Dick Allen

Talented, controversial, charming, and abusive, Allen put in 15 major league seasons, hitting prodigious homers and paying prodigious fines. Called “Richie” at first, in mid-career he became, adamantly, “Dick.” He was praised as a money player and condemned as a loafer. He made 41 errors at third base (which he had not played in the minors) for the Phillies in 1964, but his 29 home runs, 91 RBI, 201 hits, and .318 BA earned him Rookie of the Year honors. A deep cut on his right hand, which he reported having suffered while pushing a stalled car, affected his throwing and the Phillies made him a first baseman/outfielder in 1967. He hit 40 home runs in 1966 and 177 through 1969, but off-the-field behavior brought him a 28-day suspension, a $500-a-day fine, and a trade to the Cardinals at the end of ’69. The swap proved doubly controversial when Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies and challenged the reserve clause in court, forcing St. Louis to substitute Willie Montanez. The Cardinals passed Allen on to the Dodgers after one year, and they traded him to the White Sox a year later. Each trade added to Allen’s reputation as an unmanageable loner. In 1972, with easygoing Chuck Tanner as his White Sox manager, he led the AL in homers (37), RBI (113), walks (99), and slugging percentage (.603) and was named MVP. In 1974, he was on his way to a similar year when he “retired” with a month left to play, giving no reason. Despite his vacation, he led the AL with 32 home runs. The Sox traded him to Atlanta for cash and a player to be named later in December 1974, but before he could play for the Braves they sent him to the Phillies in May 1975 for Barry Bonnell, Jim Essian, and cash. When Essian was turned over to Chicago as Atlanta’s player to be named later, he’d been swapped for Allen twice in less than half a year. After two sub-par years in Philadelphia and one in Oakland, Allen retired for good, still an enigma. His brothers Ron and Hank played in the majors.