"I think a lot of the credit for this celebration tonight should go to Ed Wade," Gillick said. "He put together a lot of this team. Three-quarters of our infield, Cole Hamels, Pat Burrell ...
"I kind of filled in around what Ed had in place. A lot of credit should go to Ed Wade and his group because they did a tremendous job getting the nucleus here in Philadelphia. Now, on to the World Series."
Wade, who was hired by Astros owner Drayton McLane in September 2007, was the Phillies' GM for eight seasons from 1998-2005. During his tenure, the Phillies drafted several players who contributed to the club's pennant drive, including Chase Utley, Hamels, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Burrell, Brett Myers, Ryan Madson and Carlos Ruiz.
Additionally, the Phillies selected outfielder Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 Draft at the 2004 Winter Meetings.
Wade expressed his appreciation for Gillick's comments but also deflected the majority of the credit back to his former colleagues currently running the Phillies organization.
"It's very gracious of Pat, but in reality, it's his team," said Wade, speaking via cell phone on his way to watch Instructional League games in Florida. "He and [assistant GM of scouting and player development] Mike Arbuckle and [assistant GM] Ruben Amaro Jr. and others should take the lion's share of the credit at this point in time."
Wade quickly added that he's always been a believer that the majority of the credit for an organization's success should go to the scouts, who routinely fight for players they believe in at times when the higher-ups are hesitant for one reason or another. Wade pointed out that he had to be sold on Hamels and Howard for various reasons, and he finally gave in after hearing the passionate endorsements from the scouts following those players.
"Those are the people that are there every year, going through this stuff and really coming up with the talent to allow you fill your farm system," Wade said.
In that respect, Wade said he's happy for the Phillies' recent triumphs.
"I started in the Phillies organization the day after my 21st birthday," he said. "A lot of people that were there at the time are still there. There were some good years, but a lot of lean years wedged in between. I'm happy for them."
He said he's happiest for manager Charlie Manuel, whom Wade hired in November 2004 after Manuel spent two seasons as a Philles special assistant.
"That selection was not popular," Wade said. "He was not fairly treated by a number of people there the last several years. His selection probably hastened my departure. It turned out to be the right decision. The results of what he's been able to do the last two years validated it."
After Astros owner Drayton McLane dismissed Tim Purpura in August 2007, Wade emerged as McLane's top choice for GM after reviewing Wade's success in building the Phillies' talent pipeline. The Astros' farm system was in poor shape, and the big league team was on its way to one of its worst seasons of the decade. Wade has spent the last year reshaping nearly every facet of the organization, from the scouting department to the player development staffs, not to mention the Major League roster, which he overhauled last offseason.
The goal? To eventually build a winning organization largely based on homegrown talent, something that served the Astros quite well during their pennant drives in 2004 and 2005.
"Any baseball executive will say the same thing," Wade said. "It sounds like it's a baseball cliche: the lifeblood of an organization begins and ends with player development and scouting. But you look at the Phillies roster -- it absolutely holds true.
"It's going to take some time and we've indicated that. At some point in time here, we hope the core group of talent is comprised of players that have been either drafted or signed as amateur free agents in the United States or Latin America or other areas. That's the way to sustain success. Most clubs can't be out in the free agent market every year and make 10 trades every year and have a chance for long-term success. It has to come from within."