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Phillies name 2015 Ashburn Award winner

PHILADELPHIA -- On most days James Rodriguez, a member of the Phillies' ballpark operations department since 1989, does his job with little notice or recognition.

That changed Sunday, at least for a few minutes, when Rodriguez was presented with the 2015 Richie Ashburn Special Achievement Award on the field before the season-ending game against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

The award, named after the late beloved broadcaster and Hall of Fame center fielder, is given annually to the member of the organization who demonstrates the same loyalty, dedication and passion for Phillies baseball that Ashburn did. It was presented by Ashburn's daughter, Jean, and granddaughter, McKenzie.

"This just shows that [Ashburn] had a legacy out there and I'm trying to uphold it to the best of my ability. And this plaque shows that I've been doing the right thing," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez began his Phillies career working in the super boxes at Veterans Stadium. His duties now include deliveries, set-up and breakdown for special events, cleaning the clubhouses and umpire's room and general maintenance.

He was nominated for this honor by Operations/Facility Director Mike DiMuzio.

"While James' work is not 'seen' by many in the organization (he doesn't bring in marketing deals, isn't responsible for building physical items that may be viewed in the ballpark, etc.) his ability to perform his duties allows others to perform theirs," DiMuzio said.

"James quietly goes about his job making certain all deliveries are properly accounted for and is also responsible, with Tony McClean, for the maintenance of the clubhouses. James has never refused an assignment and is always looking for the next project to accomplish.

"His expanded role since we have moved to CBP has allowed the special events department to flourish. Throughout more than 25 years of employment, James rarely takes a day off and his attention to detail is superb. He is as friendly an employee as the Phillies have ever hired and has represented the ballpark operations department and the Phillies organization extremely well during his tenure."

DiMuzio also noted that Rodriguez is also considered to be the organization's best dresser, best singer, best dancer, and arguably proudest grandfather.

The fact that he works behind the scenes makes this recognition even more special, Rodriguez said.

"It's more special because it shows I'm on the right track and that I'm doing things that need to be done in a proper way," he said. "This organization is my other family. Being here is like home away from home."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for
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