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1958: What a second half for Richie Ashburn

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  • 1958: What a second half for Richie Ashburn

    In 1958, the year that Richie Ashburn beat out Willie Mays on the last day of the season for the National League batting title .350 to .347 he was hitting .303 at the all-star game break. He was selected as a Reserve Outfielder to the National League squad for that game played on July 8 in Baltimore, but he did not play in that game. Instead of fading in the second half a bit, which would have been more typical of nearly all players, Ashburn steadily built up his batting average throughout the second half of the season. Ashburn did reach an early season high of .354 on June 4, just 44 games into the 154 game schedule, but a slump immediately ensued dropping his batting average to .303 on July 6, the final day before the all-star game. Ashburn immediately caught fire right after the all-star game and steadily raised his batting average throughout the second half, with his highest daily average coming after going 3 for 4 in the season finale on September 28 to raise his batting average to .350. By about September 15 it looked like any of three hitters could win the National League batting title: Richie Ashburn of the Philadelphia Phillies, Stan Musial, of the St. Louis Cardinals and Willie Mays, of the Giants, who were in their first year in San Francisco after moving from New York and The Polo Grounds. Musial faded from that point and it became a two-man race that remained extremely close with the batting title not being decided until the final outs were recorded in the Phillies and Giants games on the season's final day. (September 28) . Ashburn and Mays both raised their batting averages with good days at the plate.in the season finales. Through September 27, Ashburn led Mays .347 to .345. When the smoke had cleared and the dust had settled (how's that for a pair of clichés) Ashburn had triumphed over Mays, by a narrow three point margin, .350 to .347.
    Last edited by philliesfiend55; 03-16-2019, 01:12 PM.

  • #2
    Very nice writeup! It's too bad that the batting title doesn't mean very much anymore. It used to get so much media attention.

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    • #3
      never underestimate anyone from Tilden NE

      Hometown of my wife and Richie Ashburn.
      This week's Giant

      #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JR Hart View Post
        never underestimate anyone from Tilden NE

        Hometown of my wife and Richie Ashburn.
        I followed Richie's career intensely, probably from as early as1954. I first met him and got my first in-person autograph of Rich in the Fall of 1988. I got him to autograph a Spring Training program and my ticket in between innings as he did a radio broadcast of the game back to Philadelphia from Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Florida on the final game of Spring training and the exhibition season in 1995, after his election to the Baseball Hall Of Fame. The season was delayed that year and shortened to 144 games and Opening Day didn't occur until April 26 and it took a decision by a Court of Appeals judge, the future Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayer to end the players strike and get them back on the field. In her decision she arranged an armistice and ordered the players back to work while a solution to the dispute was worked upon. No official new agreement was reached between the players and the owners until two day before Thanksgiving, 1996, when a new five year agreement was reached.. For this reason alone even Republican/Ultra Conservatives should be thankful for Ms. Sotomayer's existence. Thank God, she's a baseball fan (even if it's rumored that she's a fan of "The Evil Empire Yankees".
        In the first week of October 1996, I caught up with Ashburn one final time when he made an autograph signing appearance at Hofstra University. on Long Island one Saturday morning in early October 1996. The show was advertised in a magazine I often picked up at the local bookstore called Sports Collector's Digest. Richie agreed to autograph items for the modest price of just $15 per item. "Hard to believe, Harry" because non--Hall of Famer, Al Dark almost matched Ashburn's price at $12 per item. The centerpiece of the show was Joe DiMaggio, for whom the show was charging $150 per signature. Noting the inexpensive price, I really came prepared for this show. I braved some highways that I had never traveled upon and some imprecise directions to eventually find the college and the site of the baseball card show and autograph signing site, which was the gym where the Hofstra mens' and womens' basketball teams played their home games. I brought every Ashburn photo, and newspaper photo/article of magazine article (many of which were about his finally making the Hall Of Fame) and a few items from the Hall of Fame that I could find. It resulted in Richie signing 18 of my items for a grand total of $270. Richie was bemused and curious about this devoted fan that he seemed to remember from the past somewhere. He soon determined that I was no stalker or threat and soon was amiably chatting away with me as he signed item after item. Probably as early as the time he retired as an active player and entered the broadcast booth, he began referring to himself as simply Rich Ashburn. His post-playing days signature/autograph has always been as Rich Ashburn. That day as a special favor to me and to honor my request he signed one Hall Of Fame-related photo for me as "Richie Ashburn". I feel blessed to have had that time with him that day. He would pass away at age 70, just 11 months later.

        It's too bad I never got to visit Tilden, Nebraska. That would have been a real treat!

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        • #5
          If he didn't sign "Richie Ashburn" what was he signing as?
          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
            If he didn't sign "Richie Ashburn" what was he signing as?
            'Rich Ashburn'. That's how he always signed after he retired as a player. Perhaps when he retired and began working for the Phillies as a broadcaster at the age of 36 "Richie' just seemed to be too juvenile a name so he simply shortened it "Rich" and on the air that's how he referred to himself as Rich.
            ie: "Rich Ashburn here to give you a preview of today's game and the starting pitchers" or in Commercials it would be "Rich Ashburn here for Tastycake cakes and pies." and "Rich" was what he wanted to be called by his fellow Phillies broadcasters like By Saam and Harry Kalas.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by philliesfiend55 View Post
              'Rich Ashburn'. That's how he always signed after he retired as a player. Perhaps when he retired and began working for the Phillies as a broadcaster at the age of 36 "Richie' just seemed to be too juvenile a name so he simply shortened it "Rich" and on the air that's how he referred to himself as Rich.
              ie: "Rich Ashburn here to give you a preview of today's game and the starting pitchers" or in Commercials it would be "Rich Ashburn here for Tastycake cakes and pies." and "Rich" was what he wanted to be called by his fellow Phillies broadcasters like By Saam and Harry Kalas.
              I see. I wasn't aware of that.
              "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by philliesfiend55 View Post
                I

                It's too bad I never got to visit Tilden, Nebraska. That would have been a real treat!
                Here is the baseball field in Tilden

                tilden1.jpg

                This week's Giant

                #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a baseball fan I'm bummed that the Richie Ashburn type of hitter no long really exists (high BA, tons of walks, very little power). Brett Butler was very similar.
                  Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 03-19-2019, 07:14 AM.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                    As a baseball fan I'm bummed that the Richie Ashburn type of hitter no long rally exists (high BA, tons of walks, very little power). Brett Butler was very similar.
                    Batting average is worthless now. Guys can just hit .000 with 40 HR, 100 BB and 250 K's.
                    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JR Hart View Post

                      Here is the baseball field in Tilden

                      tilden1.jpg
                      I remember from a Philadelphia Inquirer or Philadelphia Daily News article that one Tilden store owner, or perhaps it was a pharmacy owner, had turned his store/pharmacy into a visual tribute to Ashburn and his playing career. Of course this was decades ago and this store owner/Ashburn fanatic may have retired or died since then. Does this type of store and Ashburn Tribute, as I have described it, still exist today?.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by philliesfiend55 View Post

                        I remember from a Philadelphia Inquirer or Philadelphia Daily News article that one Tilden store owner, or perhaps it was a pharmacy owner, had turned his store/pharmacy into a visual tribute to Ashburn and his playing career. Of course this was decades ago and this store owner/Ashburn fanatic may have retired or died since then. Does this type of store and Ashburn Tribute, as I have described it, still exist today?.
                        We haven't been there for quite a while. Tilden is about 90 miles away and my wife's parents have both passed away. They farmed outside of Tilden, so I didn't spend a lot of time in the town. My wife remembers the drug store with the Ashburn stuff, but thinks that it's been gone for a while. We met in 1986. I was way more into Asburn being from there, than her family ever was. i would have looked for the drug store had I known about it.
                        Last edited by JR Hart; 03-18-2019, 10:36 PM.
                        This week's Giant

                        #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post

                          Batting average is worthless now. Guys can just hit .000 with 40 HR, 100 BB and 250 K's.
                          I'm thinking that Adam Dunn should go into the HOF for being a 'pioneer' of this type of player, that has since become the norm. If not now, then certainly in the near future, when it becomes routine for players to bat .150 with 300 Ks.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by willshad View Post

                            I'm thinking that Adam Dunn should go into the HOF for being a 'pioneer' of this type of player, that has since become the norm. If not now, then certainly in the near future, when it becomes routine for players to bat .150 with 300 Ks.
                            I get your Sarcasm!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JR Hart View Post

                              We haven't been there for quite a while. Tilden is about 90 miles away and my wife's parents have both passed away. They farmed outside of Tilden, so I didn't spend a lot of time in the town. My wife remembers the drug store with the Ashburn stuff, but thinks that it's been gone for a while. We met in 1986. I was way more into Asburn being from there, than her family ever was. i would have looked for the drug store had I known about it.
                              I had thought about going to the College World Series in Omaha one year and then making a side trip to Tilden, but that type of trip never materialized.

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