Dick Allen: One Vote Shy of the Hall of Fame, Again – Cooperstown Cred

    dick allen, one of the best hitters in baseball from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, has now set a record his legions of fans hope will not be extended: he has now dropped twice to Just one vote from a plaque at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Allen was one of ten candidates on the ballot for the “Golden Days” Eras Committee, which was tasked with considering players whose primary impact on the game of baseball was between 1950 and 1969.

    From 1964 to 1974, right-handed hitter Allen can credibly be called the best of all hitters in all of major league baseball. During an era populated by Hall of Fame legends named Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Willie Mccovey, Carl Yastrzemski, and Harmon Killebrew, only Hammerin’ Hank combined the disparate skills of getting on base and hitting for power at a level approaching Allen’s performance. When he adjusted for ballpark effects, no other hitter had higher trades (on base + slugging percentage) than Richard Anthony Allen.

    Reading: Dick allen hall of fame

    Allen’s 165 adjusted trades between 1964 and 1974 were the most in all of baseball. You’d think such an extraordinary peak performance would have already resulted in a plaque at Cooperstown. You’d be wrong Despite this significant achievement, Allen never garnered more than 18.9% of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) vote in 14 attempts on the Hall of Fame ballot. the concept of ops (or its adjusted version, ops+) didn’t exist when the bbwaa was considering allen.

    the 2022 golden days vote

    on sunday december 5, when hall of fame president josh rawitch announced that the 16 member committee had selected four new hall of fame inductees (out of ten nominees), family and supporters de Allen had every right to feel a temporary moment of elation. As this article will detail, Allen was the top candidate on the ballot. But, when Rawitch announced that Gil Hodges was a new Hall of Famer, and then Jim Kaat, it occurred to the leader of the “Allen for Cooperstown” movement (Mark Carfagno) that Rawitch was reading the names alphabetically. When Rawitch finished by declaring that Minnie Minoso and Tony Oliva had also received plaques in Cooperstown, that fleeting euphoria turned to depression.

    “richard allen, dick’s son, began to cry. Also Dick’s wife, Willa. her grandson nephew. family members. friends. there was not a dry eye in the room. “People were very sad,” Carfagno said, “and then they got angry. It was unreal. We used to be so worried if Dick would be alive when he got into the Hall of Fame. Now I worry if I will be alive when it happens,” said Carfagno (who is 68).

    — bob nightengale (used today, Dec 11, 2021)

    The golden days committee was originally supposed to meet on December 6, 2020, but the vote was postponed for a year due to covid-19. In bitter irony, the day after the vote that could have brought him to the hall was supposed to take place, Allen passed away at his home in Wampum, Pennsylvania at the age of 78.

    In recent years, thanks in part to the tireless campaigning of Carfagno, a former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder who befriended Allen in the 1970s, there has been a greater appreciation for Allen’s extraordinary hitting ability.

    seven years ago (in december 2014), allen received 11 of 16 votes in the “golden era” eras committee vote for the hall of fame class of 2015, putting allen closer than ever, but sadly just a timid vote for immortality. . (Oliva also fell one vote short of a Cooperstown plaque that year, with Kaat falling two shy.) bitterness is easy to understand. Oliva got that extra vote in 2021 to get the exact number (12 of 16) required for a Cooperstown license plate. kaat and hodges also got exactly 12 votes, and minoso got 14. allen, for the second time in a row, was a vote shy.

    Because the 16 era committee members are limited to voting for four of the ten candidates, it is really difficult to elect multiple members to the hall of fame since a 75% vote count is required. This committee was clearly determined not to repeat the whitewashing of the 2015 ballot. Members rallied around five candidates, awarding 61 of a possible 64 votes to Minoso, Oliva, Kaat, Hodges, and Allen. The other five candidates (Maury Wills, Ken Boyer, Roger Maris, Billy Pierce and Danny Murtaugh) received a combined total of three or fewer. Essentially, committee members were one vote away from an internal straight. Unfortunately, it was Allen who was left without a chair when the music stopped.

    In August 2020, the Philadelphia Phillies retired Allen’s uniform number, making him the seventh member of the franchise to retire his uniform number. Allen’s #15 will never be used again. The other Phillies alumni who will be so honored also have plaques hanging in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. If this is going to happen to Dick Allen too, it won’t be until the summer of 2027; the golden days committee will meet soon in december 2026.

    this article is a mini-biography of allen’s life in baseball and explains why he deserves a plaque in cooperstown, even if that honor will now have to be conferred posthumously and delayed at least five more years.

    cooperstown badge: dick allen (1b/3b/lf)

    • phillies (1963-69, ’75-’76), cardinals (1970), dodgers (1971), white sox (1972-74), track and field (1977)
    • career: .292 ba, .378 obp, .534 slg, 351 hr, 1,119 rbi
    • career: 156 ops+, 58.7 war (wins above replacement)
    • 1964 n.l. rookie of the year (.318 ba, 29 hr, 91 rbi, 125 runs, 162 ops+, 8.8 war)
    • 1972 a.l. mvp (.308/.420/.603, 37 hr, 113 rbi, 199 ops+, 8.6 war)
    • 7-time all-star
    • led all mlb in ops+ (165) from 1964 to 1974

    (cover photo: philadelphia tribune)

    This article was originally published in August 2020. It was updated with the news that Allen fell one vote away from the Hall of Fame on the Golden Age ticket. the vast majority of the rest of the piece remains as originally written.

    elevator speech: why dick allen belongs in the hall of fame

    all you have to do is read (for the second time) the last bullet point under dick allen’s “cooperstown credential” to understand the fundamental qualification that makes him worthy of a hall of fame plaque. During his prime years (1964-74), Allen hit on base and hit for power at a combined level that was 65% better than the average major league baseball player and better than any other hitter in the game. /p>

    This is the list (ranked by ops+) of players with at least 5,000 plate appearances between 1964 and 1974:

    besides allen and frank howard, the other 8 players on this list are obviously hall of famers. However, don’t jump to put Allen in the same bucket with Howard. Hondo is 18 points behind Allen on this list. his career ops+ was 142, an excellent number but still 14 points short of allen’s 156. minimum 5,000 a year). howard is tied for 50th place.

    best operations+ in all of baseball for 11 full seasons. 18 best trades+ in history. sounds like a hall of fame to me.

    what the writers never understood

    in real life, dick allen was never near cooperstown when he was on the bbwaa ticket. The reason for Cooperstown’s snub is obvious: As noted above, during Allen’s years on that ballot (1983-97), no one had ever heard of Ops+. Sure, it’s true that slugging percentage was a well-known stat and people were beginning to realize the value of on-base percentage, but no one had put the two together. if you think about it, ops (on base + slugging percentage) is a weird, made-up stat. measures two completely different things. it would be like an nba statistician combining assists and rebounds in a single number.


    ops works because it’s fairly simple to understand and combines the two most important things regarding offensive performance into one number. the purpose of the advanced version (ops+) is to put the proper context on that player’s performance, adjusting to the ease or difficulty of a player’s ballpark or the general era in which he played. By putting that performance on a scale where 100 is the league average, you can assess the relative merits of a hitter who played in the 1960s, lacking offense, versus one who played in the supercharged 1990s.

    Anyway, when dick allen was on the bbwaa ballot, most writers focused on longevity stats like total hours or hits. Allen’s MVP trophy and solid slugging percentage clearly swayed a small percentage of voters, but not enough to come even remotely close to the 75% required for hall of fame enshrinement.

    Today is different. we understand ops+. And when you’re No. 1 on base and hitting for power over a span of eleven MLB seasons, that’s worthy of a spot in Cooperstown. that’s why dick allen should be put in the hall of fame a long time ago.

    This is a mini-biography and as such is a lengthy article. if you currently only have time for a “case for and against” i will hold back my tears and invite you to bookmark the page as you scroll down to the bottom of the piece for the detailed analysis of allen’s worth to cooperstown .

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    See also: Why Michael Carter-Williams&x27 Rookie of the Year Season Is Just the Beginning | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

    the fascinating life story of dick allen

    Besides a lack of knowledge of yet-to-be-invented trading statistics, there are other reasons Dick Allen never approached Cooperstown while he was on the writers’ ballot. The story of Allen’s MLB career is one that involves a great deal of controversy. As I will detail in the gripping story of Allen’s life in baseball, he was asked to be a kind of pioneer in a way that he was neither ready nor prepared for. he was shy and distrustful of the media. some baseball writers of this era held a grudge against players hostile to the press when it came time to vote them into the hall of fame.

    Allen also had multiple run-ins with management during his 15-year career. he was a frequent holdout from spring training during the pre-free agency era in which players had little clout to earn worth-worth salary. Allen was not a fan of following the rules at a time when African-American baseball players were expected to conform. Although many of his fellow gamers will swear on a stack of bibles that Allen was a great teammate, there was a narrative that followed him throughout his career that he was a malcontent who hurt his teams with his personality as much as he helped them. with his bat.

    controversy followed allen even regarding what he was called. when he was a teenager, he was occasionally called a “sleeper” due to a drooping eyelid, the result of a childhood accident. Shortly after he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960, the scribes of the City of Brotherly Love nicknamed him “Richie.” The new name was perhaps an homage to Richie Ashburn, but no one bothered to ask Dick how he felt about it. spoiler alert: dick never liked being called “richie”, a “boy’s name” in his opinion.

    In preparation for this feature, I read dozens of old newspaper articles and a biography on Allen, God Almighty Himself by Mitchell Nathanson. much of the biographical detail in this article is drawn from this excellent book. While reading this book, many names of other baseball stars came to mind: I thought of Jackie Robinson. I thought of tony gwynn, reggie jackson and billy martin, babe ruth, ted williams, mickey mantle, pete rose and mike schmidt. I also thought of stars from other sports, like Muhammad Ali, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson.

    allen was a student of hitting, one of the first to use videotape to analyze his swing (reminds me of gwynn). he was a rebel (like everyone else, but without the civil rights agenda) at a time when the rebellion of black athletes was not appreciated. he fell out with his managers (a la jackson and martin) and the press (williams). Like Mantle (and many other baseball players), Allen liked to drink. In his autobiography Accident, Allen recounts a spring training game in which he collided with a slippery blanket at third base: “When the dust finally settles, the umpire looks at the two of us scribbled on the ground and shakes his head. . ‘never smelled so much alcohol in my life…get your asses off before you set each other on fire.’”

    Allen liked horse racing (as did Rose), but unlike Rose, he was more interested in horses than gambling. he had no use for batting practice (iverson) and never wanted to be a role model (barkley). he demanded the best price for his services at levels players had not previously received (ruth). And, despite being the best player on the team, he was often booed by the home crowd in Philadelphia (Schmidt).

    allen had little peccadilloes that were uniquely his. he liked to wear a batting helmet on the field, simply because he preferred it to a wrinkled, sweaty cap in the back of his pocket. He liked to wear lamb chop sideburns and, thanks to that childhood eye injury, he wore glasses in the field and at the plate.

    of those who saw him play, allen had athletic ability on par with the best in the game and, during those eleven seasons, he performed at the level of the best in baseball history. When he was a rookie, his Phillies teammates were amazed by his “fast wrists, huge forearms, sprinter legs” and the 42-ounce bat he carried to the plate, the heaviest in the league since Ruth. Allen was known for hitting thunderous home runs, but also for doing inside-the-park jobs, often on the most momentous occasions, as we’ll see.

    Because he only played for 13 full seasons and due to off-field issues, allen’s performance has yet to be rewarded with the game’s top honor. We hope this article enlightens the reader with the real story about those “problems” and helps him make his own determination as to whether he agrees that it’s time to put Dick Allen in the Hall of Fame.

    dick allen: early years

    richard anthony allen was born on march 8, 1942 in wampum, pennsylvania, the same town where he died in december 2020. although allen would eventually be dubbed the wampum walloper, his family lived in the neighboring town of chewton, a about 45 miles northwest of pittsburgh’s forbes field. Allen was one of nine children raised by his mother. “Mrs. Allen,” as she was respectfully called in the community, was a god-fearing clerk. Allen’s shy father owned a garbage collection business; he was often on the road and left his family when Dick was 15 years.


    Dick and his four brothers (Coy Jr., Caesar, Hank, and Ron) were all known as superior athletes and would transform Wampum High School into a sports powerhouse in the late 1950s. All five brothers earned All-State honors in basketball; Dick and his brothers Hank and Ron all played together in 1958 and the 1960 team, captained by Dick, won the Division B State Championship. Dick earned All-American honors and most observers at the time felt he could play professional basketball. Although he was just under 6 feet tall, Dick was known for his monster dunks. He was able to touch the backboard 16 inches above the rim.

    allen received more than 100 scholarship offers to play college basketball, but decided, in 1960, to go straight to professional baseball thanks to a $70,000 signing bonus from the philadelphia phillies. at the time it was the highest bonus ever awarded to an African-American prospect. History students may view the Phillies as an odd choice for the shy and introverted Allen, given the franchise’s patchy history with race relations, but Phillies scout John Ogden ingratiated himself with Dick’s mother and the older brother, Coy, who essentially acted as Dick’s agent. Ogden had started following Dick when he was a sophomore and it was his mission to sign the phenom.

    The annual amateur draft was still years away, so ironically, all high school players were “free agents,” while their professional counterparts wouldn’t earn that right until the 1970s. recruiting star athletes to sign professional baseball contracts was not unlike the way high school stars were recruited for college scholarships. And, just as the college draft game has long been influenced by giveaways, Coy signed a scouting deal with the Phillies and was spotted driving a new car shortly after the team tattooed both Dick and his older brother. hank (who got $35,000).

    dick allen: minor leagues (1960-62)

    In 1960, Philadelphia had two Class D options for first-year players (in Tampa, FL and Elmira, NY). Coy is credited for coaxing the Phillies organization to send the 18-year old Dick to the northern location, where Hank was already playing. Dick was a shortstop in high school and that’s where he played with the Pioneers. In what was his only professional season as a shortstop, Allen forecast his long-term defensive shortcomings by committing 48 errors in 85 games for a .867 fielding percentage.

    offensively, dick had a slash line of .281 ba/.389 obp/.478 slg with 8 hrs and 42 rbi. In his first game (June 6), the wampum walloper hit his first professional home run and did so running the bases to get a job inside the park.

    dick was sent to the pioneer league in 1961; He played for the Magic Valley Cowboys in Idaho Falls. In the potato state, Allen began to show the form that earned him that $70,000 bonus. he slashed .317/.401/.526 with 21 hrs and 94 RBIs. playing second base, his defense improved but was still patchy.

    despite a productive season with the bat, the first ripples in allen’s career-long disillusionment with management occurred in the offseason when the phillies left him unprotected in the expansion draft. Either the New York Mets or the Houston Colt 45 could have robbed Dick Allen for just $50,000, but both fledgling organizations agreed. There were reports emerging from his first two years in the minors that Allen was difficult to “treat” and that he had vision problems due to the childhood accident that left him with that droopy eyelid. he soon decided to wear glasses, something he would do for the rest of his career.

    Allen’s response to the snub was to hit the ball in 1962, slashing .329/.409/.548 with 20 HR and 109 RBI for the class at Williamsport Greys. On defense, Allen was asked to change positions once again, this time moving to center field, a position for which he was unsuited despite his quickness and strong arm.

    a season in little rock (1963)

    Dick Allen played in the Pioneer League in 1961. Two years later, at the age of 21, he was asked to pioneer as the first African-American player to suit up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Just six years earlier, Governor Orville Faubus became a national figure when he used the Arkansas National Guard to stop African Americans from attending Little Rock Central High School.

    allen felt he had performed well enough in 1962 to earn a promotion to the phillies for the ’63 season, but general manager john quinn had different ideas, especially after allen had the audacity to ask increase. and so it was a little rock to play for travelers from arkansas. Shy and introverted Allen had grown up in western Pennsylvania and never experienced the kind of racism he would have to endure at Little Rock.

    unlike what happened with jackie robinson, in which he and rickey, general manager of the brooklyn dodgers branch, formed a de facto partnership to integrate the major leagues, no one asked dick allen if he wanted to be the first black star in little rock.

    “I didn’t want to be a crusader. I kept thinking, ‘why me? why do I have to be the first black player in little rock?’”

    — dick allen (baseball summary, “the human side of richie allen”, dave nightengale, 1972)

    At Little Rock, Allen received countless death threats and was often detained by police for no apparent reason. The experience scared the 21-year-old from Pennsylvania and he almost quit the game. Dick’s mother, his older brother Coy, and third base coach Joe Lonnett, who was also from western Pennsylvania and had officiated at some of Dick’s high school basketball games, talked him out of quitting. p>

    On the field, Allen was moved to left field, his fourth different position in professional baseball. At the plate, Allen continued to punch and forced eventual promotion to the major leagues. he hit 33 hrs with 97 rbi and posted a .289/.341/.550 cutoff for travelers; he was voted by fans as the team’s most valuable player.

    allen made his major league baseball debut september 3 for the phillies in milwaukee against hank aaron and the braves. After striking out and a double-play grounder in his first two at-bats, Allen doubled in the seventh in a losing effort. Overall, he hit .292 with 2 RBIs in 25 plate appearances in his first MLB Coffee Cup.

    1964 (phillies): .318/.382/.557, 29 hrs, 91 RBI, 162 ops+, 8.8 war

    Dick Allen, at the age of 22, finally became a full-time major leaguer in 1964. Following a trend, Allen was asked to play third base, his fifth different position in five years. To be sure, manager Gene Mauch didn’t put Allen in the hot corner just because of grossness or his defensive wizardry. 25 different players had taken turns at third for the Phillies in the previous 5 years. Best of the bunch (Don Demeter) had been traded in the off-season for future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning. Allen put an end to that revolving door, starting all 162 games in the hot corner in the 64th.

    allen would commit 41 errors at third (leading the n.l.) but he lived up to the hype with his bat. In addition to the numbers that can be seen in the headline, Allen led all 20 mlb teams with 125 runs scored and 13 triples. with 38 doubles, his 352 total bases were the most on the senior circuit. Though he punched like a man, he couldn’t shake the nickname Richie, bestowed on him by the Philadelphia clerks. “It sounds like he’s 10 years old,” he complained.

    It could have been a glorious summer and early fall in Philadelphia. As of August 27, Allen (with stars Johnny Callison (RF), Bunning and left-hander Chris Short) had led the Phillies to a 7-game NL lead over the Cincinnati Reds.

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    See also: Why Michael Carter-Williams&x27 Rookie of the Year Season Is Just the Beginning | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

    late summer and fall of discontent in philadelphia

    With the Phillies on a road trip in Pittsburgh on August 28, his hometown of Philadelphia erupted with three days of race riots that killed two people and injured 339. During the riots, protesters burned down several white-owned businesses near Connie Mack Stadium. In Nathanson’s book, he references a Philadelphia Tribune article in which a protester is quoted as saying, “My only regret about the riots was that we didn’t burn the goddamn stadium down.” Nathanson points out that most black residents didn’t feel that way, but the scars from those days would linger through the rest of the ’64 season.

    when the phillies returned to philadelphia (for a game on september 1), only 13,306 fans attended. The Phils won that night (thanks in part to Allen’s inside-the-park home run), but the riots had indelibly changed the atmosphere and the way fans treated the team’s rookie. While Phillies fans should have been celebrating their young star and the likelihood of the team’s first pennant since 1950, they angered him simply because of the color of his skin.

    It wasn’t the first time allen had been booed at connie mack stadium, but sports magazine reporter arnold hano noticed that the crowd booed every time allen was hit with a ball and every time he came to bat, generating a sound that said: called “deep throat, almost terrifying.”

    “although he obviously played no role in the riots himself and up to that point had been silent when it came to the politics and racial dynamics of the city, dick allen, through the color of his skin and the way he in which he said what he thought. , he had become the symbolic face that unleashed the anxiety and discontent of whites with the changing appearance of the city after the riots.

    — mitchell nathanson (god almighty himself)

    the depression of all depressions

    Following the first post-riot home game at Connie Mack Stadium, Gene Mauch’s Phillies were victorious in 10 of their next 17 games. after that, however, the team went into a slump that remains infamous to this day. On Friday, September 18 at Los Angeles, Philadelphia had a 3-0 lead late in the game, but the Dodgers tied the score with 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th and then won in the bottom of the 9th. The next night the Dodgers won in 16 innings. Bunning pitched a complete game Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium.

    The Phillies returned home Monday to begin a 7-game homestand against Cincinnati and Milwaukee. Dick Allen hit .467 in those 7 games with a home run, 5 RBI and 1,217 operations, but the team lost all 7 games, often excruciatingly. the most painful was Friday night’s loss to the Braves. the teams were tied at 3 after 9 innings; In the top of the tenth, Joe Torre hit a two-run hour to give Milwaukee the lead. In the bottom frame, Allen responded with a two-run homer (another inside the park) to tie the game. Unfortunately for the Philadelphia faithful, the Braves scored two more in the top of the 12 to win 7-5.

    Two days later, the Braves completed a four-game sweep when Bunning took a 7-run, 3-inning drubbing in the worst start of his inaugural season in Philadelphia. When he finished the homestand, the Phillies were a game behind Cincinnati after being 6.5 games ahead of St. louis and 7.5 against the reds just 10 days earlier.

    allen and the phillies went on the road in the last five games of the season. The Phils were swept by the eventual world champion Cardinals before winning the final two games of the season in Cincinnati, helping in the Redbirds’ final one-game lead over Cincy and Philly for the N.L. pennant.

    In all, during Philadelphia’s 10-game losing streak, Allen hit .415 with 1,076 trades, so he can hardly be blamed for the epic meltdown. in the final game of the season, in which the Phillies still had a chance to tie. Louis with a cardinal win and loss, Allen went 3-for-5 with 2 hours and 4 RBI while Bunning shutout in a 10-0 victory. Unfortunately for the Mauch Phils, the cards beat the Mets that day.

    despite the team’s collapse in september, allen won rookie of the year and finished 7th in the n.l. mvp voting. Due to flashier HR and RBI totals (31, 104), teammate Johnny Callison finished second to the Redbirds’ Ken Boyer in the MVP voting despite an OPS 130 points lower than Allen’s. /p>

    1965 (phillies): .302/.375/.494, 20 hrs, 85 RBIs, 145 ops+, 6.4 war

    The numbers speak for themselves. dick allen had a terrific sophomore campaign. he made his first all-star team (chosen as a starter at third base), played in 161 games and contributed 31 doubles, 14 triples and 15 stolen bases to go along with 20 hits from him.

    however, allen’s excellent sophomore season was marred by a mid-season feud with utility veteran frank thomas. there’s something about that name for a major league baseball player that apparently requires a big man. The most famous Frank Thomas (the “Big Pain”) was listed at 6’5″ and 240 pounds; he hit 521h, won two mvps and was elected to the hall of fame in 2014. the outspoken thomas of this story is listed on his baseball reference page at 6’3″, 200lbs and was called the “big donkey” by his fellow Philadelphians.

    The eldest Thomas (now 91) was best known for his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he made three all-star teams and finished fourth in the N.L. from 1958. voting mvp. In July 1965, Thomas was a 36-year-old utility player; The Phillies were the fifth team he had teamed for since transferring to Cincinnati in January 1959. During his career (1951-66), the right-handed slugger hit 286 in 6,285 at-bats, the 14th-most home runs in the entire mlb during those years.

    the fight

    Frank Thomas (

    Thomas, on July 2nd, had struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance after unsuccessfully trying to bunt with runners at the corners. According to Nathanson’s book (in which he quotes Allen himself from his autobiography Crash), Thomas swung and missed during batting practice the next day, after which Callison said “Hey Lurch! Why don’t you try to bunt instead?” (The “Lurch” moniker was in reference to Thomas’ resemblance to the large manservant on The Addams Family).

    what happened next is that thomas said something to allen, who was standing next to callison near the cage. Accounts of exactly what Thomas said differ depending on who is telling the story, but whatever he said was perceived by Dick as a racist comment. Allen then entered the cage and punched Thomas in the chest; The big donkey responded by swinging his bat, hitting Allen on the left shoulder. Allen then retaliated with a flurry of punches before the two big, strong players could be separated by their teammates.

    In the post-fight game, Philadelphia lost that night despite a bases-clearing triple from Allen and a pinch-hit home run from Thomas that tied the game. Still, not wanting any ill will to fester among teammates, the Phillies put Thomas on waivers after the game. Immediately after the fight, Allen and his teammates were forbidden to speak on the subject, but Thomas, who was no longer on the team, was free to tell his side of the story. He said that Allen “cost me my job” and claimed that he had tried to apologize. and so dick allen became the villain.

    Regardless of where the truth lies, many Phillies fans sided with Thomas and booed Allen relentlessly, with some throwing things at him from the stands. He was cheered when he doubled and tripled in a 1-0 win against Pittsburgh and when he hit a massive grand slam the next night against San Francisco, but then the booing resumed. Allen and his wife received death threats.

    as bill conlin, the late news writer for the philadelphia daily, told filmmaker mike tollin, the philadelphias “allowed 2 million people to come up with their own version of what happened. It was a catastrophic event in Allen’s career and in the history of the baseball club.”

    “richie allen might have been the greatest player to ever play the game…the incident that happened…was an unfortunate thing…the philadelphia fans crucified him because they liked me.”


    — frank thomas (as told to mike tollin, published in the philadelphia inquirer, july 2015)

    For the season, the Phillies finished with a record of 85-76, finishing sixth in the National League, 11.5 games behind the pennant-winning Los Angeles Dodgers.

    note: tollin, the acclaimed filmmaker behind “the last dance,” has been working on a dick allen documentary for years and hoped to release it in 2022 if allen had been inducted into the hall of fame. With Allen falling one vote short of the Hall of Fame again, the timeline for the release of Tollin’s work is unknown.

    1966 (phillies): .317/.396/.632, 40 hrs, 110 RBIs, 181 ops+, 7.5 war

    Dick Allen’s 1966 season was one of the best of his 15-year MLB career. The 40-hour total was the most of his career and second-most in the league for Henry Aaron. those 40 home runs came in just 141 games, thanks to a shoulder injury. In addition to driving in 110 runs, Allen also scored 112 in the injury-shortened season. his .632 slugging percentage and 1,017 ops were the best in the n.l.

    Allen’s 1966 season-ending injury occurred on April 29 at Wrigley Field on a successful stolen second base attempt. X-rays showed a severe bruise and slight dislocation of his right shoulder.

    Allen made four pinch-hit appearances before returning to the lineup on May 27 in San Francisco. Because Allen’s injured shoulder limited his ability to throw from the hot corner, Gene Mauch played his slugger in left field, thinking it was the best place to hide Allen on defense while he kept his bat in the field. alignment. the “hide” part of mauch’s plan didn’t work as well as the “keep the bat in the lineup” part.

    In the first few weeks of his return to action, Allen couldn’t throw the ball more than 50 feet. to compensate, players holding the shortstop and third base positions would run into left field on any ball hit in that direction, serving as a super-short range cut man. As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Frank Dolson put it in his June 3 column, shortstop Bobby Wine was the “most valuable sprinter to come to town since Bob Hayes was in the Penn relays.”

    exactly 10 weeks after injuring his right shoulder, allen returned to third base and started all but one game at the phillies’ hot corner for the rest of the season. In what was a stellar campaign with the bat, Allen hit two home runs in the span of three weeks. On August 1, Allen hit another inside-the-park home run to give the Phillies a 6-5 victory over Houston; In this case, Allen’s cause was helped by Astros center fielder Jim Wynn crashing into the outfield wall, a collision that would sideline Wynn for the rest of the season.

    18 days later, against the mets, allen finished the game in the bottom of the 10th with a massive hit that cleared the first billboard on the roof of left field. The tater was his 30th of the season and ranked (according to the Inquirer’s Allen Lewis) among the hardest and longest he had hit in his first three years at Connie Mack Stadium.

    for the season, philadelphia finished fourth in the n.l. while Allen finished fourth in the MVP voting, earning a first-place vote while finishing behind Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays.

    1967 (phillies): .307/.404/.566, 23 hrs, 77 RBIs, 174 ops+, 5.3 war

    In what was an almost annual tradition, Dick Allen dropped out of training camp in the spring of 1967 in search of a better contract. After his monstrous 1966 campaign, Allen felt he had to be paid. Allen’s demand was reportedly for $100,000, an unprecedented amount for a fourth-year player. The 25-year-old superstar’s negotiating tactics confounded general manager John Quinn because Allen refused to negotiate. just a year earlier, newly elected hall of famer marvin miller (another baseball figure who didn’t live long enough to enjoy his induction ceremony) took over what was formerly a baseball players association. ineffective mlb. in 1967 there were no arbitration rights for a player entering his fourth season.

    eventually, team owner bob carpenter stepped in and gave in to his superstar (as he had in a previous dispute). the result was an $85,000 deal, making him the highest-paid player on the team. the total was $5,000 more than the jim bunning deal; the 13-year veteran was coming off a magnificent season of his own. According to the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin (as reported in Nathanson’s book), Allen’s contract made him the highest-paid player in Phillies history, the highest-paid fourth-year player in baseball history, and also the highest paid player of 25 years. years in the history of the game.

    Even though allen’s $85,000 seems like a pittance compared to today’s salaries, it was still roughly what $650,000 would be today. It was enough to live on and, for Allen, it gave him the freedom to make his own rules and not follow those set by manager Gene Mauch. If Allen wanted to skip batting practice and show up shortly before the game, he would simply pay Mauch’s fine. after all, he could afford it.

    Still, the connie mack stadium boos clearly expected superhuman feats from their $85,000 star: stan hochman of the philadelphia inquirer compared the boos in philadelphia to wine: “each year’s vintage had its own unique characteristics.” He noted that the 1967 version “was noticeably thicker” and contained an “envious grunting noise because Allen had asked for a big raise.”

    still, despite his frequent tardiness to the ballpark, allen was always ready for the first pitch. he missed only 5 innings in the team’s first 78 games, and was picked up early in a couple of blowouts. However, on July 8, the day it was announced that Allen would be the NL’s starting third baseman in the All-Star game, Mauch benched his slugger for being late. The next day, in the final game of a 10-game homestand, Allen took batting practice and returned to the starting lineup.

    “I don’t want to be a superstar”

    In the game itself, Allen hit a mammoth, game-tying home run (estimated 500 feet) in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Phillies win 4-3 in the extra inning over the cardinals. As reported by investigator Allen Lewis, “The ball passed the center field fence midway between the flagpole and the light tower.” Lewis also noted that Jimmie Foxx had cleared the fence at that location in the 1930s: “The fence at the time was only 10 feet high. It is now 32 feet tall and Allen’s ball left the park at least 40 feet high, and it is the first ball to leave the park to the left of the light tower since the height of the fence was raised.” .

    after the game, allen sat at his locker and talked to the assembled reporters, something he didn’t do often. he went to great lengths to explain himself to the scribes who didn’t feel he cared enough about the game.

    “I don’t want to be a superstar…. I hate anyone with a hammer over my head. I don’t think I can handle an eight to five job…I know my own responsibilities. I have to do things as I see fit… I know many times that I am late for something that is difficult for me. I know it’s hard for me but I prefer not to give reasons.”

    — Dick Allen (July 9, 1967)

    Two days later, at the Midsummer Classic in Anaheim, Allen hit a solo home run to lead off the second and give the N.L. a 1-0 lead. Tony Perez replaced Allen in the 10th inning and won the game 2-1 on a solo shot from Catfish Hunter in the top of the 15th.

    Allen played every inning of each of the Phillies’ next 42 games, but the boos continued. One of his most notable hitting feats was a three-run opposite field home run in the bottom of the 12th inning of a mid-August game against the Chicago Cubs. After the game, he told the media that he wanted to “get out of Philly.”

    Unfortunately, Allen’s season came to an end eight days after his heroics and public trade request. he cut his right hand and wrist while he and a friend pushed a disabled ’55 ford he was playing with. the accident severed two tendons and the ulnar nerve and could have ended his career if the cuts had been more severe.

    Even in his injury-shortened season (122 games played), the writers noted Allen’s productivity, giving him enough votes to rank 19th in the MVP voting.

    1968 (phillies): .263/.352/.520, 33 hrs, 90 RBIs, 160 ops+, 3.5 war

    In the spring after his serious wrist injury, Dick Allen definitely needed batting practice, but in his typical independent style he preferred to do it on his own time, using a coin-operated batting range. Due to concerns about his ability to throw with his healed right hand (not to mention the 35 errors he made at the hot corner in 1967), the Phillies moved Allen back to left field for the ’68 season. p>

    Due to concerns about the injury, Quinn wanted to give Allen a conditional contract based on his hitting ability at his previous level, but Carpenter stepped in again, giving Allen his same salary with no strings attached. That lodging didn’t change Allen’s desire to get out of the city that showed him so little brotherly love.

    the problems of the 1967 season (the incessant booing and the dispute with manager gene mauch) worsened in the 1968 season. furthermore, allen, with his right hand and wrist, not fully healed and sensitive to cold weather, he struggled to repeat his magnificent offensive production of the previous four seasons. In the first 18 games of the season, Allen had a respectable 3 hours with 13 RBIs but an unusually weak slash line (.250/.281/.467). Twice in late April, the 26-year-old slugger was relegated to pinch duty because the cold hurt his surgically repaired hand.

    the feud between dick allen and gene mauch comes to a head

    Pinterest (from 1964)

    On the last day of April, Allen wasn’t in the starting lineup but it wasn’t because of the cold or his right hand. For a Tuesday afternoon game at Shea Stadium in New York, the Phillies’ left fielder did not arrive at the stadium until 20 minutes before game time. For this, Mauch removed him from the lineup. Two days after the benching, Allen began an 18-game hot streak in which he slashed .344/.461/.557, culminated by a 3-run, 450-foot blast to right-center field on a late May Sunday afternoon in St. Louis.

    Following the team’s return to Philadelphia, the Allen-Mauch relationship derailed, ultimately ending with Mauch’s firing just under three weeks later. The drama began when Allen was late for a Twilight doubleheader on Wednesday night (May 29), the twin bill necessitated by a shower the night before. Despite the fact that he was late, Allen was included in the lineup for both games. however, he was benched on friday and sent home on saturday by coach george myatt because he noticed liquor on his breath.

    Although the media didn’t report it for over a week, either Mauch had suspended his mercurial slugger on a day-to-day basis or Allen was deliberately excluding himself from games in protest of the manager’s rules. and fines. Allen was out of the lineup for an entire seven-game road trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles, with the disgruntled slugger apparently openly campaigning for a trade to the Giants. As Bill Conlin describes the strange events to Mitchell Nathanson (in the book Almighty God Himself), after the first inning of each game at Candlestick Park, Allen would walk out into the outfield and chat with Jimmy Ray Hart, Willie Mays, and Ollie Brown before to sit down with the Phillies bullpen team.

    This is one of those tales where it seems like both sides of the story have a grain of truth. Regardless, Carpenter intervened, reducing Allen’s fines and ordering Mauch to return him to the lineup. On Tuesday, June 11, Dick Allen was batting third for the Phillies. Of course, Allen marked his return by hitting a deep opposite-field home run off the Astros’ Larry Dierker. A few days later, in what seemed like an oft-repeated “him or me” scenario in sports history, Gene Mauch was fired.

    new pattern, new rules

    Philadelphia’s new manager (Bob Skinner) took the reins on June 16, 1968. At age 36, Skinner was just two years removed from his playing days. In 1967 he had led the AAA Phillies (the San Diego Padres) to the Pacific Coast League title. Though Skinner (a former Marine) believed in setting rules, he too was eager to get along with the team’s superstar in this, his first big-league managerial job. As for that superstar, Dick Allen initially began testing the waters with the new pattern of him wearing his batting helmet on the field, something Mauch had banned.

    See also: Buffalo Bills’ 2019 free-agent signings: John Brown a deep threat for QB Allen – Buffalo Bills Blog- ESPN

    allen immediately warmed to his new manager, slashing .356/.414/.754 with 12 hours and 27 RBIs in the first 30 games of skinner’s tenure. the team won 17 of those 30 games but they weren’t really in contention, with the st. louis cardinals 11 games ahead in pursuit of n.l. pennant. Notable during the hot streak were two solo home runs Allen hit off future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (then just 21 years old) on July 15 at Shea Stadium. After an opposite field tater in the first inning just below the scoreboard, Allen hit the Ryan Express for a monstrous blast approximately 50 feet above ground level from the light tower in left center field. Phillies reliever and math whiz Dick Hall, who watched the explosion from the bullpen, estimated it was a 472-foot shot.

    However, beginning with an 0-for-6 performance in a 12-inning loss on Monday, July 16, Allen entered one of the worst hitting slumps of his young career. in 27 games, he slashed just .133/.243/.256 with 3 hours and just 8 RBIs. the phillies lost 19 of those games and all hopes of winning the pennant were dashed.

    philadelphia finished in 7th place in the n.l., 21 games behind st. Luis As for Allen, he played in all 107 games for his new manager and finished in style, hitting 3 home runs with 7 RBIs in the season finale against the New York Mets at Shea.

    1969 (phillies): .288/.375/.573, 32 hrs, 89 RBIs, 165 ops+, 3.7 war

    dick allen still wanted out of philadelphia, but he returned to the phillies for the 1969 season. management was unable to come up with an acceptable trade, and the new york mets are one of the most publicly mentioned teams as potential suitors. not surprisingly, the mets had some interest; No one in the ’68 Mets had hit more than 15 popes and the wampum wallopper had 1,043 career operations against New York, with 25 hours in just 338 at-bats.

    In late March, Allen switched positions yet again, this time from left field to first base. Since he had never liked playing on the left, Allen was pleased to move to a position near the bench. Allen didn’t exactly forget Gil Hodges as a defensive specialist early on (he was second in the National League with 16 errors), but it was clearly the position he was best suited for, especially since his right shoulder had never recovered. completely. from his injury in 1966. That same shoulder caused him to miss six games in April, but overall, it was a good opening month for the 27-year-old star (he slashed .346/.404/.673 with 3 hours and 10 rbi).

    on may 2, allen missed the team’s early morning flight to st. louis and then missed another flight later that same day; he finally didn’t show up at st. louis until 25 minutes into the second game of the phillies series. when he was asked about it, he barely apologized: “those early flights are not good. traffic is bad…they had a chance to get rid of me last winter and they didn’t. it’s your fault. Allen was fined for missing those two games but, other than that, he didn’t face any consequences for missing him.

    Returning to the lineup, Allen continued to punish the ball, posting a 1,082 with 16 hrs and 36 RBIs in his next 40 games. But on June 24, Allen missed a full doubleheader in New York. Skinner’s patience ended; he suspended his slugger indefinitely without pay. Skinner had accepted the fact that there would be rules for 24 players and a different set for Allen, but the lack of games was what Skinner called “one of the biggest felonies that can happen.” Allen would later blame his absence on bad traffic, but was defiant when he learned of his suspension, telling Stan Hochman on the Philadelphia Daily News, “Well, I need a vacation.” He also promised that he would never play for the Phillies again.

    dick allen’s “vacation” lasted a month (he missed 31 games in total). During his suspension, Allen disappeared.

    “I isolated myself from everyone, including my family… sportswriters followed me like I was a mass murderer, but I covered my tracks well.”

    — dick allen, in his autobiographical accident

    As he had during several contract disputes, team owner Bob Carpenter stepped in and, by agreeing to trade Allen in the off-season, convinced his star to return. Allen was back with the Phillies on July 20, the same day that Neil Armstrong took “one small step for mankind” by walking on the moon. His teammate Cookie Rojas joked, “This has got to be the best day in baseball history. astronauts go down to the moon and richie allen goes down to earth.”

    Carpenter, who reduced the daily fines Allen had been racking up, was criticized in the press for being too accommodating to his unruly player. Skinner, who had gotten off to a good start with his temperamental star, resigned a few weeks later when Allen decided to skip an exhibition game. “Now I know what the mauch gene went through,” Skinner said. “You can fine Allen and he just laughs at you. he negotiates with the front office, makes his own private deal with him and it’s like paying him back directly. I don’t want to continue running this club under the circumstances.”

    Courtesy: Mike Tollin

    By his normal lofty standards, Allen slumped in his final 51 games for Philadelphia, slashing just .257/.355/.444 for interim manager George Myatt. Towards the end of what was a lost season (the Phillies lost 99 games overall), Allen started doodling with his cleats in the dirt around the first base bag. One night, in what was either a joke or a provocation to the Philly fans who loved to voice their displeasure, he “wrote” the word BOO.

    Five days after the conclusion of the ’69 campaign, Carpenter kept his word. the phillies dealt their best player to the st. Louis Cardinals in a six-player deal that sent Tim McCarver and Curt Flood to Philadelphia. Famously, Flood (a 6-time Gold Glove center fielder) refused to tell the Phillies. flood ended up suing Major League Baseball in the landmark case that eventually paved the way for players to finally get free agent rights.

    1970 (Cardinals): .279/.377/.560, 34h, 101 rbi, 146 ops+, 2.3 war

    the marriage between the st. louis cardinals and dick allen should have been made in heaven. this was a franchise that had won 3 of the previous 6 n.l. pennants and already had two established African-American stars, future Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. Gibson in particular, at 34 years old, was one of the best players in the game. For Allen, who “never wanted to be a superstar,” being a member of a larger cast should have been perfect. the red birds now had the big power bat they were missing.


    Although he never wanted to be a superstar, when it came to his salary demands Allen very clearly wanted to be paid like a superstar. He initially asked for $150,000, which would have made him the highest-paid player in the game of baseball. Owner August A. Busch was not impressed. With the 25-year old Steve Carlton also holding out, Busch did something that Bob Carpenter never did: he simply renewed the players’ contracts unilaterally. It was “take it or leave it” and, ultimately, Allen decided to “take it” to the tune of $90,000.

    Even in a new environment, Allen couldn’t shake the nickname he didn’t like. bob broeg, the legendary writer of st. louis post-dispatch and sporting news, noted that the new cardinal “likes to be called a jerk,” but referred to him as “richie allen” anyway.

    With the Cardinals, Allen played primarily first base, but began the season on the hot corner due to life-threatening kidney disease that had affected Mike Shannon.

    In his Redbird debut, playing in Montreal against Gene Mauch’s Expos, Allen went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles and a game-tying home run in the top of the eighth inning, helping St. louis to a 7-2 victory. when the cards played their first home game in st. Louis two days later, the team’s new No. 3 hitter received a standing ovation. In his third game at Busch Stadium, Allen threw a 450-foot potatoe against future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver into the rear of the bullpen in left center field. he blew kisses and doffed his cap to adoring fans.

    Allen showed off his flair for the dramatic when the Phillies came to town, giving the right-handed slugger his first chance to face off against his former teammates. In a pitching matchup of future Cooperstown inductees (Bunning and Carlton), the two Hall of Famers tied zeros until the bottom of the ninth inning. The first two batters reached bunning, bringing Allen to the plate. Allen proceeded to hit an 0-2 pitch over the right center field wall for a 3-run home run.

    The following night against his former teammates, Allen went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs that included a two-run blast on the top deck. according to bill conlin of the philadelphia daily news, the ball didn’t stop rising until it hit an obstruction that turned out to be “the concrete lining of the upper deck about 80 feet high.”

    Ten days later, the Cardinals traveled to Philadelphia and gave Allen a meeting with “adoring” fans at Connie Mack Stadium. Although the Redbirds would lose, Allen homered in the ninth inning to delight (or annoy) the Philadelphia faithful. Two days later, Allen hit two long balls (burning on both again), driving in all three runs in a 3-0 victory.

    At the All-Star break, Allen had 25 hours and 72 RBIs and was voted the National League’s starting first baseman for the Summer Classic, narrowly edging out future Hall of Famer and reigning the national league. mvp willie mccovey for the honor.

    Despite Allen’s solid first half, the Red Schoendienst Cardinals were generally a disappointment, reaching the break 9.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the N.L. East. The Red Birds would not compete for the remainder of the 1970 campaign. Still, after 117 games, Allen had 33 hours left with 100 RBI and a .926 ops. Unfortunately, in the second game of a doubleheader on August 14, Allen injured his right hamstring.

    It was initially believed that the injury would keep Allen out for 7-10 days but, as is so often the case with hamstring pulls, it kept him on the shelf much longer; Allen missed virtually the entire rest of the season. After a pair of pinch-hit starts in late August, Allen was able to start in two games on September 8 and 9. The first of those openings was at Connie Mack Stadium, which was scheduled to be replaced in 1971 by Veterans Stadium. On his last bat in the ballpark, called home to six often miserable seasons, Allen hit an eighth-inning home run off Rick Wise into the left-center field bleachers. After blowing kisses to the fans/ tormentors of him, Allen exited the game and left before the Philadelphia scribes could question him about his last hurrah.

    allen played the next two nights before being shut down for the rest of the season. Even though he missed 40 games, Allen led the Cardinals in home runs and RBIs. Despite that level of productivity, four days after the end of the season he was traded again, this time to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    as mitchell nathanson pointed out in god almighty himself, quoting pitcher jim brosnan, cardinals owner gussie busch “neither forgets nor forgives” and possibly forced the trade, not wanting to deal with another hurdle in spring training. Also, there were rumors of dissension in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, with manager Red Schoendienst later telling general manager Bing Devine “you wanted it, I didn’t.”

    devine said all the right things (“if there were any major morale issues, I’m not aware”) but the value st. Louis received in exchange for Allen (second baseman Ted Sizemore and backup catcher Bob Stinson) provides circumstantial evidence that the Redbirds were trading from a position of weakness. the company line was that the cards needed a new second baseman (right) and that sizemore (the 1969 n.l. rookie of the year and a .306 hitter in 1970) was the best available.

    1971 (dodgers): .295/.395/.468, 23 hrs, 90 RBIs, 151 ops+, 5.4 war

    dick allen was upset about being waived by the cardinals after only one season, but he also enjoyed putting on a dodgers uniform for the first time. At his introductory press conference, he noted that his family headed to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh every time the Dodgers came to town and that it was “special” to wear the uniform of the team that broke the color barrier.

    Whether he would fit into the clubhouse culture of future Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston was another question. Alston reportedly once threatened to quit if the Dodgers ever acquired the controversial star, but backed off once it actually happened. A perennial source of conflict was resolved early when Allen signed his 1971 contract ($105,000) in November 1970.

    As it was throughout his career, where to play Allen was an issue. The Dodgers clearly needed his power bat (the team hit 87 in 1970 compared to Allen’s 34 in three-quarters of a season in St. Louis) but they already had a first baseman. Wes Parker was a four-time Gold Glove winner and finished fifth in the N.L. 1970. MVP voting thanks to a year of career with the stick (.319 ba, 10 h, 47 doubles, 111 rbi). Alston and the Dodgers wanted to give future 10-time all-star Steve Garvey his first shot at hot corner, so Allen started the season in left field.

    However, Garvey, 22, wasn’t ready for prime time, offensively or defensively, so Allen ended up in the hot corner in late June. Allen continued to struggle defensively at third; his 15 errors were 5th in the n.l. despite the fact that he only played 67 games in the position. Offensively, Allen got off to a terrible start, slashing .230/.340/.370 with just 4 hours and 20 RBIs in his first 40 games at Dodger Blue. The team went 18-22, putting them 11 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the N.L. west.

    As of May 27, Allen and the team warmed up, but were still only 3 games over .500 and 8.5 games behind after 105 games. However, for the rest of the season, the team began to chip away at the Giants’ lead and Allen was in a pennant race for the first time since 1964. The team won 35 of its last 57 games and finished a heartbreaking game. behind the giants in pursuit of the division. Overall, Allen’s home run total was down (23 in 155 games), but he still produced more than 151 ops, while leading the team in multiple offensive categories (HR, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, and slugging %). ).

    Still, the shy, introverted star never quite fit the “Dodgers way,” specifically with regard to his late arrivals at the ballpark and his resistance to the team’s efforts to involve him in public relations. In December, he was traded for the third time in three falls, this time to the Chicago White Sox. In this case, the Dodgers got real value in return with future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and future 288-game winner Tommy John coming to Los Angeles. in a three-team deal.

    embed from getty images

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    change to chicago

    the decision to trade dick allen, based on his personality rather than his production, was something the dodgers would come to regret, at least during the 1972 season. unlike red schoendienst and walter alston, the Allen’s new manager on Chicago’s south side (Chuck Tanner) was really excited at the prospect of having Allen on his team. Tanner lived in New Castle, Pennsylvania, about eight miles from Allen’s hometown of Wampum. Tanner knew both Dick and his mother and played basketball against Dick’s shy older brother when he was a kid. Tanner, who would go on to win the 1979 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, was a “player manager.” In many ways, he was the boss Allen needed because he believed in treating each player differently, based on that player’s experience, skill, and needs.

    A couple of days after the trade, the team’s general manager, Stu Holcomb, bragged that the club already had more than $100,000 in season ticket sales, a comment Allen likely picked up on. The constant contract disputes Allen had in his career were due in part to his keen awareness that he was a ticket-selling star and that, even as he drew what was the top dollar at the time, team owners made far more money. with the. efforts than him.

    The White Sox offered Allen a 5% raise on the $105,000 he had earned in 1971 and also, as a gesture of goodwill, became the first team to officially recognize the star’s preferred first name, ” dick”. It seems strange today that it took eight seasons of MLB for a superstar to be called what they preferred, but that’s what happened. the name “change” was welcomed by allen but the salary offer was not. Upset that he was asked to move his family again, Allen contemplated quitting the game. he was silent for months and was out of spring training for 41 days until he signed for $135,000 on April 1, 1972.

    1972 (white sox): .308/.420/.603, 37 hrs, 113 RBIs, 199 ops+, 8.6 war

    Two weeks after signing his new contract and playing his best position (first base), Dick Allen started his White Sox career strong, hitting a go-ahead ninth-inning home run in what turned out to be a failed effort. Eight days later, he hit his first home run at Comiskey Park, finishing his first 8 games with the Chisox with a .452 batting average and 1,288 ops. Three days later, Allen hit a 2-run tater on the upper deck to give Chicago its seventh straight win. A couple of days after that, in a misguided effort, Allen hit the upper deck of the opposite field at Tiger Stadium which George Langford of the Chicago Tribune estimated he would have traveled 450 feet.

    one of the highlights of the first half of the season for allen and the white sox was in the second half of a doubleheader on sunday against the new york yankees. Tanner chose to keep his star first baseman out of the lineup for the final cup, giving a player who had played every inning of the team’s first 41 games a break. Allen never expected to appear in Game 2, but was called up to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning when left-handed reliever Sparky Lyle came out of the bullpen to protect a 4-2 lead with two runners on. Allen hit the first pitch on the upper deck for another home run. one of allen’s teammates told the story this way:

    “(dick was) sitting in the whirlpool, stark naked, drinking j&b right out of the bottle…turn to the 9th inning and we’re dressing him up and dick has no idea where he is…so dick goes over there up and (me and ed hermann) say ‘my god, he has to hit and he can’t even see; he’s half in the bag.’ Sparky Lyle was known for throwing breaking balls on the first pitch, and he threw a big curveball at it and Dick swung around and hit it on the top deck. now dick runs to first base and stops…he had no idea he hit a home run. no clue at all. he ran to all the bases and stopped…only a couple of us knew he had been there with the j&b and drank half the bottle.”

    — jay johnstone, white sox outfielder (in mitchell nathanson’s almighty god himself)

    Allen’s fast start in Chicago earned him the starting nod at first base for the American League; he was the overall leading vote-getter in the fan vote for the A.L. He went 0 for 3 in the Mid-Summer Classic but smashed two home runs in the team’s first game after the break. On the last day of July, Allen hit another two home runs (in Minnesota) but neither one left the yard. He legged out two inside-the-park home runs off future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, driving in 5 runs in the process.

    That game sparked a 12-game winning streak for Chicago in which they won 10 games to move to a tie for first in the A.L. west with oakland a’s. During that 10-2 stretch, Allen was responsible for another victory with an RBI double against the Texas Rangers. On August 23, Allen hit a massive blast in the raised center field bleachers that was estimated to be 460 feet to lift the Chisox to victory and first place in the division.

    The White Sox were in first place in the West through Aug. 28, but the A’s have won 24 of their last 35 games to win the division by 5.5 games. Allen “smashed down” down the stretch with 21 RBIs and .894 RBIs in his last 27 games. Once the team had been mathematically eliminated from the postseason, Tanner gave his star the final six games.

    allen finished the season as the American league leader in home runs, RBIs, walks and slugging percentage and led all major league baseball with his .420 obp and (in modern metrics) his 199 ops+. In November, Allen was named the Most Valuable Player in the A.L. he got 21 out of 24 possible first-place votes and was voted second by the three writers who chose someone else. He even showed up at Comiskey Park to recognize the honor.

    1973 (white sox): .316/.394/.612, 16 hrs, 41 RBIs, 176 ops+, 2.9 war

    Following his dominant MVP campaign, the White Sox and Stu Holcumb rewarded Dick Allen with the largest contract in Major League Baseball history, a three-year deal worth an estimated $675,000. Even if the amount seems insignificant by modern standards, the contract was still worth $3.8 million in today’s dollars and, on its annual basis of $225,000, gave Allen an even higher salary than Hank Aaron.

    Regardless, the contract would prove to be the triggering event that soured the honeymoon between the White Sox and their first baseman. that sour occurred on two fronts. First, Holcumb paid Allen’s salary in part by squeezing salary concessions out of many of his teammates. plus, as has happened countless times in the decades since, the media became obsessed with dollars.

    On the field, nothing was wrong at first, as Allen, 31, continued to hit like a future member of Cooperstown. he hit a home run on opening day for the second year in a row and had 5 hours with a .323 batting average and 1,103 operations after his first 16 games. The White Sox enjoyed a 9-game win streak in late April and early May and spent most of May and June in first place in the A.L. west.

    Allen’s talent for the big time was on display on a Monday night in late May when he hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 21st inning, capping a game that had been suspended in the 17th inning two nights before. . when the White Sox began a West Coast road trip on June 27, they were just a half-game out of first. his reigning mvp was slashing .315/.396/.626 with 16 hrs and 41 RBI.

    Unfortunately, Allen’s season essentially ended on June 28 when he threw a high throw at first base and collided with Mike Epstein of the California Angels. The collision resulted in a small fracture of Allen’s left fibula. The initial diagnosis was that Allen would miss between one and four weeks, but it turned out the fracture nearly ended his ’73 season. Since the injury occurred in late June, Allen was once again the AL vote leader in All-Star voting despite the fact that he was unable to play.

    allen returned on July 31 and went 3-for-4, but failed to start the next day and was relegated to pinch-hitting the next two nights. two days after allen’s second effort off the bench, still in significant soreness in his leg, tanner speculated that his star slugger might miss the rest of the season, that there was no point in “jeopardizing his career ”. The White Sox were now out of the question and Tanner’s words were prophetic. three weeks later it was official. Allen was ready for the season.

    1974 (white sox): .301/.375/.563, 32 hrs, 88 RBIs, 164 ops+, 3.8 war

    As was his wont, Dick Allen skipped parts of spring training in 1974, recording only six at-bats. however, unlike so many springs in the past, it was not a contract dispute; I was in the second year of his mega contract. This time, he was simply wondering if he wanted to keep playing baseball, and he told the Chicago Tribune’s Robert Markus that he nearly dumped him on opening day in Chicago. In a headline that foreshadowed the future, Markus’ article was headlined “Allen Almost Quits Friday, Might Still”. Without really explaining why, the often self-centered player told Markus that he was worried he was hurting the team and Chuck Tanner in particular.

    Retirement would have to wait a bit. Allen had another great first half (slashing .302/.369/.601 with 26 hours and 70 RBIs). For that effort, he was once again selected as the American League’s first starting catcher for the All-Star game.

    Since the game was being played at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh (not far from Allen’s hometown of Wampum), this should have been the “Dick Allen All-Star” game. the individualistic and private player, however, wanted none of that. He was nowhere to be found on Monday (deciding to spend his day off in Kentucky for a one-year auction), then skipped the commissioner’s lunch on Tuesday, as well as pregame practice. he finally arrived at the park 42 minutes before kick-off. he went 1-for-2 with an rbi single in his last appearance in the midsummer classic.

    embed from getty images

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    The Chisox reached the All-Star break in second place in the A.L. West (5 games behind defending two-time World Series champion Oakland A’s) but lost 5 of his first 6 games after the break to drop out of contention permanently. Even as the team faded, Allen continued to rack up, slashing .341/.419/.598 in his first 23 games after the break. However, with the bothersome shoulder and a largely unknown (at the time) right Achilles tendon injury, Allen’s productivity declined. From August 23 to September 8, Allen hit just .205 with no extra-base hits in 47 plate appearances.

    with shoulder pain now spreading to his lower back, allen missed the next few games. On Friday, September 13, he met with White Sox owner John Allyn and told him that he was thinking of leaving the game. Allyn didn’t try to dissuade him. In March 1978, the Tribune’s Richard Dozer reported that Allyn told his star player simply, “This is no slavery at all. you can go whenever you want.” And so, the next night, the 32-year-old slugger tearfully told his teammates that he was retiring. It was a decision that Dick Allen would later call the “biggest mistake of my life.”

    Although he hit his last home run in a White Sox uniform on August 16, Allen finished the season as the White Sox’s best player. home run leader with 32. In this, his last season as a productive hitter, his .563 slugging percentage led all of major league baseball.

    despite telling his teammates he was going to “hang” them, dick allen did not officially retire, although the white sox did put him on the “voluntary retirement list”. Still, it seems clear that the myriad of injuries Allen had sustained to his hand, leg, and shoulder were beginning to wear him down physically. Sometimes in baseball, a player’s productivity falls off a cliff. so it was for allen. he would play parts for three more seasons, but would never return to acting at the stellar level of his peak.

    philadelphia story part ii

    It won’t be a big surprise that dick allen’s retirement didn’t last long. On November 11, a reporter met Allen at Keystone Racetrack near Philadelphia and joked, “Everyone says I’m retired except me.” The Los Angeles Times headline was also something of a joke: “Dick Allen Announces Retirement of His Recent Retirement.”

    allen, in fact, never officially retired, but had successfully burned his bridges in chicago. Manager Chuck Tanner, who had given Allen more rope and covered him more than any captain he had played for, was taken aback, saying “it would be awfully hard for him to go back to Chicago.” That opinion was shared by team management, and thus efforts were made to try to trade the reigning A.L. home run champion. Because of his hefty salary and mercurial personality, virtually every MLB team was unwilling to make a deal. Finally, in early December, the White Sox traded Allen’s rights to the Atlanta Braves for just $5,000 and a player to be named later.

    A few weeks after the trade, Tanner predicted that Allen would break Roger Maris’ home run record by playing half of his games at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium (the “Pitching Pad”). However, 11 years after his miserable season at Little Rock, Allen had no interest in playing in the South and refused to tell the new team about him.

    In what must have seemed like an episode of the unknown zone for baseball fans at the time, in early february allen lewis of the philadelphia inquirer reported that two members of the phillies (dave cash and future hall member of of Mike Schmidt fame) had secretly visited Allen’s farm in Perkasie to convince him to return to playing for his original team. Based on Lewis’s report, Allen liked the idea of ​​returning as the team had several other talented young players and seemed like a potential contender.

    1975 (phillies): .233/.327/.385, 12 hrs, 62 RBIs, 94 ops+, -0.5 war

    The reunion between Dick Allen and the Phillies was several months in the making but, on May 7, he was traded with catcher Johnny Oates to the Phils for outfielder Barry Bonnell, catcher Jim Essian and $150,000. (Essian was subsequently shipped to Chicago as the player to be named later for the original Allen trade.)

    after philadelphia sent willie montanez to san francisco three days earlier, the team had already cleared the decks for their former star to play in his best position, first base. Although Montanez had hit 30 home runs as a rookie in 1972, he only hit 31 more in the three full seasons that followed; they expected more pop from allen. Ironically, Montandez ended up having the best year, finishing 1975 with a .302 BA, 10 HR and 101 RBI compared to Allen’s .233, 12 Taters and 62 Ribbies. However, the deal ultimately benefited the Phillies because the player they received from the Giants was center fielder Garry Maddox, who would go on to win 8 Gold Gloves.

    Anyway, the city of Philadelphia was ready to embrace its former slugger. he made his veterans’ stadium debut on May 14 to thunderous applause. When the public announcer read the lineup and got to “Batting 5, Number 15,” the cheers were so loud that he never finished reading the rest of the lineup.

    “seven fifty-six in the afternoon. richie allen got to bat in a phillies uniform at the vet for the first time. he walked up to home plate and the cheers erupted, getting louder and louder until hopefully the stadium lights dim and the man with the number 15 on his back blows kisses to the crowd and sings two choruses of ‘god bless america ‘. ‘”

    — frank dolson, the philadelphia inquirer: “boos turn to applause for richie allen” (May 15, 1975)

    Allen singled in that first at-bat (he went 1-for-3) and the Phillies won 4-0 thanks to a 7-hit shutout by Allen’s former Cardinals teammate Steve Carlton. Overall, though, Allen got off to a terrible start with the bat, slashing .176/.309/.221 with no home runs and just 6 RBIs in his first 21 games of the season. He finally snapped out of his slump on June 7 with two solo dads at Doug Rau’s Los Angeles Dodgers vet. those two long balls sparked a streak of 18 games in which he slugged .538, but his batting average at the end of those 18 games (.241) was the highest of the entire season.

    Even with their first baseman in decline batting .220 as of August 18, manager Danny Ozark’s Phillies were tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the top of the N.L. East. However, beginning with a dead-end loss at Atlanta the following night, the team lost 13 of 20 games to fall 7 games behind and out of contention. Allen posted trading .768 with just 1 hour and 5 RBIs during the team’s blackout.

    with 18 errors at first base (the most in the n.l.) and his humble slash line (.233/.327/.385), the modern metric wins over the 1975 campaign replacement value of dick allen below replacement level. Ironically, in the season in which he stopped hitting as a future Hall of Famer, there was no drama off the field. At the end of a three-game series at Shea Stadium in late September, Allen said he was happy all season for the first time in his career. The happy talk came after a series in which he hit a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning of one game and 2 doubles with 2 RBIs in another.

    1976 (phillies): .268/.346/.480, 15 hrs, 49 RBIs, 131 ops+, 0.7 war

    Despite not having a signed contract for 1976, dick allen, ever contrary, showed up for spring training on time. After Allen’s sunny spell in Philadelphia in 1975, the first storm clouds formed in late March when his close friend and financial adviser Clem Capozzoli died suddenly of a heart attack. Allen’s character changed for the worse after the death of the man he considered a father figure.

    After staying mostly healthy (albeit unproductive) in ’75, the injury problem came back to bite Allen in ’76. A late-April slip at second base resulted in a rotator cuff strain in his shoulder. right and a trip to the disabled list.

    After his return to the lineup, Dick Allen started hitting like the Allen of old. in a 39-game streak, he slashed .317/.368/.599 with 10 hours and 29 RBI. The Phillies went 27-12 during Allen’s hot streak, helping them take a 9-game lead in the N.L. East. His bat cooled off a bit in July, but still, the Phils were up by 13 games as of July 25. It was that Sunday that Allen had a clash with Pirates pitcher John Candelaria, a 6’7″, 230-pound big man. His teammate Greg Luzinski noted that Allen could barely lift his right arm after the game.

    Complaining of dizziness and other pain, Allen called in sick Monday and then disappeared for a few days. On Friday, July 30, The Inquirer had a big front-page headline declaring “Phillies’ dick Allen is among the missing again.” this was the top story for the entire paper, not just the sports page. Ozark, Carpenter and general manager Paul Owens agreed that Allen should be fined for being absent. On his first tour of duty in Philadelphia, this could have lasted for weeks as a major scandal. However, on the day of the Inquirer’s headline, Allen showed up at Shea Stadium and immediately patched things up with Ozark. the team retroactively put him on the disabled list, essentially canceling the fine on him.

    while allen was on the shelf and for the first few days after he returned (september 4), the phillies went down badly, going 21-26 as their lead shrank to four games over the pittsburgh pirates. For his part, Allen returned to the lineup and immediately went into a terrible hitting state, going 2-for-33 in his first 9 games. After a dead-end loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday the 17th, the once insurmountable lead had shrunk to just 3 games. If Phillies fans were starting to see the ghosts of 1964, I could hardly blame them.

    nl eastern champions

    This Philadelphia team, unlike their ’64 counterparts, turned around down the stretch. the team won 13 of their last 16 games to finish with 101 wins, capturing the n.l. this one for 9 games. For his part, Allen posted a .900 ops with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in his last 11 appearances of the season.

    the phillies clinched the division in montreal after winning the first half of a doubleheader. While the team was in the locker room at Jarry Park celebrating the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 1950, Dick Allen sat alone on the bench and then had a little celebration with Schmidt, Cash, Maddox and Bobby Tolan.

    in what was really an unnecessary controversy of his own making, allen announced that he would sit out the playoffs unless his old friend, veteran infielder tony taylor, was also on the postseason roster. Taylor, who was Allen’s teammate in Philly during his turbulent times, was now 40 years old and had appeared in just 26 regular-season games in what would be his final MLB campaign. Ultimately, the Phillies and Allen came to an agreement (known as the “Pekasie Compromise”) in which Taylor would be a part of the playoffs as coach.

    the phillies met in the nlcs against the defending world champions cincinnati reds. In the only postseason opportunity of his career, Allen went 2-for-9 (both hits were singles) with 3 walks. He also made a key 2-run error when he failed to catch a line drive from Tony Perez in the sixth inning of Game 2. Two runs scored on the play, turning a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit. the phillies were swept in 3 games.

    A few days after the sweep, the phillies signed danny ozark to a 2-year contract extension with ozark confirming that allen would not return to the team in 1977. three weeks later, for the first time in his career, dick a Allen was officially granted free agency.

    1977 (track and field): .240/.330/.351, 5 hrs, 31 RBIs, 89 ops+, 0.2 war


    Allen, who fought (and mostly won) so many times with management in contract squabbles, was finally free to sign with any team that would have him just in time for virtually nobody to want his services. Although he had a respectable season with the bat in 1976 (15 HR in 85 games with a .480 slugging percentage), the controversies that always followed him made Allen damaged goods throughout the game. At this time in baseball history, the onset of free agency, there was a “free agent draft” in which teams would declare their interest in negotiating with a player. Only one team selected Allen, the Oakland A’s.

    One would imagine that a match between Allen and the A’s stingy owner (Charles O. Finley) would be a match made in hell but, with no other options, Allen agreed to a one-year deal worth an estimated $150,000. at the middle of March. The Athletics, three-time world champions from 1972 to 1974, lost virtually all of their star players in the 1976-77 offseason due to free agency and Finley’s unwillingness to pay market value for those stars.

    wearing the number 60 and the wampum on his back (in honor of his graduating year from high school), allen got off to a terrific start at oakland. in April, he slashed .313/.395/.507 with 4 hrs and 22 RBI in just 21 games. A couple of weeks later, Allen hit what would be the last home run of his career, a game-tying ninth-inning hit off the Yankees’ Ron Guidry in a game the A’s would ultimately lose.

    shortly after, allen fell into a deep depression. he slashed a woeful .140/.241/.160 in his last 17 games in baseball. Allen ultimately played in 54 games for Oakland before Finley suspended him after finding him showering in the clubhouse during the sixth inning of a game in Chicago (this was a game in which he was not in the starting lineup). A few weeks later, Allen sent Finley a letter in which he said that he was “retiring from baseball for the rest of 1977.”

    Not quite ready to retire, Allen returned to camp with the A’s in the spring of 1978, but never played a game and was officially released on March 28.

    dick allen finished his 15-year playing career with 351 home runs. at the time, 351 popes was the 29th-largest total in major league baseball history. By the end of 1977, there were 344 MLB players who had amassed at least 6,000 plate appearances. Despite batting in ballparks unfriendly to hitters and spending his best early years in one of the most pitcher-dominated eras since the 1910s, Allen’s career slugging percentage (.534) was 18th-best ever. times between those 344 players. The 17 men ahead of Allen on the all-time slugging list (as of 1977) would all be in the Hall of Fame in 1982. Nearly 40 years later, Allen fans are still waiting.

    cooperstown doesn’t come calling dick allen

    dick allen made it to the hall of fame ballot in december 1982, which, in hindsight, was a terrible time. Earlier in the year, scribes from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) introduced Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson to the room. While the veterans committee inducted players like drunken sailors, the bbwaa had a hard time coming to a consensus on all but the most obvious selections. Between 1973 and 1982, the writers chose a total of 13 men in Cooperstown, including 6 members of the 500 home run club.

    374 votes were cast in the vote whose results were released on January 12, 1983. Only 14 writers voted for Allen, including Bud Burns of the Tennessee:

    “Allen will undoubtedly be ignored by many voters because he didn’t have a knack for communicating with managers or sportswriters. but there is no way his credentials can be ignored… there are many selectors who consider allen a ‘bad guy’. he certainly was not an angel. but neither were many other established boys in cooperstown … like the others, allen must be judged for what he did behind white lines. if he is, he will eventually make it. few have played the game better.”

    — yolk burns (the tennessean, January 7, 1983)

    The writers chose Brooks Robinson and Juan Marichal on that 1983 ballot, while Allen’s 3.7% percentage was the 25th highest and so low that it would not appear on the 1984 ballot. At least he didn’t mind the snub, saying “I’m more interested in getting into heaven than the hall of fame.”

    by today’s rules, 3.7% of allen would have made him one and he would have ended up on the hall of fame ballot. the salon, however, was still a few years away from enforcing the uncompromising 5% zero-tolerance rule that exists today. so, allen was back on the ballot from 1985 to 1997.

    Unfortunately, the wampum thumper did not fare much better in the next 13 ballots, topping 18.9% in 1996, well short of the 75% needed to be admitted to Cooperstown.

    allen was subsequently on three veterans committee votes (receiving little support) before falling one vote behind cooperstown in the ill-fated golden age vote of December 2014.

    why dick allen never got close to the hall of fame?

    As noted at the beginning of this article, Dick Allen’s primary credential for Cooperstown is his 156+ career ops. Even to this day, for players with at least 6,000 career plate appearances, that ballpark and era-adjusted operations are tied for 15th-best in baseball history. the only top ops+ players not in the hall of fame are barry bonds and mark mcgwire, both banned due to their use of performance-enhancing drugs.

    but of course ops+ didn’t exist when allen was on bbwaa’s ballot. Voters were primarily concerned with batting average, home runs, RBI, hits, and stolen bases. Allen’s BA was solid (.292) but his 351 career hours and 1,848 career hits were uninspiring. As Hall of Famer Jay Jaffe has often pointed out, the BBW hasn’t elected anyone to the hall with fewer than 2,000 debut hits since Jackie Robinson. what voters might have (and should have) noticed was his .534 slugging percentage, 19th-best for players with at least 6,000 pa when he first came on the ballot. that .534 slg was taller than contemporaries willie mccovey, willie stargell, harmon killebrew, reggie jackson, billy williams and 96 others who were or would later become hall of famers.

    Still, even if you forget about the controversy that surrounded Allen throughout his career, it’s completely understandable that writers from 1983 to 1997 didn’t see a Hall of Famer when they looked at his candidacy. sure, he won an mvp trophy, but a lot of players did and never came close to cooperstown. he only hit 40 home runs once and only drove in 100 runs three times.

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    remember, ops didn’t exist when allen was on the ballot. With that in mind, take a look at allen’s numbers compared to other players who were allen’s contemporaries or retired in time to be eligible for the ballot while allen was on it:

    In this list, Dwight Evans and Dave Parker retired after the 1991 season and both were on the ballot for the first time in 1997, when Allen was last on it. the comparison with parker is interesting. Like Allen, he won an MVP trophy playing for Chuck Tanner. unlike allen, he won a world series. Unlike Allen, he played long enough to record 10,184 pa (with 2,712 hits). la cobra got 17.5% of the vote on the 1997 ballot, while allen got 16.7%.

    Take a moment to look at the names and numbers in the list above. Other than just having the highest batting average, is there anything here that sets Allen apart from the rest? none of these 10 men came remotely close to cooperstown via the bbwaa.

    of course, what you don’t see on this chart is allen’s .534 slg (second highest is frank howard’s .499). What you also won’t see here is that Allen’s .378 OBP is also the best on the list. And it’s pretty clear that a vast majority of writers didn’t see those numbers in their brains either.

    why is dick allen in the hall of fame?

    Today, with baseball-reference and sabermetrics, we know things that bbwaa members from 1983-97 didn’t. we have ops+, the only stat that combines a player’s ability to get on base with his ability to hit for power, adjusted for the ballparks and friendliness or hostility of the eras he played in.

    Allen’s 156 ops+ are tied for the 15th-highest in MLB history among 690 players who recorded at least 6,000 career plate appearances. here is the list.

    there’s more: apart from bonds, big mac and manny ramirez, all eligible players with at least 6000 pa and ops+ of 145 or more have plates in cooperstown. therefore, allen is not alone in the limit, he has surpassed it. a career ops+ of 156 is ridiculously good. And, of course, his 165-plus trades between 1964 and 1974 were the best in all of baseball.

    Now, it’s fair to note that allen’s career ops are high in part because he didn’t have as many years of decline that most players (in their late thirties) build their counting stats while their stats of rate decline. So, I created another leaderboard in stathead where I sliced ​​each player’s career at the end of their 35-year-old season to provide an apples-to-apples-to-allen comparison. Allen’s rank undoubtedly suffers in doing this, but his + ops is still tied for 23rd (with Frank Robinson) during his 35-year campaign.

    There are 8 new names ahead of Allen that weren’t on the previous list: They belong to Albert Pujols along with Hall of Famers Nap Lajoie, Roger Connor, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron, Joe Dimaggio and Mel Ott. (If you notice the rank numbers don’t add up, it’s because mcgwire, mize, and hank greenberg didn’t have 6,000 pa in their 35-year campaigns.)

    No matter how you slice or dice it, allen’s 156+ operations are a rock-solid hall-of-fame-caliber stat.

    10-year leaders in operations+ (1901-2019)

    Next, let me put into perspective the importance of having the highest trades for a decade or more. I’m going to use 10 years as a benchmark because it’s a nice round number. I combed through baseball history on stathead to find the ops+ leader for each 10-year period among players who logged at least 5,000 a year during those years.

    There are only 25 players from 1901 to 2021 who have led the majors in ops+ over a 10-year period. here is the list:

    • nap lajoie (once) (1901-10)
    • honus wagner (3 times) (1902-11, ’03-12, ’04-13)
    • ty cobb (10 times) (1905-14 to 1914-23)
    • rogers hornsby (twice) (1915-24 & ’16-25)
    • babe ruth (11 times) (1917-26 to ’27-36)
    • lou gehrig (4 times) (1928-37 to ’31-40)
    • jimmie foxx (twice) (1932-41 & ’33-42)
    • mel ott (4 times) (1934-43 to ’37-46)
    • *bill nicholson (3 times) (1938 -47 to ’40-49)
    • stan musial (9 times) (1941-50 to ’49-58)
    • mickey mantle (10 times) (1950-59 to ‘ 59-60) )
    • frank robinson (twice) (1960-69 and ’61-70)
    • hank aaron (once) (1962-71)
    • dick allen (3 times) (1963-72, ’64-’73 and ’67-’76)
    • willie mccovey (twice) (1965-74 and ’66-75)
    • willie stargell (3 times) (1968-77 thru ’70-79)
    • reggie jackson (3 times) (1971-80 thru ’73- 82)
    • mike schmidt (7 times) (1974-83 to ’80-89)
    • wa Boggs (Twice) (1981- 90 & ’82-91)
    • rickey henderson (twice) (1983-92 and ’84-93)
    • barry bonds (14 times) (1985-94 thru ’98-07 ) )
    • albert pujols (7 times) (1999-08 to 2005-14)
    • miguel cabrera (twice) (2006-15 & ’07-16)
    • joey votto (twice) (2008-17 and ’09-18)
    • mike trout (3 times) (2010-19, ’11-20 and ’12-21)

    With the notable exception of Bill Nicholson, Bonds, and the players still active, this is a list of Hall of Famers plus Dick Allen.

    why is nicholson leading ops+ three times? It’s because Johnny Mize and Ted Williams each lost 3 years due to their military service during World War II. If you lower the minimum PA to 4,000 for them to be eligible, Mize would be the leader from 1938 to 1947, Williams from 1939 to 1948, and Williams from 1940 to 1949. Nicholson is not in the top 5 with the lowest standard.

    10 years with ops+ of 160 or more

    next, to pour a little more concrete into the foundation of “dick allen for the hall of fame,” let’s take a look at the importance of what it means to lead all of baseball in this category for 10 full seasons. allen+ trades were 164 from 1963 to 1972 and 165 from 1964 to 1973. (allen+ trades from 1967 to 1976 were “only” 157 because they included their weak 1975 to 1976 campaigns, but it was still the best in the big during those 10 seasons).

    here are two questions:

    1. is it just a statistical fluke that allen led the majors for three different 10-year stretches?
    2. how rare is it for a player to post an ops+ of 160 or higher for a decade? ? ?

    Let’s address #1 first. As noted above, Bill Nicholson led all of baseball in ops+ for three consecutive 10-year terms. Nicholson was a good hitter (over 132 operations in his career), but he certainly wasn’t a player of Cooperstown’s caliber. in this case, yes, of course, it was a statistical fluke. In my research study, I needed at least 5,000 pa per 10-year period to ensure that all qualifiers had to have played full-time for at least 8 of those 10 seasons. That’s why the 5,000 pa minimum eliminated players like Mize, Williams, and Joe Dimaggio for this research project; each of these hall of famers missed 3 years between 1943 and 1945 due to the war.

    when allen led baseball in ops+ for three separate 10-year stretches, there was no intervening event to interfere with the lows.

    Now, let’s see what it means to register an ops+ of 160 or more for 10 consecutive campaigns. not all of the names listed in the previous section led the majors for a decade and also posted 160 or more. for example, excluding nicholson’s under-140 years, rickey henderson “only” posted an ops+ of 144 between 1983 and 1992. that was something of a statistical fluke, leading for a decade with an ops+ so “low”.

    so, this is the list of players who posted ops+ of 160 or more for 10 years (going back to 1901 and with the number of 10-year periods in which they did so). In total, there are 27 players on this list, ranked by the number of 10-year periods in which they accomplished the feat:

    • ty cobb (13 times) (1905-14 to ’17-26)
    • *barry bonds (12 times) (1987-96 to ’98-07)
    • babe ruth (11 times) (1917-26 to ’27-36)
    • hank aaron (11 times) (1955-64 to ’65-74)
    • tris speaker (10 times) (1907-16 to ’16-25)
    • stan musial (10 times) (1941-50 to ’50-59)
    • mickey mantle (10 times ) (1950-59 to ’59-68)
    • lou gehrig (9 times) (1923-32 to ’31-40)
    • rogers hornsby (8 times) (1915- 24 to 22-31)
    • jimmie foxx (8 times) (1926-35 to 33-42)
    • willie mays (8 times) (1952-61 to ’59) – 68)
    • frank robinson (7 times) (1959-68 to ’62-’71, ’64-’73, ’66-’75)
    • *albert pujols ( 7 times) (1999-08 thru ’05-14)
    • willie mccovey (6 times) (1961-70 thru ’66-75)
    • mel ott (5 times) ( 1929 -38 to ’32-41, ’34-43)
    • frank thomas (5 times) (1989-98 to ’93-02)
    • *manny ramirez (5 times) (1996-05 to 2000-09)
    • honus wagner (4 times) (1901-10 to ’04-13)
    • *dick allen (4 times) (1963-72 to ’66-75)
    • nap lajoie (3 times) (1901-10 to ’03-12 )
    • *mike trout (3 times) (2010-19, ’11-20 & ’12-21)
    • *joe jackson barefoot (twice) (1910-19 & ’11-20)
    • *miguel cabrera (twice) (2006-15 & ‘ 07-16)
    • eddie collins (once) (1906-15)
    • harry heilmann (once) (1921-30)
    • *mark mcgwire (once) (1990-99)
    • jeff bagwell (once) (1990-99)

    *not in the hall of fame

    Besides Allen, there are 7 other players on this list who don’t have plates in Cooperstown: Bonds, Pujols, Ramirez, Jackson, Cabrera, McGwire and Trout. Almost any baseball fan would predict that Pujols, Cabrera and Trout are destined for Cooperstown 5 years after their retirement. bonds, ramirez and mcgwire have those annoying ped links. barefoot joe was implicated in the black stockings scandal of 1919.

    that leaves dick allen alone on this list as a retired player who is not involved with peds or fixing the world series and who is not in the hall of fame.

    allen’s 11-year peak (1964-74)

    let me put the cherry on top of allen’s hall of fame resume. There are generally two ways players achieve Hall of Fame status. The first (and obvious) is to have a long and productive career, being among the all-time leaders in statistical categories like home runs, hits, stolen bases, wins or strikeouts. the second way is to have a dominant peak. sometimes that peak can be as short as 6 seasons, like the arena koufax peak of 1961-66. Slugger Ralph Kiner (a less obvious Cooperstown pick than Koufax) also falls into this category: He finished his career with just 369 home runs, but led the N.L. in potatoes during the first 7 seasons of his career.

    allen never recorded the milestones that would have put him in the hall of fame decades ago, but he belongs by virtue of his pinnacle. when it comes to peak performance for a hall of famer, 7 seasons is usually enough. Allen lasted 11 full campaigns.

    In addition to his dominance in ops+, which I’ve beaten like a drum, let me share how he ranked on a variety of other statistical metrics during his 11 years of excellence:

    by the way, thanks to his various injuries (and a few suspensions), allen ranked 14th between 1964 and 1974 in total plate appearances and yet still ranks in the top 7 in hr, rbi and runs and third in extra. base hits. What’s also interesting (and not on this chart) is that Allen is ranked 15th in the base warfare component. Allen was not much of a base stealer (132 sb’s in his career), but he was known throughout his career as a fast and technically competent baserunner.

    Anyway, is it just me, or does Allen’s presence among these other names prove the argument that he deserves a hall of fame plaque?

    the case against

    okay, it should be clear by now that i think the late dick allen deserves a place in cooperstown. but there’s a reason it’s not there and it’s not just because no one had thought of combining on base percentage and slugging percentage into one number. Allen’s career “headcount” stats (351 hours, 1119 RBIs, 1848 hits) don’t jump off the page.

    In the 10-year+ ops list we showed you earlier, the players above Allen on the list had long and prolific careers, logging more than 9,000 plate appearances while playing into their 30s or 40s, while Allen finished at 35. With the exception of players from the “dead ball era” (before 1919), all of the legends on the above Allen list slugged 493 or more home runs.

    allen never reached normal hall of fame slugging milestones for two reasons. the first is that his myriad injuries accelerated his aging curve. that’s part of life and part of baseball. There are plenty of current or recently retired players (Johan Santana, David Wright and Dustin Pedroia) who looked like Hall of Famers while playing, but injuries cut their careers short. Santana was one and ended up on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot, while the fate of Wright and Pedroia remains to be seen.

    The second reason, of course, is that Allen curtailed his playing opportunities late in his career due to various run-ins with management. there can’t be a sugar coating on this. Hardly any team wanted Allen in the 1974-75 offseason even though he was the leader of the A.L. home run champion. When Allen was a free agent after a respectable season in 1976, only Charley Finley was interested. Allen may have been physically shot, but even so, he could have lasted a few more years as a platoon first baseman (or DH if he had accepted that role). if so, he could have eclipsed 400 home runs and 2,000 hits.

    at the end of the 1980 season, there were only 19 players who had reached at least 400 popes. If Allen had stayed long enough to be the 20th member of that list, would Hall of Fame voters have viewed his career more favorably?

    Is the 10+ year trading stat overrated?

    let me play devil’s advocate and make another argument against allen cooperstown’s candidacy. I’ve made a big deal out of Allen being the 10-year leader in ops+ for multiple cycles. that leads to an obvious question. are there any other stat examples where a non-hall of fame player was the leader for 10 years? the answer is “yes”.

    Let’s take rbi as an example: while researching the hall of fame case of joe carter (who was on the 2019 eras committee ballot), I compiled a list of 10-year rbi leaders. From 1984 to 1993, no baseball player had more RBIs than Carter. same for ’85-94 and the next three 10-year periods through ’88-’97. Carter recorded 10 seasons with at least 100 RBIs; only 12 players in baseball history had more, all Hall of Famers, future Hall of Famers, or players who “would be except for the peds.”

    so if dick allen’s 10-year career as game ops+ leader makes him a hall of famer, should carter’s rbi dominance make him one too? the answer here is “no”. rbi, while it’s a stat baseball fans my age (54) grew up with, it’s a highly context-dependent stat. it is important, but it is the product of opportunity. Carter made the most of those opportunities (he spent most of his career as a third- or fourth-place hitter) and he should be credited for that. However, as a hitter, Carter was one-dimensional. he hit with good power (a .464 slugging percentage that helped drive in those runs) but didn’t reach base for his teammates (run .306 obp). For that reason, he ranks 64th on the all-time rbi list but only 208th in runs scored.

    Today we know that ops (and its improved version ops+) is the most significant stat.

    was dick allen a bad teammate?

    In his landmark book The Politics of Glory (1994), sabermetrics pioneer Bill James went beyond the numbers to write about the politics of the Hall of Fame voting process. James is not one to beat around the bush and, while he praised Dick Allen’s statistical excellence, he did make a scathing comment about his worth to Cooperstown.

    “allen never did anything to help his teams win and in fact spent his entire career doing everything he could to keep his teams from winning… he did more to keep strong> their teams from winning than anyone else who has ever played in major league baseball. And if that’s a hall of famer, I’m crazy.”

    — bill james, the politics of glory (1994)

    The crux of James’s argument is that Allen’s bad mood and absenteeism prevented his teams from winning. this point he made is fair: “was there a time in baseball history when a player couldn’t show up at the ballpark every once in a while without anyone caring about it?”

    Full disclosure here: I have been a Bill James reader and huge fan since I was 14 years old when I read his 1982 edition of Baseball Digest. James understood the importance of on-base percentage and slugging percentage long before anyone else. Though operations hadn’t been invented yet, James had his own numbers, like created runs, in which he combined the disparate elements of on-base ability and slugging. James could see Allen’s value statistically long before most others, but he was clearly worried about off-the-field problems, the word “troublesome” puts it mildly. As a disciple of James, my personal opinion of Allen and the Hall of Fame was influenced by James’s views for many years.

    for the record, in the 2019 bill james handbook, james ranked allen as the 9th best position player not in the hall of fame.

    “I’m not defending dick allen as a member of the hall of fame, but I don’t want to dwell on his failures either. there is no doubt that his ability was at a phenomenal level. his skill was at the level of joe dimaggio and hank aaron.”

    — bill james (the bill james baseball handbook, 2019)

    in addition, james gives allen 577.2 points on his new “hall of fame value standard” on a scale where 500 makes a player worthy of cooperstown.

    did allen stop his teams from winning?

    after reading mitchell nathanson’s book (god almighty) and doing my own research while writing this mini-biography of allen’s years on the diamond, i can’t say i found any evidence that he stopped any of his teams from winning. In his rookie year (1964), Allen was the last person anyone could blame for the Phillies’ late-season collapse. As noted above, Allen hit .415 with 1,076 ops during the team’s famous 10-game losing streak.

    In the years that followed, Allen was unable to play for a contending team until he was with the Dodgers in 1971. In September, as the Dodgers chased the San Francisco Giants for the N.L. Western title, Allen slashed .327/.405/.500 as his team won 18 of 27 games. Ultimately, the Dodgers finished one game short of the Giants in the West. For the season, Allen played in 155 games and led the team in war, hr, rbi and ops+ (by one country mile). so did allen stop that team from winning the division because he didn’t want to engage in public relations duties?

    In 1972, the Chicago White Sox finished 5.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the American League. West. Was that deficiency allen’s fault, given the best season of his career that earned him an mvp award?

    In 1975, the Phillies finished 6.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the N.L. East and it’s true that Allen’s bye year was a factor in keeping the Phillies from making the closest race. But by all accounts, the ’75 campaign was a hoax when it came to Allen’s relationship with his team, his management, and his fans. In the irony of ironies, it was his unexpectedly poor outfield performance that hurt the team in their n.l. east chase.

    was the controversy surrounding allen’s desire to see his old friend and teammate tony taylor on the 1976 playoff roster the reason the phillies were swept in three games by the cincinnati reds in the nlcs? It’s hard for me to see the connection. The Big Red Machine was simply the better team, as evidenced by their subsequent sweep of the New York Yankees in the World Series.

    what dick allen’s former teammates have to say


    Mine is just an opinion, one formed after the fact by reading and researching. I was only 8 years old in 1975, completely unaware of any controversy involving Dick Allen and his teams. To me, he was an All-Star face on this 1975 baseball card.

    what matters most to me is the numbers, and according to the numbers, allen belongs in cooperstown. But since Allen was controversial and his career was shortened in part by teams not wanting to sign him late in his career, it’s only fair to address the issue. i will heed the words of allen’s former teammates.

    This is what Bill White (the player who became a Yankees broadcaster and then President of the United States) recently had to say about Allen:

    “i had the opportunity and pleasure to play with hall of famers willie mays, willie mccovey, orlando cepeda, juan marichal and many other great players. dick allen, in my opinion, ranks with these great players. I’ve never seen a player try as hard as dick allen.

    When I was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1965, I roomed with him and was amazed at his knowledge of opposing teams, especially pitchers. he made me a better offensive player. As a former player, broadcaster, president of the National League, and former Hall of Fame board member, I believe Dick Allen belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

    — bill white (allen’s former teammate in philadelphia)

    after the golden age vote in december 2014 in which allen fell one vote short of cooperstown, the late jim bunning (hall of fame pitcher turned us senator from kentucky) he lamented that the committee did not vote anyone into the room. Bunning, who played with Allen from 1964 to 1968, called it “the most disappointing 3 days I’ve ever had in my life.” Bunning then told Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News that he had made a 5-minute presentation to the committee on behalf of Allen’s candidacy.

    In December 2015, Graham Womack of Sporting News interviewed several of Allen’s former teammates and concluded that Allen “might be the most reviled player in baseball history.” White Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood (who thinks Allen should be in the hall) told Womack, “I had no enemies in Chicago, I can guarantee you that.”

    regarding his time in chicago, here’s what hall of fame closer goose gossage (who was a rookie in 1972) had to say about allen:

    “he studied the game carefully. i can remember being on the bench at times when some of the white sox players were goofing around… dick would suddenly yell, ‘stop the bullshit and get your head in the game.’ look at the launcher. learn something’… allen played to win… if i had to pick a ‘team out of all the teammates’ from my career, i’d put dick allen at first base.”

    —goose gossip (the goose is loose) (2000)

    more recently, gossage told us. p>

    hall of famer mike schmidt was 25 when allen returned to philadelphia in 1975. in a recent philadelphia inquirer article, schmidt recalled collapsing earlier in the season. Before an early-season game at Wrigley Field, Allen advised Schmidt that the game was supposed to be fun and that he should stop worrying. damn if he wasn’t right. I went 5-for-6 with 4 home runs.” Schmidt credits Allen for mentoring him and several other talented young members of the Phillies (including Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bob Boone, and Larry Bowa).

    embed from getty images

    See also: Why Michael Carter-Williams&x27 Rookie of the Year Season Is Just the Beginning | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

    the support of the legends

    Finally, when the philadelphia phillies announced that they were retiring dick allen’s uniform number 15 in 2020, the accompanying press release offered the following quotes from some of the game’s legends on their thoughts on running for the hall of the league: allen fame.

    “[dick] was a good ballplayer. he did great things and hit the ball much further than me. he deserves to be in the hall of fame.”

    — hank aaron (as told to filmmaker mike tollin)

    “[dick] could hit the ball further than anyone I’ve ever seen. he was, and still is, a hall of famer as far as I’m concerned.”

    —willie mays (quoted by tollin)

    Perhaps as a harbinger of future honors to come, Allen was only the seventh former Phillies player to have his uniform number retired. The other six men (Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn, Jim Bunning, Robin Roberts, and Roy Halladay) have plates in Cooperstown.

    2022: the year many expected dick allen to arrive in cooperstown?

    When I reviewed this article in the days leading up to the Golden Days vote, I predicted that the committee would posthumously elect Dick Allen to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. After 16 years (from 2002 to 2017) in which the Veterans Committee (and its successor, the Eras Committee) failed to elect any living former players to Cooperstown, the various committee members are on a roll. In addition to the six new Hall of Famers elected earlier this month (including Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler by the initial Baseball Committee), Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were inducted into the Hall Class of 2018; lee smith and harold baines were voted in for 2019, while ted simmons made the hall’s class of 2020.

    What do these recent elections have to do with the December 2021 vote? It showed me and other Hall of Fame enthusiasts that the committee members desperately didn’t want to repeat the failure of the 2015 Golden Era vote in which no player was chosen. As noted above, Allen and Tony Oliva got 11 of 16 votes (one short of the 12 needed for a plaque); jim kaat got 10 votes, maury wills 9, and minnie minoso got 8 votes.

    The postponed Golden Days 2022 Committee met earlier this month to consider the nominations of ten candidates whose primary impact on the game was between 1950 and 1969. Although the timeline of Allen’s career is divided between this era and the modern baseball committee (considering players from 1970-87), the hall has decided to include him in this group. Oliva, Kaat, Wills and Miñoso all earned 50% or more of the 2015 vote, they were also on the 2022 ballot. Gil Hodges, who had previously unsuccessfully appeared on more Hall of Fame ballots than any other player in the history, was also on the ballot.

    Since the 16 committee members are limited to voting for only 4 of the 10 candidates and 12 votes are needed for induction, the math is hard. It’s the math that caused the 2015 committee’s abject failure. So why was I so confident that Allen would make it out of what will be a group of 10 worthy candidates? there are four reasons. The first is that the very recent history of the vote has shown that committee members have favored men who “simply failed” in the past. (This was also a real factor in the four candidates who were chosen.)

    Now let me stress, this is a very recent story, like less than two years ago. Simmons received 11 of 16 votes in December 2017, one short of what was needed for a plaque. Marvin Miller received 11 votes in December 2010. In December 2019, voters pushed both men to the finish line. In theory, that trend would benefit both Allen and Oliva.

    The second reason, as noted above, is that these era committees have a recent history of picking players shortly after their deaths (as was the case with ron santo and miller).

    other perks that should have helped allen

    if you think my “they got 11 votes last time” theory was overblown, then i offered this hope to allen supporters. There’s been a movement behind his candidacy (thanks to his friend, former Phillies outfielder Mark Cafagno) that didn’t even remotely exist to the same extent for any of the other potential candidates. maybe a lot of us just lived in our twitter bubbles, but i saw a lot more awareness of allen as a worthy cooperstown candidate than any of the others, with the possible exception of the late miñoso (who was also worthy and the top voter). ).

    What was the most tangible cause of hope? Well, it’s been seven years since the last time Allen and the others were on the ballot. In those seven years, there is more awareness of advanced metrics like war and ops+, even among “old school” hall of famers. Mike Schmidt said the same thing last year: “If you go back in time and look at Dick’s career and look at his career using modern analytics, his numbers are way above a lot of the guys that are in the Hall of Fame. ” Remember: Schmidt was in the room last Sunday making this argument when Allen’s candidacy was being considered.

    In addition, there were two other former Allen teammates (Fergie Jenkins and Joe Torre) on this committee. i don’t know for sure, but i’d bet big money that jenkins was one of the “yes” votes for allen on the 2015 ballot. the look on fergie’s face at the december 2014 press conference when it was announced that no hall of famers had been elected was of great disappointment and disgust.

    Anyway, here’s a look at how Allen’s stats compare to those of Oliva, Wills, and Miñoso (the other top picks who got votes in 2015) along with Hodges, Ken Boyer, and Roger Maris, the other position player. candidates who were on the ballot.

    by modern metrics and accolades, boyer (11 times all-star and 5 times gold glove at third base) was also a strong candidate. still, he lets his gaze linger on the numbers here. Only Oliva and Miñoso had a higher batting average than Allen. only miñoso had a higher on-base percentage. but allen had by far the highest slugging percentage, so his ops+ is much higher than the others.

    There were candidates who weren’t position players, of course, including Jim Kaat, a 283-game winner, Allen’s teammate in Chicago and Philadelphia, as well as a beloved man throughout the game. (By the way, shortly after Allen passed away last December, Kaat appeared on MLB Network and indicated that he thought his former teammate deserved a spot in Cooperstown.)

    still none of the names i’ve mentioned have an elevator phrase like “most ops+ all over mlb for 11 years”. For those who don’t like or believe in “plus” stats, here’s a helpful backup: “Second Highest Trades for Hank Aaron from 1964-74.”

    how come allen fell one vote short, again?

    finally, the elevator speech was not enough. Dick Allen was one vote short. Since the last ballot (in December 2014), Miñoso’s vote total has improved from 8 to 14; kaat went from 10 to 12; olive from 11 to 12. the big surprise was gil hodges, who came very close in his previous 34 times on the ballot but got no reported support on the 2015 ballot. besides the obvious fact that committee members of this year were almost all different from the 2014 committee members, there was a possible wild card named vin scully.

    when allen was dropped from the hall of fame party, there was disappointment, bitterness and anger among family members and passionate supporters of allen’s candidacy. coming up one vote short, twice, is a cruel twist of fate. How did it happen? How did the best candidate on the ballot get the fifth highest number of votes?

    I can think of two possible reasons, both involve pure speculation. the first possibility is that it is a tragic accident of conflicting priorities. perhaps mike schmidt (and others) argued that allen belonged in the salon. At the same time, since the Negro Leagues were recognized as official major leagues by MLB earlier this year, there was a clear consensus that Minoso deserved to be honored. Simultaneously, there was a strong sentiment to elect a couple of living players (Kaat and Oliva) who had timidly dropped on the 2015 ballot. And finally, there was the unexpected push from Hodges, whose candidacy has been more difficult for Cooperstown. than any other player in history.

    summer 2022 will be the 50th anniversary of hodges passing. his widow (joan) is still living at the age of 95. vin scully just turned 94 and we know scully was lobbying for hodges. thus, there were five candidates competing for the four votes allowed for each member of the committee. Were there voters who felt Allen was an unavoidable pick but that Kaat, Oliva and/or Hodges needed every last vote? There’s no way to know that math is too hard for five Hall of Famers to do.

    The second possible reason (a more dire one) is that there was a voting bloc that chose not to vote for Allen due to his various run-ins with management during his playing career. There were six current or former MLB executives on the Golden Days committee: Bud Selig, John Schuerholz, Bill DeWitt, Ken Kendrick, Tony Reagins and Kim Ng. were there a handful of “no” votes from this group? there’s no way of knowing for sure, but it’s certainly a possibility, especially given that each voting member was limited to four options and four other attractive candidates were discussed.

    final thoughts

    Life is full of choices and events that have a fundamental impact on the course of our existence. a seemingly small decision can forever change the path of our time on this planet. Just like in life, every baseball player’s career path is influenced not only by the player’s talent and desire to succeed, but also by decisions on and off the field and random events. an injury can turn a talented player from a future hall of famer into one of the thousands who fall short. Likewise, the teams a player works for can shape his career and have a significant impact on his future prospects at Cooperstown.

    It is unquestionable that Dick Allen made decisions during his playing years that had a deleterious impact on his legacy and Hall of Fame potential. It’s also possible that if Allen had spent his 20 years playing for a different organization than the Philadelphia Phillies, the way he was viewed might have been completely different.

    as noted above, allen grew up about 45 miles northwest of forbes field in pittsburgh. What if Allen had signed with the Pirates instead of the Phillies and spent his AAA season in Columbus, Ohio instead of Little Rock? Imagine Allen coming to the majors on a team with Roberto Clemente as the established star instead of a team where he was the star and the focus of the fans. Think of Allen breaking in with the 1964 Pirates, a team featuring several veteran black players (Clemente, Bob Veale, Al McBean, Donn Clendenon, Manny Mota) and a 24-year-old Willie Stargell.

    Let’s take this in a different direction. Imagine a universe in which Allen’s life was exactly as in the real world, but the New York Mets had selected him in the expansion draft in October 1961. In New York, he would have played in a city whose fans of the national league had acclaimed robinson and mays.

    here’s another: what if there hadn’t been a race riot in philadelphia in late august 1964? pennant and beat the new york yankees in the world series? How would Allen’s stay in Philadelphia have happened? How differently would his legacy be viewed if he began his career as the best player in a world series champion?

    finally, what would dick allen look like if he had played in the espn era? i have seen it written that allen is in the hall of fame because he hit so many tape measure home runs. in and of itself, that’s a silly argument if you stop to think about it. Dave Kingman also hit a lot of bombs. but if you put together the whole package of numbers from allen’s career and combined it with visual images of some of his titanic explosions, would it have changed the way some people viewed his career? Baseball historian Bill Jenkinson has argued that in terms of raw power, only Babe Ruth displayed more raw power than Allen in baseball history, with Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, and Frank Howard arguably deserving to be in that conversation. if only we could go to youtube and see some of the titanic explosions of him.

    dick allen was undoubtedly a controversial player. he had the talent equal to the game’s all-time greats and doesn’t have the career stats to match. That’s why he doesn’t have a plaque in Cooperstown yet. many of us expected that status to change with the hall class of 2022, but it didn’t. We’ll all have to wait until the December 2026 ballot, which will consider players for the class of 2027. Since Minoso, Oliva, Kaat, and Hodges have all been “removed” from that future ballot by getting plates in Cooperstown next summer. , the path must be wide open for allen to do so.

    Although he is no longer on this earth to enjoy the honor, an eventual plaque will hold great meaning for his family and his legions of fans. it’s a well-deserved honor even if it’s seriously delayed.

    thanks for reading. visit cooperstown cred on twitter @cooperstowncred.

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    See also: Why Michael Carter-Williams&x27 Rookie of the Year Season Is Just the Beginning | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

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