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Mets Swept, Ashburn Injured

Sept. 3, 1962 - The Mets lost twice to the Pirates today in a doubleheader that proved a great deal about the remarkable competitive nature of a man named Richie Ashburn (pictured). The scores were 2-0 and 5-4. In the fifth inning of the opener, Ashburn crashed against the right-field wall while trying to catch Bill Mazeroski’s looping fly, lost his memory, and played the last four innings purely on reflex and guts. In an emotional Met clubhouse scene after the game, it was learned that he had no recollection of events following the crash. A man asked him how he felt. “I’m just a little dizzy from hitting the wall.” The man said it was tough losing a game like that. Ashburn’s jaw dropped. “You mean we lost this game?” he said. “What was the score? No, we didn’t lose it.” Joe Pignatano, a catcher who was in the bullpen when Ashburn hit the wall, overheard the exchange and immediately called the trainer, Gus Mauch. Gus ran over and said, “Rich, Rich, you all right?” Ashburn said, “I swear, Gus, I can’t remember a thing about the game. We didn’t lose, did we?” “Don’t get excited,” said the Pirates’ team physician, Dr. Joseph Finegold. “Your pulse is normal. You are rational.” Dr. Finegold turned away from Ashburn, who was now flat on his back on the training table, and whispered: “From the fifth on, this man has been playing on nothing but reflex.” As Ashburn and Mauch were about to leave for Presbyterian Hospital, Richie said to the trainer: “I’m good enough to play. I tell you I can play in the second one. I just can’t remember, that’s all.”


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