Dick Allen

Dick Allen will have another shot later this year at securing a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, ideally closing the chapter and rectifying arguably one of the biggest oversights to the Hall of Fame. 

Allen, who passed away in December 2020, was named Friday to the ballot for the Golden Days Era committee. The committee will gather on Dec. 5 in Orlando, Fla. to vote. Allen will need 12 of the available 16 votes to earn enshrinement. He fell one vote shy when the committee met previously in 2014. 

Joining Allen on the ballot are Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Roger Maris, Minnie Minoso, Danny Murtaugh, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, and Maury Wills. 

Allen is arguably the best player not enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He signed with the Phillies shortly before the 1960 season and made his big league debut in 1963. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1964 and appeared in seven All-Star Games over 15 big league seasons. 

Statistically, he stacks up with the best of his generation. He posted an OPS+ of 145 or greater in eleven seasons, and his 156 career-adjusted OPS+ ranks 19th all-time in Major League history. He also put together two seasons of 9.0+ WAR; every eligible player to have accomplished that feat is in the Hall of Fame. 

Allen spent 14 years on the Hall of Fame ballot before losing eligibility in 1997. He never secured more than 18.9 percent of the necessary 75 percent for election to the Hall by the writers. 

Before ever reaching the Majors, Allen found himself embroiled in controversy. He was a black ballplayer forced to deal with racial injustices throughout his minor league career, highlighted by a defining stint with the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Little Rock during the 1963 season. 

“I didn’t know anything about the racial issue in Arkansas and didn’t really care,” Allen penned in his biography Crash: The Life and Times of Dick Allen. “Maybe if the Phillies had called me in, man to man, like the Dodgers had done with Jackie Robinson, at least I would have been prepared. Instead, I was on my own.” 

Allen was besieged by racism, routinely dealing with racial taunts, prejudice, physical altercations, and death threats during much of his time in Philadelphia. He acted out at times, but that often was in response to his second-rate treatment. 

The Phillies traded Allen to Saint Louis following the 1969 season. He also spent time with the Dodgers and White Sox before being traded back to Philadelphia in May of 1975. He finished his career with a final season in Oakland. 

Allen was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1994 and had his number retired by the organization in 2020. 

“Dick’s numbers would have been even more extraordinary had he played in a better environment,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said. “Some of the conditions he played in and lived with off the field were truly horrific.”

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