One of the most famed Phillies of the ’60s and ’70s, Allen has passed away at 78 years old.
Allen was a 7-time All-Star and won the National League Rookie of the Year award while with the Phillies. He was also named AL MVP as a member of the Chicago White Sox in 1972.
Allen’s #15 was retired last season by the Phillies. During his time in the league, he was one of the best hitters in the entire league. Allen had the fifth-most home runs (319) over an 11-year span (1964-74) behind four Hall of Famers: Hank Aaron (391), Harmon Killebrew (336), Willie Stargell (335), and Willie McCovey (327). His .940 OPS during that time was second to Aaron’s .941.
Allen was one of the most visible players in the league during his time in Philadelphia, but that was due to his frequent battles with racism. Allen was an outspoken opponent of racism and seen as rebellious by the fan base. Allen would often wear a batting helmet in the field to combat things being thrown at him.
Mike Schmidt was a longtime friend and supporter of Allen. It was Schmidt who coaxed Allen to one last season in Philadelphia in 1975, and Schmidt who was present at his number retirement. Team managing partner John Middleton broke precedence with the ceremony, usually reserved for Hall of Famers. Enshrinement has eluded Allen thus far, and Schmidt has spoken out against that fact.
“My friends, these [negative] labels have kept Dick Allen out of the Hall of Fame,” Schmidt said. “Imagine what Dick could’ve accomplished as a player in another era, on another team, left alone to hone his skills, to be confident, to come to the ballpark every day and just play baseball.”
Allen’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame fell one vote short when the Golden Era Committee voted on older candidates in 2014. His next chance will be the upcoming election held by the Golden Days Committee. The Golden Days Committee and the Early Days Committee did not vote this year because of COVID-19 and instead will meet during the winter of 2021. It was highly believed Allen would finally gain entrance to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.