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04/17/2003  8:45 AM ET 
Ashburn celebrated in new ballpark

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PHILADELPHIA -- Plans were unveiled today for the newly named Ashburn Alley, a festive outdoor entertainment area in the Phillies Ballpark dedicated to Hall of Famer and former broadcaster Richie "Whitey" Ashburn. Set to debut on Opening Day April 2004, Ashburn Alley will span the entire outfield concourse (between the Left Field and Right Field Gates) and feature a street-fair type atmosphere complete with picnic areas, family-fun amenities, treasured Philadelphia moments in baseball, enhanced concessions with plenty of Philadelphia flavor, clear views to the playing field, and a special viewing area overlooking the bullpens.

"Phillies fans and our entire organization loved Richie," said David Montgomery, Phillies General Partner and President. "No one connected with our fans better than he did. We want to celebrate the excitement Whitey provided as a player and broadcaster. We hope to make Ashburn Alley as fun and festive as he was."

The special area dedicated to Richie Ashburn spans 625 feet in length and totals 50,000 square feet. As an added treat, fans will be able to enjoy Ashburn Alley one hour before the Ballpark's gates open.

"We are deeply moved by this tribute to Richie and appreciate all of the wonderful support my late husband has received from Phillies fans over the years," said Herbie Ashburn. "We thank the Phillies organization and know somewhere up in the heavens, Richie is looking down and smiling on Philadelphia."

Ashburn Alley's Major Attractions

Click image for larger view
Click image for larger view

  • Bronze statue of Richie Ashburn running the bases (located in center field where Ashburn played for 12 years) - Created by world-renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis, this 10-foot tall bronze statue will pay homage to Ashburn's significant contribution to the Phillies' rich baseball history. Frudakis is also creating 10-foot tall bronze statues honoring Phillies legends Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt for the Phillies New Ballpark.
  • Memory Lane (an illustrated history of Philadelphia baseball) - Displayed on the back of the batter's eye walls in center field, this area will feature historic moments of the Phillies, Philadelphia A's and the Negro League teams in Philadelphia. A walk through Memory Lane concludes at the Bullpen Viewing Area, a place where fans will have close-up views into the bi-level bullpens.
  • Bull's BBQ (named after former Phillies slugging outfielder Greg "Bull" Luzinski) - Anchoring the eastern end of Ashburn Alley, Bull's BBQ will offer an outdoor picnic table environment for fans who crave barbecue pork sandwiches, ribs and chicken. "I admired Richie and am honored to have Bull's BBQ located in Ashburn Alley," said Luzinski. "I'm going to spice up the Alley a bit more, since I tend to like my barbecue with a little kick." Luzinski loves to light up the grill every chance he gets and intends to be at every game, mingling with fans.
  • Scoreboard Restaurant (the first bi-level restaurant built into a scoreboard structure) - Flanking the western end of Ashburn Alley, this restaurant is the perfect location for a bite to eat with family and friends. It offers a clear view of the playing field, Ashburn Alley, and the Center City skyline.
  • Rooftop Bleacher Seats - These fun bleacher seats will be located near the center of Ashburn Alley on top of concession buildings. The location of the seats was inspired by Shibe Park (later renamed Connie Mack Stadium), where many fans enjoyed major league games from their rooftops on 20th Street in the 1920s.
  • Merchandise and Enhanced Concessions - Ashburn Alley will feature merchandise, as well as concession stands with a variety of offerings - from traditional Ballpark selections (hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts) to Philadelphia favorites (cheesesteaks and water ice).

"Whitey would have said 'Hard to believe, Harry,'" smiled Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas as he reminisced about Ashburn. "It's not hard to believe, Whiteness - you are synonymous with Phillies baseball. And this tribute brings me great joy, as I'm sure it does all of your fans. I'm certain Richie would feel special to know that throughout every game on Ashburn Alley in the Phillies New Ballpark he will be cherished and celebrated by thousands of fans."

About Phillies Legend Richie Ashburn

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 55 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.

Construction Update

Activity continues to mount on the 21-acre Phillies Ballpark construction site:

  • There are over 400 workers on site including crane operators, iron workers, carpenters, welders, electricians, plumbers, laborers, operating engineers, roofers, tin-knockers, and masons.
  • The Ballpark's steel skeleton continues to rise: the west building framing is complete and steel is now being installed in the south building (behind home plate).
  • Concrete pouring continues on the elevated slab (main concourse) and metal decking by the scoreboard.
  • Construction of the underground service tunnel continues, where activity includes HVAC, electrical and plumbing work.
  • The Diamond Club (a premium seating area) continues to be built out.

For more information on the Phillies Ballpark and to see the Ashburn Alley press conference LIVE on video, go to phillies.com and click on the 2004 Ballpark section.





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