Sunday, February 14, 2010

Batting First: Richie Ashburn- Center Field

Philadelphia Phillies All-Time Line Up (Part 1 of a 9 Part Series)

The choice to lead-off for the Phillies all-time dream team is Richie Ashburn. "Whitey" played 12 seasons in a Phillies uniform from 1948-1959 and became one of the most accomplished and beloved players in the team's history.

Over his career, Ashburn was elected to six National League All-Star Teams, won two batting titles and was a key player on the Phillies National League Champion "Whiz Kids" team in 1950. He was also an excellent center fielder who covered a lot of ground, often amazed with seemingly impossible catches, and regularly gunned out runners (averaging more than 14 assists over his first ten seasons.)

Ashburn was a prototype lead-off hitter who worked the count, always had a high on base percentage and expertly ran the bases. He led the league in OBP four times in his career, including three remarkable seasons at or above

.440. He amassed 2,574 hits over his career on his way to a .308 lifetime batting average.

After his playing days were over, Richie joined the Phillies television and radio broadcast team, later pairing with the late Harry Kalas to form one of the most entertaining and well loved announcing duo's in the sport. "His Whiteness" as Kalas would often refer to his blonde haired partner, incorporated a dry wit, an upbeat style, and a penchant for telling humorous anecdotes.

One of his most memorable stories involved himself in 1957. During a game, he popped a foul ball into the crowd that struck a spectator. A few minutes later when play resumed, Ashburn hit another foul into the stands that struck the same woman as she was being carried off on a stretcher. Fortunately, she was not seriously hurt and the two became close friends after the incident.

The stature that he gained in Philadelphia through his dual role stints is evidenced by the dedication of "Ashburn's Alley" and the "Richie 'Whitey' Ashburn Broadcast Booth" in Citizen's Bank Park. Two years before suddenly passing away in 1997, Ashburn was recognized for his stellar play by being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


Phillies 1114 22 499 .311 199 .390 .388

Career 1322 29 586 .308 234 .393 .382

Honorable Mention:

Garry Maddox- The "Secretary of Defense" won eight Gold Glove Awards and hit .284 over his 12 seasons in a Phillies uniform, using his blazing speed to patrol center field. The Phillies qualified for the postseason six times in that period, with the pinnacle being the 1980 World Series Championship.

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