Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Richie Ashburn and Uniform #1

In 1979, the Philadelphia Phillies honored future Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn by retiring his uniform number (#1). For all intents and purposes, the number had been retired for many years. Ashburn was traded to the Chicago Cubs after the 1959 season for Alvin Dark, Jim Woods and Johnny Buzhardt.

When the 1960 season began, Al Dark donned uniform #1. Dark was traded to the Braves in mid-season for Joe Morgan (not THAT Joe Morgan), who "inherited" #1 from Dark.

Six weeks later Morgan was sold to the Cleveland Indians. From the day Morgan left the City of Brotherly Love, no one has stepped into the Phillies dugout with #1 on his back.

Richie Ashburn burst on the MLB scene on April 20, 1948 and assumed uniform #1. Prior to Whitey's rookie year the Phillies did not place any great significance on numero uno, at least judging by the star-quality of the wearer. During the two previous years, Johnny Wyrostek held the honor. In 1945, it was worn by Bitsy Mott, a name befitting a child's doll more so than a professional baseball player. Going back one more year we find #1 on the back of Moon Mullen, who was nicknamed for a cartoon character.

Following the trail backward one more year, we find Danny Murtaugh wearing #1 in 1943. This brings me to tomorrow's topic, famous names you may not realize were Phillies.

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