Friday, May 1, 2009
Kind-of Cubs Hall of Famer: Richie Ashburn
Richie Ashburn was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1995 (back in the day when the committee actually voted players into the hall!). He was a career .308 hitter and led the National League in hitting twice. A spray hitter, he had only 29 career home runs, but had 2574 hits.
Most of you would know him as a Philadelphia Phillie, where he spent 12 of his 15 years as a player plus another 34 as a broadcaster. But he spent two years patrolling the outfield at Wrigley Field as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Topps issued two cards of Ashburn as a Cub. The first, 1960, has him in a Phillies home uniform (note the red pinstripes) taken at Connie Mack Stadium (the red seats help identify that park). The 1961 card has him in a Cubs uniform.
Ashburn was traded to the Cubs in the off-season prior to the 1960 campaign. He had led the league with a .350 average in 1958 but slipped almost 100 points in 1959. The Phillies must have figured the 32-year-old was nearing the end, so they sent him to the Cubs for three players. His two years in Chicago were decent, as he hit a combined .279. But the Cubs exposed him in the expansion draft and he was picked up by the Mets. He hit .306 for that very bad 1962 120 loss team. He retired after the season and returned to Philadelphia as a broadcaster, where he remained until his death in 1997.