Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Life & Legacy of Phillies Richie Ashburn Celebrated

-Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

Richie Ashburn: A Baseball Life made its world premiere at the 17th Philadelphia Film Festival on Monday, April 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Prince Music Theatre. The event took place nearly 60 years after Ashburn’s first game in the Major Leagues.

“Richie Ashburn is arguably the most beloved figure in the long and storied history of Philadelphia sports,” said Dan Stephenson, writer/producer of Richie Ashburn: A Baseball Life. “He thrilled fans for over a decade with his exploits on the baseball diamond, and then spent the rest of his life entertaining generations of Phillies fans from the broadcast booth. This documentary is a celebration of Richie’s life – as well as Phillies history and the fans who loved him.”

Richie Ashburn: A Baseball Life chronicles an amazing journey that takes fans from Ashburn’s humble beginnings in Nebraska all the way to his enshrinement in the halls of baseball immortality at Cooperstown, NY. His story is told by his family and friends, teammates and colleagues, and by Richie himself in the form of archive interviews, broadcasts and rare Ashburn home movies.

Among the baseball luminaries and former players who attended the sold-out premiere were Harry Kalas, Phillies Hall of Fame Broadcaster; Robin Roberts, Phillies Hall of Famer Pitcher and Ashburn teammate; The Ashburn Family including Herberta “Herbie” Ashburn, wife/widow of Richie Ashburn, daughters Jean Ashburn, Sue Ashburn Morrison, and Karen Ashburn Hall, and sons Richard and John Ashburn; David Montgomery, Phillies President; Bill Giles, Phillies Chairman; Ruben Amaro, Jr., Phillies Assistant General Manager, Co-Founder Richie Ashburn Foundation; Mike Tollin, Hollywood Producer/Director; Maje McDonnell, Whiz Kids coach; Garry Maddox and Greg Luzinski, Outfielders, 1980 Phillies; Larry Christenson and Dickie Noles, Pitchers, 1980 Phillies; and broadcasters Larry Andersen, Tom McCarthy, Gary Matthews, Scott Franzke, Chris Wheeler and Andy Musser. The Phillie Phanatic and Phillies Ballgirls also took part.

“It‘s so wonderful how this city has embraced my father,” said Sue Ashburn Morrison. “And now, we are honored once again at this heartfelt tribute that will last a lifetime.”

An additional screening of Richie Ashburn: A Baseball Life will take place on Tuesday, April 15, 5:00 p.m., at the Prince Music Theater. For ticket purchasing locations for this and other Philadelphia Film Festival features go to www.phillyfests.com.

Ashburn was a five-time All-Star center fielder and two-time batting champion during his 12-year playing career in Phillies pinstripes (1948-59). He retired after the 1962 season with the New York Mets and joined Byrum Saam and Bill Campbell in the Phillies’ broadcasting booth the following year. His 35-year broadcasting career ended when he died on September 9, 1997. His first hit in the majors came almost 60 years ago (April 20, 1948), a single off Johnny Sain of the Boston Braves at Shibe Park. Ashburn wound up with 2,574 career hits, a .308 average and induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.

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