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BASEBALL : Ashburn Makes Hall of Fame

March 08, 1995|From Associated Press

Richie Ashburn, a classic leadoff man during his 15-year career, and Negro Leagues pitcher Leon Day led a list of four people elected Tuesday to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

National League founder William Hulbert and 247-game winner Vic Willis also were selected by the 17-member committee.

"I appreciate the fact that I was chosen in my 50th year of pro ball," said Ashburn, now an announcer for the team he mostly played with, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The panel's voting rules were revised this year to allow it to pick up to four people, rather than the usual two. The four new honorees will join Mike Schmidt, elected by the Baseball Writers Assn. of America in January, when they are enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30.

Ashburn, 67, who ended his career in 1962, batted .308, had 2,574 hits, stole 234 bases and set major league records with his glove. He was a five-time All-Star, a two-time batting champion and had a .397 on-base percentage.

Day, 78, was considered one of the best pitchers in the Negro Leagues from 1934-39. He starred for the Newark Eagles, also playing the outfield and second base.

Willis, who died in 1947, was 247-206 from 1898-1910. He won 20 games eight times and pitched for Boston, Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the National League.

Hulbert, who died in 1882, originated the idea of organizing the National League and helped form it in 1876. He later served as president of the league from 1876 until 1882, and also was president of Chicago's team in the NL during that time.

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Five groups made 30-minute presentations to the expansion committee in Palm Beach, Fla., with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks expected to be added for the 1998 season after paying about $140 million each. . . . The Baltimore Orioles have offered free agent reliever John Franco, 34, a two-year deal worth more than $2 million per year, the Baltimore Sun reported. . . . Former Dodger left-hander Ed Vande Berg, 36, signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants.

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