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Dick Allen

Dick Allen

Position(s):
3B, LF, OF, SS, 2B, CF, 1B, DH
Nicknames:
Wampum Walloper, Richie
Born:
March 8, 1942
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
187 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-03-1963 with PHI
Allstar Selections:
1964 ROOK, 1972 MVP

"Allen was scary at the plate. When he came up there, he had your attention. I want to forget a couple of line drives he hit off me, but I can’t because they almost killed me." — Mickey Lolich on Dick Allen

"Never in my life have I been associated with a better person. I want this fellow to play for me the rest of his career." — Chuck Tanner on Dick Allen

An enigmatic superstar who baffled teammates, fans, and the front office with his bizarre behavior, Dick Allen was Dennis Rodman before it was cool. Allen's off the field flare and penchant for controversy overshadowed his great baseball skills. He was one of the most feared sluggers of the 1960s and early 1970s, and many of his teammates identified him as a significant imfluence on their career.


Biography:

Richie Allen broke in with a bang, winning the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year award with the Philadelphia Phillies. That team blew a six-game lead in the final week of the season, one of the worst collapses in baseball history. It was about as close as Allen would get to a World Series.

His disruptions in the Philadelphia clubhouse led to his trade to the Cardinals in 1970, and in turn his trade to Los Angeles in 1971. By 1972 he was on his fourth team in four years - the White Sox. While there, manager Chuck Tanner soothed the talented star's ego long enough for him to win two home run titles and the AL MVP in 1972. From 1964 to 1972 Allen slugged at least twenty home runs each season, driving in 100 or more three times.

He led the AL in home runs and slugging in 1974 despite bolting the team in September to return to his ranch and tend to his horses. The next season he was back in Philadelphia where he polarized the clubhouse, tainting such young players as Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox. In the 1976 playoffs against Cincinnati he sulked and complained while the team lost. His final season saw him shipped to Oakland.

Allen's attitude problems, misconstrued or not, have left him outside of the Hall of Fame, despite his worthy credentials. Despite the fact that his league-adjusted offensive numbers are some of the best for any player not in the Hall of Fame (and better than many who are in), it seems virtually certain that the controversial slugger will never be enshrined.

The wide range of skills he possessed are evident in the fact that Allen led the league in such diverse categories as on-base percentage, homers, triples, runs scored, RBI, total bases, slugging, extra-base hits, and walks. Allen was also a very good baserunner and he stole enough bases to finish in the top ten in his league twice.

On the defensive side, Allen was used anywhere his teams could hide his shaky glove. He played more than 800 games at first base, 650 at third, and 250 in the outfield. It was with his bat that Allen made his living. After his playing career he retreated to his ranch, where he maintained a breeding farm. A horse lover, Allen once said of Astroturf, "If horses can't eat it, I don't want to play on it."

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Tagged:
AL MVP 1972, Chicago White Sox, Dick Allen, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Rookie of the Year Award

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