Dick Allen Misses Hall of Fame as Golden Era Ballot Elects No One

In the lead up to today’s Hall of Fame Golden Era ballot announcement, a lot of “Dick Allen Deserves the Hall of Fame” pieces went up online. ESPN The Magazine pre-published “Dick Allen Deserves the Hall of Fame,” Philly.com re-published Stan Hochman’s 2001 column “Dick Allen was Iverson before it was OK to be Iverson,” and Brian Kenny wrote the more stat-guided “Dick Allen is a Hall of Famer” a few days ago for Sports on Earth. Maybe they were all clued into something — stressing his worth — because it was just announced that no one off of the Golden Era ballot will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dick Allen reportedly missed induction by one vote.

From Kenny’s stats-driven post:

Dick Allen, at-bat for at-bat, is one of the top 20 hitters in baseball history.

Allen had a reputation (possibly unfairly) for being a bit of a malcontent, and every time you look back at his record, you end up thinking; “Could he have possibly been that bad in the clubhouse?” I don’t know if he was a strong black man getting a bad rap in a racist society or the worst possible teammate ever, but what I do know is that he is a better hitter and player than a good percentage of those already in the Hall of Fame.

Dick Allen had an 11-year peak that was truly staggering, putting up a .299/.386/.554 line from 1964 through 1974. That’s a slash line that would be impressive in the high-scoring Depression era of baseball, and Allen did it in the heart of the deadball Koufax/Gibson 1960s.

He led the league in OPS+ three times, and was top three on six occasions. So, basically, Allen was arguably the best hitter in his league for a good six years. To be fair, Allen missed a lot of games in that 11-year span mentioned above …

There are clearly a lot of things going on surrounding Allen’s reputation as a player. I have no idea where the truth lies, but it is easy to see how a narrative can develop that is not an accurate reflection of the truth, and certainly in the 60s and 70s it’s easy to envision a press corps unfairly labeling a quote/unquote “difficult” (code alert) individual.

And from the ESPN The Magazine piece:

The old conventions did not get Allen close to induction, but a dedicated group of fan advocates from Philadelphia and modern statistical analysis give his supporters hope that he won’t again pay for his moods and his blackness, as he did in 1974, when he led the AL in multiple categories, including home runs, yet finished, yes, 23rd for MVP. Of retired players with 3,000 plate appearances and an OPS+ of at least 156, Allen is one of only four not in the Hall. The others are Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Shoeless Joe Jackson. And of eligible non-steroid-era players, Allen’s .534 slugging percentage is the highest of any uninducted player.

Well, at least that “highest non-steroid-era slugging percentage not in the hall” title still belongs to Allen.


4 Responses

  1. He missed election to the Hall of Fame because he didn’t have Hall of Fame numbers.

  2. I remember watching Richie Allen at Connie Mack Stadium in the ’60s. He was pretty good, but he struck out a lot! I don’t know if he was a hall of famer though.

  3. First, at the last minute Sunday afternoon and under my breath, I switched my pick from the Eagles to the Seahawks, so I was right again. Allen does not belong in the HOF. In fact, one third of the clowns in the Hall are frauds and yes Ashburn was not good enough….neither was Bunning. And if Mike Schmidt does not start returning my calls, he’s out too.

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