August 17 1957 Alice Roth along with her husband Earl, a sports editor for the Philadelphia Bulletin, and two grandsons, Preston and Tom went to Connie Mack Stadium for a Philadelphia Phillies game. Sitting in the stands just off the third-base side they cheered on their beloved Phillies against the rival New York Giants.
During the game Phillies all-star center fielder Richie Ashburn came upon to bat. Throughout his Hall-of-Fame career Ashburn was well known for fighting off pitches and sent many a foulball into the stands. On this fateful at-bat he sent a hard line-drive straight into the stands at the third-base side. Straight into the face of poor Alice Roth; shattering her nose. The ball bounced off Alice’s destroyed nose and into the hands of another fan. When one the grandkids asked the fan for the ball the fan, wiping off chunks of Alice Roth’s face, adamantly refused.
Connie Mack Stadium’s medical staff reacted quickly to help the woman, and began to take her out on a stretcher. Unfortunately for poor Alice the bloodlust of the Gods of Baseball was not yet sated. On the very next pitch Ashburn sent another hard line-drive straight into the stands at the third-base side. Straight into the leg of poor, now gurney-bound, Alice Roth; shattering her knee. While her grandkids, still covered in the blood of their grandma, looked on in horror, Alice’s bruised and battered body was thrown from the stretcher. The medics scooped up what was left of the poor woman back on the gurney , and with full haste took her out of the stands before a third foulball could, presumably, finish her off.
The Phillies invited Preston and Tom to another game; this time watching from the relative safety of the press box. The two grandkids were given a ball, that did not break their grandmother’s face, autographed by the entire 1957 Phillies team. Alice later joked that her grandsons got the benefits and she got the broken nose. When Richie Ashburn learned about what had happened to Alice, he went to visit her in the hospital. The two became fast friends, and began a correspondence that lasted until her death, not foulball related, thirty years later.
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