The Philadelphia Phillies are set to make the first major additional to the team's ownership structure since 1994. On Tuesday, managing partner and CEO John Middleton announced Stanley Middleman, founder and CEO of Freedom Mortgage, will join the ownership group as a limited partner. The transaction is expected to close in July, pending necessary MLB approvals.
"This is a significant moment in our partnership's history as it is only the second time in over 40 years that we have added a new partner," Middleton said in a statement. "As evidenced by the great success of Freedom Mortgage, Stan is driven to succeed. I admire his passion, commitment and perseverance in building his business. Those qualities, and many more, make Stan an important addition to our ownership group, and we are excited to welcome him to this organization."
The Middleton family and Buck family each hold a 48.75% stake in the franchise, but after the recent passing of longtime Phillies owner William Buck, the Buck family has elected to reduce its ownership stake. Middleman will purchase one-third of the Buck family's share. Pat Gillick and the Montgomery family are also minority owners in the team.
"I'm delighted to be joining such a wonderful organization. It truly is a dream come true," Middleman said in a statement. "Having grown up in Philadelphia, and spending my childhood as a huge Phillies fan, I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing opportunity in my lifetime. My family and I hope we can be a small part in the continuing success of this world-class sports organization."
Once the transaction closes, Middleton will retain controlling interest in the Phillies and continue to serve as the team's managing partner, CEO, and contact person with MLB. Under Middleton, the defending National League champions opened the season with a $243 million payroll, fourth highest in baseball. Philadelphia has been top six in payroll in nine of the last 15 seasons.
The Phillies have stumbled out of the gate this season and enter play Tuesday with a 28-32 record and a minus-31 run differential. They are 7 1/2 games out in the NL East and four games behind the third and final wild-card spot.