N.Y. Times: How a Man Who Grew Up in Havertown Secured Baseball’s Most Lucrative Leap of Faith

John Middleton, left, shakes hands with Bryce Harper, whom the Phillies signed to a 13-year contract.

Thanks to Havertown native John Middleton, the Phillies’ principal owner and managing partner, the team signed perennial All-Star Bryce Harper to one of the longest and richest free-agent deals in Major League Baseball history, writes Tyler Kepner for The New York Times.

Considering that the 13-year, $330 million contract represents a partnership between two sides with no prior relationship, some have called it baseball’s most lucrative leap of faith. However, for Middleton, a graduate of The Haverford School, it was an opportunity he could not pass up.

“I approach my job as a fan first,” he said. “The day I stop thinking like a fan, the day I stop feeling that I’m a fan, that’s the day I need to retire.”

To close the deal, Middleton flew to Las Vegas with his wife, Leigh, for a long meeting with Harper and his wife, Kayla.

During the deeply personal conversation, Harper asked about hospitals and schools and quickly realized Middleton understood his goals.

“For me, this is an opportunity to play somewhere for 13 years and try to understand a city,” said Harper. “That’s the greatest thing that could ever happen.”

Read more about the deal that brought Bryce Harper to Philadelphia in The New York Times by clicking here.

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