Since 1883, the Philadelphia Phillies have been playing baseball as a member of the National League.
They have had their share of great teams and players, including "Big Ed" Delahanty, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Chuck Klien, Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins.
The Phillies have made four trips to the World Series, in 1950, 1980, 2008, 2009.
That 1950 squad is known in baseball lore as the "Whiz Kids," a team of young ball players who won the teams very first N.L. Pennant.
One of those famous kids is also my favorite Phillies player of All-Time, Richie Ashburn.
Now, I don't remember when I first heard about Ashburn, probably sometimes in the early 1970s.
I do remember seeing his #1 on the outfield walls of the old Veterans Stadium, home of the Phillies, during the 1980 and 1983 World Series.
Ashburn was long retired as a big league ball player, having played his last game in 1963, as a member of the New York Mets.
I always heard baseball announcers on radio and TV talking about Ashburn any time the Phillies, or the "Whiz Kids" came up in a conversation about baseball.
So, as a young baseball fan, I just had to find out more about Ashburn, and I would read articles in the Sporting News and research the former Phillie in The Baseball Almanac and in any other books I could find.
Ashburn came up to the big leagues in 1948, at the age of 21.
Ashburn collected 154 hits that rookie season, finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting, and never looked back, retiring 15 years later with a very impressive 2, 574 big league hits, all in the National League, with the Phillies, Cubs, and Mets.
by the time I knew about Richie Ashburn, the Phillies legend had become part of the teams radio and TV booth, where he did color commentary, and starting in 1971, he sat in the same booth as another Philadelphia Hall of Famer, announcer Harry Kalas.
Ashburn continued to announce Phillies games with Kalas until his passing, in 1997, due to a heart attack.
Ashburn is a legend in Philly, and he should be.
In addition to his 2,574 hits, Ashburn also scored 1,322 runs, leading the league in that category three times.
Ashburn was a 5 time All Star who collected 317 doubles, 109 triples, and had a lifetime batting average of .308.
In 1995 Ashburn was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, many years after he should have, along with another Philly great, Mike Schmidt.