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Richie Ashburn
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Richie Ashburn
Richie Ashburn
Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 1995
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 125 of 984 players
Ashburn
Don Richard Ashburn
Born: March 19, 1927 at Tilden, Neb.
Died: September 9, 1997 at New York, N.Y.
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Height: 5.10 Weight: 170

Richie Ashburn was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on March 19, 2009, and May 25, 2012.

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First Mets game: April 11, 1962
Last Mets game: September 30, 1962





Share your memories of Richie Ashburn

HERE IS WHAT OTHER METS FANS HAVE TO SAY:

Tristan
Richie Ashburn was one of my father's favorite players. He always remembered Richie as a great guy. One game my father went to, Richie hit a foul ball which my father caught. After the game, he went to the dugout and asked Richie to sign it. I still have that signed ball toady. It sits on my desk.

Mike McNulty
At a tender of age of about 8 years old, I was very lucky to get a Rawlings Richie Ashburn model glove. Paid $40, which was a lot of lawns for a kid in the early '60's. The glove was the best glove I ever had. It was so good it was quickly stolen. I cried for days. Hell, I miss that glove. I have been through many gloves in my day, and only one(Billy Williams) ever came close to my Richie Ashburn model.

William
August 5, 2001
My father's family is from Tilden, NE, so he knew Richie and his family. Richie's mother, "Toots", was very good friends with my grandmother. After hearing years of Whitey stories from my dad and Toots, I finally got to meet Richie in Philadelphia in 1993. The first three games of a four game set that was the Marlins debut in Philadelphia. My parents and I got to go up to the broadcast booth and meet Richie and Harry (and "Sarge"). I miss Richie. I miss trying to get Phillies games over the radio all the way in Tennessee just to hear Richie tell Harry that the game is easy. Still, I doubt I miss that any more than my dad now misses his hometown now that my grandmother, Richie, and Toots are all gone.

P.S. Richie is probably still claiming he gave Marvelous Marv his nickname.

Mike Tenenbaum
August 19, 2001
One of Richie's HRs during the 1962 season was an inside the park job. "He still has those wheels" was how Bob Murphy described it. Actually, that shot was a good 490 feet to left field bleachers, which would have qualified for an out of the park homer in any other ballpark.

It was almost comical that Richie and Marv Throneberry each recieved a Chris-Craft cabin cruiser at the end of the 1962 season. Marv received his for hitting the Chris-Craft sign more times than any other player. Richie received his for being the Met's 1962 MVP. "Now what am I going to do with a cabin cruiser in the middle of Nebraska?" Richie later asked.

rich edwards
March 13, 2002
I met Richie in Bradenton, Fla. in 1994 at a Phillie exhibition game. We talked for about 10 minutes. I remembered the game he hit 2 homers at the Polo Grounds in 1962, so did he. He even posed for a picture with my two young sons. A very nice gentleman indeed.

Tim
February 3, 2003
He was truly the first to know that something special or magical was happening in '62. He had the ability to look past all of the losses and see the sideshow that Casey and the Mets were. He really helped Marvelous Marv understand his role.

Joe "Metsie" Feltman
April 29, 2003
I know, from listening to Phillies games, that this guy HATED the Mets. So much so that he retired after hitting over .300 in his final year as a Met. Ironic that he died in New York? Solid, Pete Rose type player, sans the complusive gambling!

mets
May 27, 2003
A Hall of Fame player, he hit .309 for the Mets and was on the All Star team in 1962. The Mets pre-game show was sponsored by Bohack that year and they awarded a boat at the end of the year to the MVP. Ashburn won the award. Ralph Kiner claimed that the first time Ashburn put it in the water "it sunk." Ashburn retired.

Anthony R
June 5, 2003
Strange how he died in New York after doing a Phillie/Mets game on TV. He hated the Mets, and the fact that he WAS on that 1962 team. While other former players talked about their time there as fun or light, you can tell that he could not wait to get the heck out of that Polo Grounds clubhouse. Other than that, he was one of the best hitters of his time, on a Phillie team that was not all that better then those "baby Mets".

Ken Morrison
October 13, 2003
Surprised this one isn't here yet-probably 2nd only to Marvelous Marv's "triple" story- Once upon a time in '62, Ashburn is coming in on a pop fly to short center, yelling, "I got it! I got it!" and gets steamrollered by the shortstop, Elio Chacon, who was going out to make the catch. Felix Mantilla helps the dazed Ashburn to his feet, and explains that Chacon speaks Spanish, and little or no English, and, to avoid further such occurrences, advises Ashburn to yell out, "Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!" (literally "I have it!" in Spanish) Shortly thereafter, a similar pop fly is lifted to short center. Ashburn comes flying in, yelling, "Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!"-and is steamrollered by left fielder Joe Christopher, who doesn't speak a word of Spanish...

flushing flash
October 21, 2003
That story is here, under the memories of Elio Chacon. The left fielder in 1962 was Gus Bell.

Jonathan Stern
February 8, 2004
Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci wrote a great story on the 1962 Mets in 1993. In it, Whitey was quoted as saying that he was, in fact, proud of that season even if he didn't want to go through it again. He also stated that over the years, he received more fan mail about 1962 than about all of the other years of his career combined. Says a lot about how passionate Mets fans can be. Not to mention Phillies fans...

Though he bled Phillies red, Ashburn ended his Hall of Fame Induction speech by quoting Casey's final speech to the 1962 Mets: "This was a total team effort. No one was solely responsible. We all contributed." Classy gesture on his part, I thought.

Then he died of heart failure in his New York City hotel room just after calling a Mets-Phillies game at Shea. Ironic as well as sad. Harry Kalas read a poem in tribute to him before the start of the next night's game. He broke down crying during the last stanza. I almost joined him.

I wish I had seen Ashburn perform. He was one of those players who retired long before I was born who I nonetheless feel like was one of my favorite players anyway (we all have one or two). Also, he and Harry made a great team in the booth for many years. Don't forget: the Mets exist today partially because they found ways to make 1962 entertaining. Stengel was a large part of that. So was the team's MYP and number one player spokesman, Richie Ashburn.

dankind80
February 17, 2006
Actually, the fielder who collided with Ashburn was Frank Thomas.

=Chuck=
October 28, 2006
I'm way too young to remember Ashburn the player (I was born in '65) but I did get to hear him announce Phillie games when I lived out further west in NJ and picked up both NY and PA channels. One thing I remember ANY time I see a player loaf it over to first base on an infield hit and get thrown out is that Whitey Ashburn always ran hard to first and beat out a lot of infield hits. During his announcing career he was often critical of players who didn't. I'm on his side.

Jamey Bumbalo
February 22, 2007
Ashburn hit a career-high seven homers with the Mets in 1962. In the previous five seasons, he hit a total of only three homers, and had a 15-year career total of 29. So just under one-fourth of his home runs came as a Met.

Ed K
May 22, 2008
Six of Richie's seven homers in 1962 were in the Polo Grounds with its short foul lines and big outfield gaps. I cannot recall but would not be surprised if at least one or two of the homers were inside-the-park.

Ashburn had the locker next to Marv Throneberry and helped build the legend of the latter as sort of an unofficial press agent.

True story: Ashburn and Marv both won boats at the end of the season. Ashburn got one by being voted Mets MVP and Throneberry for hitting an advertiser's sign on the outfield wall the most times. The Mets accountant informed them that under the tax laws that existed in 1962, Ashburn's boat was a non-taxable gift but Marv's was subject to income tax because it had been earned!

Ashburn had played solely in the outfield his entire fifteen MLB career until Casey let him play 2B in a couple games late in the season. he then retired to become a Phillies announcer.

Bob P
June 1, 2008
Ed,

I looked through the NY Times archives for the games in which Ashburn homered in 1962 and there is no indication that any of them were inside the park. Surprising, I would have though so too. By the way, before coming to the Mets Richie had never hit more than four home runs in a season--and had not hit a homer since July 2, 1959!

Some other interesting tidbits:

Ashburn's first homer in 1962 came on the road, at Wrigley on June 10. Then his next six were at the Polo Grounds, with five of them coming between June 17 and July 14. So six of Richie's seven homers in 1962 were hit in a five week period.

As for Richie playing second base, his first appearance there was in the ninth inning of the September 22 game against the Cubs at the Polo Grounds. Richie had a putout on a caught stealing.

As an aside, if anyone says "the game has changed lately" in terms of stolen bases with big leads, the Cubs were leading that game 8-2 (they won 9-2) and they attempted three stolen bases in the ninth.

Back to Richie...his second and final game at 2B was the last game of his career, September 30 at Wrigley. He had four assists and four putouts in the game but also made an error on a seventh inning grounder by Billy Williams. And to top it off, after singling in his final plate appearance, Richie was part of the triple play that Joe Pignatano hit into in HIS final plate appearance!

Robert Nori
October 6, 2008
Two things about Ashburn that come to mind: first his "early" retirement really hurt the Mets going into 1963 and probably hurt Ed Kranepool's ability to mature in the minors, and second: Bob Murphy asked Ashburn about his memories of 1962 many years after Ashburn had retired and Ashburn answered, and I paraphrase here, "There was absolutely no pressure to win." The airwaves went dead for a few moments before Murphy came back on and he quickly ended the interview. I would have loved to hear the conversation that must have taken place during that "dead air" time.

Pete
December 18, 2008
I was introduced to Richie back in the mid 80's by a friend of mine in Washington DC.

My friend Loren, who was from Tilden, NE told me of a Sunday school lesson Richie told him and his classmates. He said Richie had all the kids sitting in a half circle and was telling a baseball story where he had a solid hit and was rounding first heading into second and slid right in safe but when the black player making the tag raised his glove with the ball in the web Richie noticed the infielder was bleeding from his knuckle where Richie's spikes had nicked him. He said that he immediately noticed the other player's blood was red just like his was. It was at that point he told the kids that color did not matter. It was what was inside all of us that make up who we are, not matter of color we are all one county.

A lesson in breaking the color barriers using a baseball story to children in Tilden, NE. Truly a remarkable man and a great baseball player.

Artie A. from New York
May 19, 2009
I became a baseball fan AND a Richie Ashburn fan in the space of about 4 seconds.

My dad took me to the Polo Grounds on June 17, 1962. My first game. The first batter up for the Mets was Richie Ashburn. My dad gave me a quick rundown on who he was: One of the oldest Mets.

But in the middle of his explanation, Richie drops a bunt right off home plate. My mouth was open as I watched him streak toward first. By the time the bunt came down, Richie was crossing the bag.

From then on, I was Number "1" whenever I could get it. I ran like him and fielded like him by design.

In 1988, I took my nine-year-old son to a local card show, and I got Richie's autograph.

Thanks, Dad, for taking me to the game. Thanks, Richie, for giving me a love for Baseball.

Artie

Coach Terry Meade
April 2, 2014
Ritchie was the world's best bunter. He could put one down half way between home and third and only 6 inches fair.









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