Dick Allen's HOF case 'speaks for itself'

November 19th, 2021

NEW YORK -- Dick Allen has been in the news lately as one of 10 candidates from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s -- including Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso and Roger Maris, to name a few -- who have a chance to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022 via the Golden Days Era Committee.

Nine of the candidates -- all except former Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh -- had been eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. But none reached the required 75 percent needed for election and fell off the ballot either after 15 years or by drawing less than 5 percent to remain on the ballot. The committee vote will be announced live on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight at 6 p.m. ET on Dec. 5.

Allen’s older brother, Hank, is hoping that ‘22 will be the year Dick, who died of cancer on Dec. 7, 2020, at age 78, will be recognized.

“I think he is deserving. I feel good about his opportunity to be selected,” said Hank, who had the distinction of playing with his brother in 1972 and ‘73 when both were with the White Sox.

Dick Allen’s exemplary career started with the Phillies. He captured National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1964, leading the team in Wins Above Replacement (8.8) that year. His best season was in 1972 as a member of the White Sox, and what a season it was. Allen led the AL in home runs, RBIs, OPS, OPS+, slugging and walks. His efforts would earn him his only Most Valuable Player Award.

To this day, Hank can’t believe the talent Dick displayed during that season.

“I probably didn’t see him play for about 10 years or more [before 1972],” Hank remembered. “To show the complete player that he was, [he was] knowledgeable, he didn’t make mistakes on the bases. He didn’t chase pitches. He would go up there and make a pitcher come to him.”

Dick Allen played 15 years in the big leagues and hit .292 with 352 home runs and 1,119 RBIs for the Phillies, White Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers and Athletics. But those stats don’t tell the whole story.

“Just take a look at his record, and you compare him with some of the other players that are in [the Hall of Fame],” Hank said.

Dick Allen's OPS+ (153) is the highest in Phillies history, ahead of Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (147). Allen led the Major Leagues in OPS four times. According to FanGraphs, his OPS+ is 156, matching Willie Mays and Frank Thomas, and tied for 14th among players with at least 7,000 plate appearances. From 1964-74, Allen was first in MLB in offensive WAR (68.3), according to MLB Network, ahead of Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski and Joe Morgan.

Allen ranks 205th in career WAR (58.7), ahead of Hall of Famers Enos Slaughter, Willie Stargell and Tony Perez.

While Statcast wasn’t around when Allen played, he was known to use a 42-ounce bat and hit monster home runs. Some of those bombs were legendary. According to Baseball Almanac, Allen hit 18 home runs that cleared Connie Mack Stadium's 65-foot-high left-field grandstand. Also according to the website, Allen twice cleared the park's 65-foot-high right-center-field scoreboard.

“Take my feeling away from it and just look at the record. The body of work speaks for itself,” Hank Allen said. “And if you compare him to some of the other Hall of Famers, it's safe to say he qualifies for this honor.”

While he performed on the field, Dick Allen was also known for controversy off of it. He played in an era during which racism was prevalent, and he had no tolerance for it.

“Think about it: My brother was the first minority … that Philadelphia had that was an outstanding player,” Hank said. “And you think about all the things that happened in Philadelphia during the Jackie Robinson era. We are talking about 18 years [before my brother made his debut].”

If Allen is elected into the Hall of Fame, his son, Richard Jr., would likely represent his father during induction. Richard was very close to his father, according to Hank.

“[Richard Jr.] looks like him, talks like him, acts like him. He would be the natural, to me, to be the representative,” Hank said. “He could mimic his daddy to a tee. He would make you think that you are talking to his dad. He cracks me up when he mocks his dad.”