Alumni Profile: Dick Allen

Dick Allen wasn't always the easiest guy to get along with. Gene Mauch and Dick Allen had a relationship that made Allen Iverson and Larry Brown look like Donny and Marie. No matter what managers hated about Allen's personality, they loved the way he could swing a bat and so did fans. Allen hit 351 career homeruns as a Phillie, but has never quite gotten all of the recognition and star power that his numbers might have deserved.

When it came to long homeruns at Connie Mack Stadium, Richie "Dick" Allen was one of the stars. Some of the longest blasts ever hit there came off Allen's bat. Before his career was over, Allen hit 351 homeruns and finished his career with a .292 average. Great numbers, but not enough to put Allen into the Hall of Fame, especially when voters factored Allen's personality into the mix.

Frank Thomas and Gene Mauch may well have been in Philadelphia longer if not for Allen. In July of 1965, Thomas and Allen got into a pre-game altercation that started with some verbal jabs at one another and ended with Thomas using a baseball bat to go after the Phillies third baseman. Ironically, Thomas hit a pinch-hit homerun that night that won the game, but got his walking papers after the game. It was an unpopular move with the fans and Allen never lived it down as he war barraged with boos on a nightly basis. Even when Allen drove in 110 runs in 1966, the fans were still all over him. As for Mauch, he battled with Allen on a daily basis until Phillies management fired Mauch, partly because they didn't think the clubhouse was big enough for both men.

One of Mauch's biggest battles was getting Allen to the stadium when he was supposed to be there. Allen was constantly getting to the park late. In 1967, he showed up late and with a severely cut hand and wrist. The cuts happened when Allen was pushing an old car and the headlight broke, although there were a lot of members of the Phillies that never quite bought the story. The cuts were so bad that there was concern for Allen's career, but those concerns were unfounded. The injury did hurt his throwing ability, so the Phillies moved him to left field, but offensively, Allen was still a major threat.

After the '69 season, the Phillies had tired of Allen and dealt him to St.Louis. Again, there was controversy, since he was part of the trade that included Curt Flood, who refused to report to the Phillies and took his case to the courts, opening the door for modern free agency. Allen wore out his welcome in St.Louis in a season and went to Los Angeles for a season before winding up in Chicago as a member of the White Sox. Eventually, Allen was back in Philadelphia and again drove his manager - this time it was Danny Ozark – crazy. The mild-mannered Ozark even went into a frenzy after a conversation with Allen, kicking and throwing a trash can throughout his office and the Phillies clubhouse. While Allen secretly wanted to finish his career in Philadelphia, it didn't happen. He went out as a member of the Oakland A's in 1977.

Over the years, Allen has made up with Thomas and Mauch and Phillies fans have smoothed their hatred for "Crash" as he was known. Now, many fans have looked past the attitude and the problems and remember that magical season of 1964.


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