Ed Wade has gone from riding the bench of Temple’s baseball team to shaping the personnel of the Philadelphia Phillies as general manager since 1997.
Graduating in 1977 with a degree in journalism, the foundation of Wade’s prosperous career in professional baseball began at Temple.
When Wade arrived at Temple from Carbondale, Pa., a small town of about 10,000 people just north of Scranton, baseball coach Skip Wilson knew a kid like him would struggle with life in a big city.
At the time of his arrival, Wade had never been away from home and was used to the low-key lifestyle.
He graduated with a senior class of 65 students from St. Rose High School in Carbondale, and it was not until graduation when he first boarded an airplane.
Wilson decided it would be best for Wade and the other freshmen players who were unfamiliar with urban living to move into living quarters at the Ambler campus.
“I’ve got to give Skip Wilson a lot of credit,” Wade said, “because when I was accepted at Temple and I met Skip the previous fall, he made a point, particularly with the small town guys, of getting us on to the Ambler campus.
Living in the suburbs made the transition a bit smoother for a young man who loved playing baseball, but he was uninspired by the classroom. His grades were mediocre and so was his play.
Still, he dedicated himself to being the best player and contributed whenever possible.
“My first impression of him,” Wilson said, “was that he was very small but he could catch the ball and run and throw and was very knowledgable of the game.”
Former teammate John McArdell, who is currently an assistant coach for Temple’s baseball team, said the incoming freshmen players in 1973 were a close-knit group.
McArdell recalled the first time he spent with Wade was at a team fundraiser during a Temple football game.
During his first two years at Temple, Wade struggled and saw little playing time. He realized his baseball skills were not going to get him drafted by a major league team.
“He started to set goals for himself, because he knew he wasn’t going to make it as a professional,” McArdell said.
Wade was grateful for the opportunity given to him by Wilson, and glad his coach understood and respected his decision to quit the team. Both still keep in contact and talk about once a month.
Wade decided to capitalize off his other abilities as a journalist.
He figured that if he couldn’t play baseball, he could write about it. In his final two years at Temple, he took internships wherever possible, working for papers like the Scranton Times, The Philadelphia Bulletin and Williamsport Sun-Gazette.
“Below average hitter, probably a below average student as well,” Wade said. “I was more internship-oriented than class-oriented. Practical experience was sort of ruling the day for me.”
In the summer of 1976, Wade covered the double-A farm team in Reading where he introduced himself to Phillies public relations director Larry Shenk.
By the fall, Shenk hired Wade as a press runner during the playoffs. This eventually led to an internship with the Phillies in the spring of 1977.
“I thought I’d have a chance to have more contact with the major newspapers in town,” Wade said. “And as it turned out I enjoyed what I was doing on the baseball side.”
His time with the Phillies opened up a wide range of options. After working in Houston, Texas, and Pittsburgh, Pa., Wade returned to the Phillies as an assistant to the general manager. He was named general manager in 1997.
“So many people had some role in allowing me to the direction that I ended up pursuing,” Wade said. “People have been very nice to me and continue to do so.”
Since being promoted to general manager, McArdell said, “Wade is still the same guy he knew years ago playing Temple baseball.”
“He hasn’t changed a whole lot,” McArdell said. “I think he was a little humbled by it all.”
Jason Haslam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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