he became vice president of business operations, and his knack for promotions carried from the Astrodome to Veteran's Stadium. Notable stunts ensued, including ostrich races, the legendary Kiteman act and Karl Wallenda's tightrope walk across the Vet between games of a doubleheader.

A year after the Phillies won their first World Series title in 1980, Bill Giles organized an ownership group that purchased the club. He remained team president until 1997, then became became chairman. In 2001, Bill was named honorary NL president.

What Joe remembers is the passion.

"If you enjoy what you do and you love what you do it is not going to work every day," he said. "I saw my father do that 24 hours a day. I did work in some other businesses, but it's hard to get more fulfillment than working for a baseball team in your home city."

Joe said his grandfather was a "snappy dresser" and always looked sharp, even for a neighborhood walk. He's following that path, in a professional sense at least, and recently got his full-circle moment.

"It's fun to be in the same business that they are in," Joe said. "When my father presented the Warren Giles Trophy to [chief executive] Dave Montgomery when the Phillies won the NLCS, it dawned on me even more the great tradition that we have."

Mike Scarr is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.