Sports Person of the Week
Mahoney Gets His Call to the Guilford Hall of Fame
All-time Indians’ soccer and baseball star Brian Mahoney was inducted into the Guilford High School Athletics Hall of Fame in June. Brian has worked as the director of advertising sales with the Philadelphia Phillies for the past 16 years. (Photo courtesy of Brian Mahoney )
Brian Mahoney’s adventures in baseball have taken him from the West Coast of the United States all the way back to the East Coast. In between, the 51 year-old Guilford native has lived a professional life in which every day includes a trip to the ballpark.
Brian is a 1986 Guilford High School graduate who excelled as a soccer and baseball player with the Indians. Since 2003, he has worked as the director of advertising sales for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Brian’s job with the Phillies is the culmination of a journey through the baseball world that began in San Bernardino, California and carried him through Rancho Cucamonga, California; Trenton, New Jersey; and then back to Connecticut with the Norwich Navigators.
Brian currently lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife Alicia. Brian has three daughters, Elizabeth, Sophia, and Alexandra, along with a stepson, Noah. This past June, Brian was inducted into the Guilford High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Having had jobs in baseball since I started working has always made me feel like the kid in the candy store,” says Brian. “And being here in Philly for the last 17 years has been special.”
Brian grew up rooting for the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox. In fact, his grandfather Neil was the director of player personnel for the Red Sox from 1939 to 1973. However, these days it’s all about the Philly sports scene for Brian.
“Once I got here, I learned very quickly about the passion that Philadelphia fans have for their teams,” Brian says. “Everybody is all-in all the time.”
Brian’s job with the Phillies connects him with the businesses that support the organization, including Citizens Bank, for which their stadium is named. Brian loves to see Phillies’ fans having a nice time at the park.
“From beer to pretzels and on to Philly’s famous cheesesteaks, they’re all a part of how we do business,” says Brian. “We’ve developed a tradition here of making sure that our ballpark is open two hours before each game. Fans love to come out and see batting practice. Many go out into Ashburn Alley to enjoy a cheesesteak or to eat a pretzel.”
Brian played soccer at Hobart College in Geneva, New York before graduating in 1991. Shortly thereafter, his father Kevin connected him with some people in the Red Sox front office who suggested that Brian go to the Winter Meetings in Miami later that year.
Once Brian got there, he realized he was one of many people who was looking for a job. Brian overheard a conversation between several Seattle Mariners’ executives and boldly introduced himself. After going on an interview, he was hired to work as an intern for San Bernardino in the California League.
When Brian arrived in the Golden State, a sense of shock set in.
“I’m looking out my apartment window and there are palm trees,” he says. “It took a while to adjust.”
Brian was paid $800 a month to essentially clean over graffiti on the stadium walls and set up the sound system before each game. From there, he moved 30 miles west to Rancho Cucamonga, where the San Diego Padres had a farm team. He served as the director of ticket sales for the team.
Brian’s first big break in baseball came in 1994, when the Trenton Thunder franchise moved to New Jersey. Brian applied for position of assistant general manager with the Thunder and got the job.
“There was excitement in Trenton over this team,” says Brian. “They’d been waiting for professional baseball in the city for some time.”
Three years later, Brian headed up to Norwich to become the general manager for the Navigators—the Double-A affiliate of New York Yankees. Brian says that he sought the approval of his father before he signed on with the Red Sox rival.
“Red Sox blood had been in my family forever,” Brian says. “I knew it would be the perfect move up for me, but working for the Yankees?”
Brian’s career took an upward turn after the Navigators won the Eastern League title in 2002. Following that season, Brian heard about the director of advertising sales position with the Phillies and went for it.
“It was an exciting time,” Brian says. “The Phillies were getting ready to move out of The Vet [Veterans Stadium] and into Citizens Bank Park.”
A few months ago, Brian returned to Connecticut for his induction into the Guilford High School Athletics Hall of Fame. Brian says that taking his place in the hall was one of the high points in his life and brought back many positive memories.
“My memories of playing sports in Guilford was that wonderful part of my life growing up,” says Brian. “We had a big backyard in Nut Plains Road West, where I played soccer against my older brother Kevin [who played quarterback for Guilford football team]. I’d always try to kick the ball by him.”
Brian helped the Guilford boys’ soccer squad win Class L state titles in 1983 and 1985, scoring more than 50 career goals while playing the striker position. As a senior captain, Brian earned All-Shoreline Conference First Team honors and also netted a goal in the state final for Head Coach Bill Wallach’s squad.
“He wasn’t a good athlete. He was a great athlete,” Wallach says. “Brian would do anything for the team. He played with two other great athletes, Matt Renola and John Garvey. They played more like men than boys.”
Brian joined both Renola and Garvey in the Hall of Fame when he was inducted. Brian says that it’s a huge honor to follow in the footsteps of two of his former teammates.
“It was a thrill. Those two are in a group of five of my best friends,” says Brian. “It couldn’t have been a more fitting honor.”