Bregman pays tribute to former player, scout

June 8th, 2024

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ANAHEIM – They were bonded by baseball, horse racing and, more than anything else, family. Hank Allen and were perhaps an unlikely friendship, but a friendship nonetheless. So when Bregman got a call last week that Allen had passed away, the news hit him hard.

“Pretty sad day,” he said.

Allen, who played seven years in the big leagues and is the brother of fellow Major League players Ron Allen and the late Dick Allen, passed away May 29 at 83 years old. While Dick was a seven-time All-Star and 1972 American League Most Valuable Player, Hank Allen carved his own path later in his career as a revered scout. He worked for the Astros, who drafted Bregman No. 2 overall out of LSU in 2015, for several years.

Bregman said he had spoken to Allen a handful of times in the last year.

“But never enough, you know?” he said. “Never as much as you’d like to.”

Allen made a huge impact on the Bregman family, dating back to Alex’s grandfather, Stan, who was general counsel for the Washington Senators and negotiated the sale of the team, which moved to Minneapolis and became the Twins. Allen played for the Senators from 1966-70, and Stan and Hank Allen were extremely close. In addition to baseball, they loved horse racing.

In fact, Hank and Dick named a horse “Barrister Bregman” after Stan Bregman and helped Hank become the first African-American trainer in 78 years to saddle a horse in the 1989 Kentucky Derby. Northern Wolf finished sixth behind winner Sunday Silence.

Bregman, whose father Sam is the former chair of the New Mexico Racing Commission, which governs the horse racing in the state, grew to love the sport, as well. Bregman Family Racing now owns 10 racehorses.

“[Hank] always followed all of our horses and would always call me every time one of them entered [a race],” Bregman said. “He’s just an outstanding man and human being.”

Stan Bregman also negotiated the hiring of Hall of Famer Ted Williams as the manager for a new Senators expansion team. Alex's father, Sam, used to sit on Williams' lap in the clubhouse. It was Stan Bregman who convinced Allen to fly to Albuquerque, N.M., to check out Bregman’s talents when he was 12 or 13 years old.

“My dad actually called him before my senior year and said, ‘Hank, you’ve got to do us a favor and draft him in like the 40th round, just make sure you make him a draft pick. That would be awesome,’” Bregman said. “Hank called him back and said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to have to do that, but we’ll see what happens.’ Sure enough, three years after that, I got drafted by the Astros, who he’s a scout for. It was pretty cool.”

Even cooler? A year after Houston won the 2017 World Series, Bregman presented Allen with his World Series ring -- the first one Allen had ever won -- when the Astros were in Baltimore the following year.

“He was pretty fired up,” Bregman said.

While searching for words to describe Hank Allen, Bregman paused and spoke softly of a friend gone too soon.

“Just a great, great man,” he said.