He needs to get on the ballot of the Golden Era Committee in December. If not, his career will not be recognized for its excellence
By Art Beitchman
The first time many Phillies fans who grew up in the 1960s had a team worth watching was when Richard Anthony Allen joined the club in 1964.
The Phils were an abysmal team through the 1950s and early 1960s, not coincidently because management seemed to have a problem finding black players. John Kennedy, an itinerant shortstop, was signed in 1957, 10 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. But it wasn’t until Allen, “the Wampum Walloper,” provided majestic home runs that cascaded off his 42-ounce bat, that the Phils had a genuine black star.
He was so powerful that the Pirates’ Willie Stargell half-joked why Phillies fans bood Allen all the time, “The fans boo Allen because he never gives them a souvenir.” In other words, he slammed homers out of Connie Mack Stadium, the old ball yard at 21st and Lehigh, not into the stands.
Along with Johnny Callison, Jim Bunning and Tony Taylor, Allen propelled the Phils into the 1964 NL pennant race that ended so miserably with the Phils blowing a six and a half game lead with 12 games to play and losing the pennant to the Cards.
Allen’s stats were impressive that year — 29 homers, 91 RBIs, 38 doubles, 13 triples and an OPS of .939. He was chosen rookie of the year and finished seventh in the MVP race.
He played seven seasons in Philly (including a 10-game stretch at the end of 1963), and his numbers were superb. Though Allen, a small-town kid — Wampum is 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh — had trouble adjusting to the Phils and their dimwitted ownership, which for some reason sent him to Little Rock in 1960, and that southern town staged racial protest parades against the 18-year-old.
Allen lobbied for a trade, even using his spikes to form words in the infield dirt as a communications method. The Phillies relented after the 1969 season and dealt him to St. Louis for Curt Flood, who refused the trade and sued major league baseball over the reserve clause.
After a year in St. Louis, he was traded to the Dodgers and then to the White Sox, where in 1972 he hit 37 HRs, 113 RBIs, batted .308 with a .603 slugging percentage and 1.023 OPS! MVP-type numbers, and his performance was rewarded with that trophy.
He came back to Philly for 1975-76, when the Phils were becoming a contender, and finished his career in 1977 in Oakland.
Dick Allen’s stats for 15 MLB seasons—Runs-1,099…Hits—1,848..2B–320..3B–79…HR–351….RBI–1,119…..BA–.292….OBP—.378…SLG–.534.
He also led his league in slugging percentage three times. His 162-game average is on par with the great Mickey Mantle, better than Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, and much better than Golden Era Committee selectee Ron Santo of two years ago.
For some reason, perhaps because he never played on a great team, Allen never received the requisite percentage of ballots to make the Hall. In fact, he never got as much as 19%, and that’s an outrage.
In the last month I’ve joined a group on Facebook named “Dick Allen belongs in the Hall of Fame,” spearheaded by Mark A. Carfagno who is working tirelessly getting testimonials on Allen’s behalf, and it appears he’s making real headway in getting Allen on that ballot for next December’s deciding vote.
The Golden Era Committee is Allen’s last chance, and they will decide in December if he gets on the ballot. The committee consists of Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Billy Williams, five executives and three media members.
First Allen has to be put on this ballot, which he wasn’t when Ron Santo was inducted to the Hall, then get 75% of the vote for election. If Allen were to get on this ballot, I believe he will be enshrined once and for all.
If you grew up watching the superstar players of the 1960s, there is no way that Dick Allen should not be among Mays, Mantle, McCovey.
If Allen never gets inducted, the shame will be that generations of baseball fans will only know him as a footnote in MLB history, or worse yet, placed in the dustbin of players forgotten by time.
Richard Anthony Allen deserves to be enshrined.