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Phillies: Dick “Crash” Allen’s HOF Chances in 2020

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

With fire in his eyes, Allen hammered a titanic blast through the wind and into the center field upper deck, and even Philadelphia Phillies broadcasters couldn’t contain their enthusiasm.  

According to Orlando Cepeda in a take elsewhere, Allen had fire in his eyes. Moreover, the spectators on that night rose to their feet in appreciation, plus By Saam and Richie Ashburn demonstrated the same excitement. Ashburn’s radio commentary: Whoa! Whhooooa!  

 

The Better Brother:

Sooner or later, time runs out for retired stars with genetic longevity, and their descendants will accept the superstar’s award. But, hopefully, Dick Allen will enjoy the spotlight one more time and bask in the celebration of his glory days. Yes, a hero’s due!              

IN OTHER WORDS:

“I heard a fella say once he'd rather have a rose bud when he was alive than to have a whole rose garden thrown his way after he is gone. It looks like they've (the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1935) thrown the roses my way while I'm still here.” - Home Run Baker

Until Aaron Nola was the better sibling, the Fightins had relied on Ken Brett and Mike Maddux. But Allen, unknown by me, has two brothers: outfielder Hank and first baseman Ron respectively. In their careers, older Hank Allen was with three American League clubs, and younger Ron Allen was in the National League.             

The older outfielder played from 1966 through 1973 with the Washington Senators, Milwaukee Brewers (AL) and Chicago White Sox. Season-wise, his best campaign was 1969 with Washington: 109 games, 286 plate appearances, a .277 average, one home run and 17 RBIs.        

The younger first sacker had originally signed with the Phillies in 1960 and appeared with the 1972 St. Louis Cardinals. That August, he only had 14 plate appearances: He smacked a solo homer and drew three free passes. But don’t sell either one short because most prospects never have one MLB at-bat.

 

Note: The only Allen or corner infielder mentioned from this point on is Dick Allen.    

The Wampum Walloper:

With the 1964 Phillies, Allen received NL Rookie of the Year honors with his .318 mark, 29 long balls and 91 RBIs. Plus he hit .438 with five doubles, two triples, three blasts and 11 RBIs during the last 12 Fightins’ contests that season.    

According to Chad Dotson of Hardball Times, he ranked Allen as the top rookie of the 60’s (1960-1969).  In fact, Allen’s 8.8 WAR as a rookie was third behind Mike Trout and Shoeless Joe Jackson. (https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-best-rookies-of-the-60s/)

Allen’s numbers are even more remarkable because there were many pitcher-friendly parks, and it was a moundsman’s era. Homewise, center field was 447’ deep with an eight-foot wall, the right field fence was 34’ high, and the left field wall was 12’ high.   

The above You Tube photo shows Allen had 26 home-game bombs that left the yard or hit the left field rooftop. Memorably, two drives cleared the 65-foot-high left field grandstand, and two left the park over the 65-foot-high right-center field scoreboard. Plus other “green cathedrals” were part of his tape-measure legacy.                     

For some fans, red pinstripes’ sluggers have disappointed due to high expectations. But Allen --unlike Del Ennis before him and Mike Schmidt afterward-- had the added disadvantage of a racial element. For Ennis, his wife Liz stated her husband had suffered due to the treatment.       

Allen received verbal obscenities, racial epithets, showers of fruit, ice, garbage, and even flashlight batteries. So, he began wearing his batting helmet at first base and earned the nickname "Crash Helmet” from Bob Uecker. Ergo, “Crash” for short.   

Trout vs. Allen:

According to FanGraphs, wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) is the best offensive comparison tool because it values each outcome and adjusts for stadium conditions. Average is 100 with a higher or lower percentage than the midpoint. Therefore, 120 is 20 percent above average.

With today’s analytical prominence, how does Allen stack up against Trout? Here are their comparisons from their first full 162 through Trout’s 2019, his eighth summer.  

Trout vs. Allen:

  • Rookie year: Trout with 167 and Allen with 162.
  • High: Trout in 2018 with 190 and Allen in 1972 with 199 (9th season). 
  • Low: Trout in 2014 with 167 and Allen in 1970 with 142.
  • Average: Trout’s 175.1 for 8 years and Allen’s 158.1 for 9 years.

After his poor treatment by some Phillies faithful during his first six campaigns, management agreed to deal him. And he went to St. Louis in the famous Curt Flood trade. However, the Cards had replaced Flood with Willie Montanez in the swap, which eventually led to Garry Maddox from the San Francisco Giants. 

Crash had other stops: the Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the White Sox through 1974. But after he had retired despite the Atlanta Braves’ interest, the Phils coaxed him to be a veteran presence for their young squad. And he mentored Schmidt and gave pointers to Greg Luzinski.   

When he rejoined the red pinstripes, I thought like an average fan and expected the slugger from his first stint here. Years later, I understand how elite skills have limitations but never understood the unwarranted treatment then. But now I realize many have at least unrealistic expectations. Thank you, killjoys.

   

One Vote Needed:

For Hall of Fame induction, many point to his controversial episodes with the Phillies as a reason to deny him that honor. But if those top-tier stars on those Cooperstown plaques could come to life, they wouldn’t be visiting houses of worship. No, they wouldn’t be praying.

As for the clubhouse-cancer accusation, many former teammates stressed the opposite, so detractors are possible culprits. Moreover, many stars had only high praise for the slugger according to sports quotation man Glenn Liebman. To illustrate, Willie Stargell exaggeratedly claimed fans booed because of his no-souvenir bombs

Although one reason for Allen not being in the Hall of Fame is not enough numbers due to a 15-year career, his lifetime stats are a .292 average, 351 long balls and 1,119 RBIs. In fact, he had 850 extra base hits out of 1,848 knocks: That 46 percent also included 320 doubles and 79 triples. And he earned his Phillies Wall of Fame plaque in 1994.   .      

At the 2020 Winter Meetings, the Golden Days Era Committee will vote on Allen and other stars for Hall of Fame inclusion in the class of 2021. He will need 12 votes (75 percent) from the 16 members, but he was one vote shy in 2013. Moreover, he is eligible because he qualifies for HOS (Hall of Stats) and HOM (Hall of Merit).

After owner Bob Carpenter had agreed to trade him, Allen entertained the fans in 1969 by “dirt doodling” with the word “COKE” to say he’d launch one there to shut them up. And after scrawling “BOO,” OCT 2,” and “PETE” for the boobirds, he messaged “NO” and “WHY” to continue the fuss despite contrary orders. 

To sum up, Allen isn’t campaigning for the Hall of Fame, and this article is only for Phillies fans’ enjoyment. Plus I wish he played his entire career here without the leather-lunged hecklers. Furthermore, if I could vote, it would be among the hopefully affirmative 75 percent. And you?

 

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Check Out the Sports Talk Philly Dick Allen Hall of Fame Roundtable:

Comments

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Michael C. Wallach

Richie Allen was the first "great" everyday player I had ever seen. I was 12 years old in 1969, living close to Shea Stadium, and will always remember that "Miracle Met" team. Admittedly, however, their only great player was Tom "Terrific" Seaver who as a pitcher didn't play everyday.

I couldn't wait to watch Richie Allen on TV or at Shea when he and the Phillies came to play. Offensively, I thought there wasn't anything Mr. Allen couldn't do and at 12 years old - sort-of - liked his "not-politically-correct" style and look.

My parents later moved to Chicago and when Mr. Allen was traded to the ChiSox - I got a chance to see him play everyday. I'll always remember a cartoon-like posting in the newspaper with Richie sitting on a throne all dressed up like a king. The caption under the picture was ... "I think I'll hit a home run or two - today - if I feel like it".

Today, I'm the Managing Director, on the Board of Directors, of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library in Greenville, SC. When asked who are my favorite all-time players - my answer is - and for the purpose of this posting, I'm going to list them in reverse order, ie... Joe (Shoeless) Jackson ... Richie (Crash) Allen ... and the immortal ... Ron (Rocky) Swoboda.

I must admit, however, that in my opinion, the only one of the three who "perhaps" does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame is Casey Stengel's boy, Rocky Swoboda. But, along with my son, I'd love to take Rocky to the Hall of Fame for the induction ceremonies of Mssrs Jackson and Allen.

Mark Carfagno

156 Career OPS+ ranks him tied for 21st with Willie Mays and ahead many of his HOF peers. Had an 11 year peak. During that peak his 165 OPS+ was the BEST IN ALL OF BASEBALL. Better than 17 Future Hall of Famers including; Aaron,Bench, McCovey, Banks, Billy Williams, Santo , Frank Robinson and Harmon Killebrew
He won 2 Major In Season Awards. 1964 NL ROY 1972 AL MVP . He was a 7 Time All Star who faced racism in two of the most racist cities in the country Little Rock and Philadelphia yet he still. performed at an Optimum or Hall of Fame Level. Still Termed by Many Experts THE GREATEST PLAYER NOT IN THE HALL OF FAME!

Michael J Rawlings

Black lives matter. BLACK BASEBALL CAREERS MATTER. President Jimmy Carter once wrote an article called "Forgive Peter Rose" endorsing the powers that be to consider Pete's induction into the HOF.
In these interesting times I wonder, if this issue was brought before President Donald Trump, would he do the same for Dick Allen? Do anyone have the access to bring it before the media or the President?
This isn't about politics....it is about JUSTICE.
Mike Rawlings Sr.

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