The Sultan of Slap and Run

By Francis Kinlaw

This article was published in the 2013 The National Pastime.

The Phillies’ Richie Ashburn hit only 29 homers— approximately one per 300 times at bat—in a 15-year career, and none of them are legendary because of their length. Eight were inside-the-parkers that never left the playing field. Exhibiting a slashing style of hitting that contrasted sharply with the “swing-from-the-heels” approach of most of his contemporaries, he could run like the proverbial wind, and he hit singles as well as anyone in the game. When one of those “singles” suddenly slipped between opposing outfielders, Ashburn’s blazing speed and impressive base-running . . .

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