Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Monday, May 31, 2010

1976 Topps #455 - Dick Allen

  • Dick Allen spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, but I always thought of him as a White Sox player because of his three great early 70s seasons with them. This 1975 Topps card also influenced my thinking a lot.
  • Dick Allen was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960. He played mostly second base and outfield during his three minor league seasons. Dick earned a late season promotion to the Phillies in 1963 and batted .292 in ten games.
  • Allen was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1964 and finished seventh in MVP voting. Even though he didn't play third base in the minors, Dick was the starting third baseman for the Phillies. Allen made 41 errors at third base in 1964, but he wasn't out there for his glove. He batted .318 with 29 HR and 91 RBI. Dick led the NL in runs (125), triples (13) and strikeouts (138) as the Phillies almost won the pennant.
  • Dick hit fewer home runs in 1965 (20) but most of his other numbers were very similar to 1964. He batted .302 and knocked in 85 runs. Allen was the starting third baseman in the All Star game and went 1 for 3. People kept calling him Richie although he preferred Dick Dick Allen? - December 1965 Baseball Digest. Dick got into a clubhouse fight with teammate Frank Thomas. According to two teammates Thomas swung a bat at Allen and hit him on the shoulder. Thomas was released the next day and the other players were prevented from giving their side of the story.
  • Allen was fourth in NL MVP voting in 1966. He made the All Star team again, striking out as a pinch hitter. Dick led the NL with a .632 slugging percentage, batted .317, hit 40 home runs, and had 110 RBI.
  • Dick had an "all or nothing" game in the 1967 All Star game. He started at third base and batted four times. Allen struck out in three of those at bats and hit a solo homer in the other at bat. Allen batted .307 but his home run (23) and RBI (77) totals decreased. Dick split time between third base and left field in '67. He seriously injured his throwing hand when he pushed it through a car headlight in '67.
  • In 1968 Dick was moved to left field. His batting average dipped to .268 but he hit 33 homers and had 90 RBI. Allen batted .288 with 32 HR and 89 RBI in 1969. Allen was fined and suspended when he didn't appear for a game after attending a morning horse race in New Jersey and getting caught in traffic on his way back to Shea Stadium.
  • Dick wasn't very popular in Philadelphia and asked to be traded. The Phillies traded Allen to the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the famous Curt Flood trade. Before the 1970 season Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst was asked if the Cards should acquire Allen. Schoendienst said "no" because of the controversy surrounding Allen. After the 1970 season Schoendienst was asked if the Cardinals should trade Allen and he said "no" because of Allen's contributions to the club. In 1970 Allen batted .279 with 34 HR and 101 RBI. Dick was the NL's starting 1B in the 1970 All Star game and went 0 for 3 with a walk. After the 1970 season Dick was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ted Sizemore and Bob Stinson.
  • Allen split time between 3B, LF, and 1B for the Dodgers in 1971. In 155 games he batted .295 with 23 HR and 90 RBI. After the 1971 season Allen was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Tommy John and Steve Huntz.
  • Dick had a great season in 1972 and almost led the White Sox to the AL West title. He led the AL in home runs (37), RBI (113), and slugging (.603) and batted .308. Dick made the cover of the June 12, 1972 issue of Sports Illustrated (it's an interesting picture). Allen was the 1972 AL MVP. He went 0 for 3 as the starting AL 1B in the All Star game. Dick Allen: Baseball Digest Player of the Year - December 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • Allen was having another good year in 1973 when he broke his fibula in June. Allen made the AL All Star team but couldn't play due to his injury. Dick batted .316 with 16 HR and 41 RBI in 72 games in '73.
  • Dick made the All Star team for the last time in 1974. He started at 1B and went 1 for 2. Allen led the AL with 32 HR. He also led in slugging percentage (.563), batted .301, and knocked in 88 runs. Dick left the White Sox with two weeks left in the season. The White Sox weren't sure if he wanted to continue to play so they sold his contract to the Atlanta Braves for $5000. Allen refused to report to the Braves and retired. The Batter Pitchers Hate to Face - October 1974 Baseball Digest.
  • The Phillies were able to talk Allen out of retirement in May of 1975. The Phils sent Barry Bonnell, Jim Essian, and $150,000 to the Braves for Allen and Johnny Oates. Dick had shoulder problems and wasn't the same offensive player. He batted .233 with 12 HR and 62 RBI in 119 games. Allen batted .268 with 15 HR and 49 RBI in 85 games in 1976. Dick went 2 for 9 in the 1976 NLCS.
  • Allen became a free agent after the 1976 season and signed with the Oakland A's. He batted .240 with 5 HR and 31 RBI in 54 games. Dick was released by the A's during spring training in 1978. Allen ended up with a career .292 batting average with 351 home runs.
  • Allen's uninsured home and horse stables burned down in October 1979. He left his wife for a younger woman and lost everything (including his baseball pension) in the divorce.
  • Dick Allen: Another View (by Craig R. Wright - SABR Magazine)
  • Dick Allen, Baseball's Bad Boy - July 19, 1999 Sports Illustrated
  • Liked to face: Juan Marichal (.371 with 8 HR in 105 AB); Paul Splittorff (.389 with 6 HR in 36 AB); Dick Ellsworth (.550 in 40 AB)
  • Hated to face: Luke Walker (.000 in 25 AB); Don Drysdale (.065 in 46 AB); Ray Washburn (.103 in 29 AB)

1 comment:

  1. Matt,

    When Allen was re-acquired by the Phillies in 1975, he had missed the entire year to that point, and needed a few weeks to get into playing shape. The anticipation of his impending return to the lineup was unbelievable - almost like a game 7 atmosphere. (After all, Phillies fans hadn't had anything to look forward to for years!)

    If I recall correctly, after the 1976 season, Allen became disenchanted with the Phillies management (again!), this time because his friend Tony Taylor was left off the 1976 post-season roster.