It has been said many times before. Death is usually untimely and unwanted. On Tuesday, September 9th, 1997, the world lost a hero. Richie Ashburn wasn't a hero because he won batting titles, or because he is enshrined in the Hall of Fame. No, he was a hero because he touched our hears and made us believe. He made us laugh at him, and we laughed at ourselves. He believed, so we believed. He loved us. We knew that. We loved him back. Through "Whitey", we came to know the child inside of us. Simple,and uncomplicated, he showed us the good things in life. He taught us how not to take life so seriously. He seemed to know where all the silver linings were hidden in those grey clouds. His ehthusiasm and competitive fire were infectious, and so was his love for baseball. It's been said so often now; Richie was family. Upon meeting him even for the first time, we felt like we knew him forever. He gave of himself so freely. We felt like it was only right to love him. Without ever knowing him, we have lost a friend. He epitomised what baesball in Philadelphia was all about. To so many, he was baseball. Hearing Whitey broadcast a Phillies gane was like being at the Vet with dad. Richie Ashburn loved life. We could see that. He made his life like a dream. We all wanted to be part of that dream, and he invited all of us to do just that. You see, Richie wouldn't have it any other way. We were important to him. We were family. Family was the cournerstone in Richie Ashburn's life, so his relationship with all of us was as important as life itself. He gave of himself freely. He made us know how much he loved all of us. He never turned any of us away. Just a few moments with him meant more than the grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth that won the game. He was funny, and he made life fun. He was sincere and he made life real. He was honest and he gave life meaning. He was compasionate, and he brought warmth. He was the player's player and the fan's fan. If we are lucky in our lifetimes, each of will have the good fortune to create just one masterpiece. Richis Ashburn did this each and every day of his life. He brought joy to so many. He put the sparkle in our eyes, because we saw one in his. He was everything a hero is suppose to be and so much more. To all of us he was a masterpiece. Loosing Richie hurts. When someone lives in your heart, their passing takes part of your heart with them. So Lord, please forgive us if we try to keep Richie here just a little while longer. You see he's family and we're not always as strong as you'd like us to be.
Visit Richie Ashburn's Hall Of Fame Tribute.
Faust Ruggiero