Richie Ashburn was the leadoff hitter for the Phillies for 15 years. The durable, hustling Ashburn had a superb knowledge of the strike zone - he won 2 batting titles, finished second 3 times and led the NL in walks 4 times. His .308 lifetime batting average is the result of consistency - he batted over .300 9 times, and retired with 2,574 hits in 2,189 games.
Ashburn was a spray hitter with little power - 86% of his hits were singles. His season high for homers (7) came with the Mets in his last year, thanks to the short distances down the lines of the Polo Grounds.
As a center fielder, Ashburn established major league records for the most years leading the league in chances (9), the most years with 500 or more putouts (4) and the most seasons with 400 or more putouts (9).
"I wish I'd known early what I had to learn late."
"To cure a batting slump, I took my bat to bed with me. I wanted to know my bat a little better."
"After fifteen years of facing them (pitchers) you don't really get over them. They're devious.
They're the only players in the game allowed to cheat. They throw illegal pitches
and they sneak foreign substances on the ball. They can inflict pain whenever they wish.
And, they're the only ones on the diamond who have high ground. That's symbolic.
You know what they tell you in a war - 'Take the high ground first.'"
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