Richie Ashburn (March 19, 1927 - September 9, 1997) was an American center fielder in Major League Baseball. He was born in Tilden, Nebraska. From his youth on a farm, he grew up to become a professional outfielder and veteran broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies, and one of the most beloved sports figures in Philadelphia history.
Ashburn spent 12 of his 15 major league seasons as the Phillies' center fielder (from 1948 through 1959 - part of the famous "Whiz Kids"), during which he led the National League twice in batting average (Ashburn had a .308 lifetime batting average) and routinely led the league in fielding percentage. He played for the Chicago Cubs in 1960 and 1961. Upon his retirement from the infamous 1962 New York Mets, he became a radio/TV announcer for the Phillies starting in 1963, where he was paired for 27 seasons with the 2002 Ford C. Frick Award-winning broadcaster Harry Kalas, who joined the Phillies in 1971. During that time, Ashburn and Kalas became best friends. Ashburn also regularly wrote for The Philadelphia Bulletin and, later, The Philadelphia Daily News.
Ashburn was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Hall's Veterans Committee in 1995, and was inducted with Phillies great Mike Schmidt. Over 25,000 fans, mostly from Philadelphia, traveled to Cooperstown for the ceremony.
Ashburn died unexpectedly in his sleep of a heart attack in New York City at age 70, after broadcasting a Phillies-Mets game at Shea Stadium. A large crowd of fans paid tribute to him, passing by his coffin in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. He is interred in the Gladwyne Methodist Church Cemetery, at Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.
The center field entertaiment area at the Phillies current stadium, Citizens Bank Park, is named Ashburn Alley in his honor.