March 23, 2023

Dick Allen shockingly misses out on Hall of Fame yet again

Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Another year, another missed opportunity for Dick Allen.

The late, great former Phillies slugger was once again denied election to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Allen, who died a year ago this week at 78, came up one vote short on the Golden Days Era ballot, which was announced Sunday night. He also finished one vote short of election in 2014, the last time the Golden Days Era committee assembled.

There seemed to be great momentum for Allen to finally get into Cooperstown this time.

The reality of his rejection stung his supporters.

“I am terribly disappointed,” Phillies owner John Middleton said moments after the announcement.

Middleton, along with Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, had long praised Allen’s candidacy for election.

In September 2020, the Phillies retired Allen’s number 15, breaking the club’s longstanding policy of only retiring numbers of players who were elected to the Hall of Fame..

“Dick Allen deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” Schmidt said that day.

Schmidt wasn’t the only Hall of Famer who spoke out on Allen’s behalf in recent months and years.

Willie Mays and the late Hank Aaron, both of whom played against Allen, each said Allen deserved to be enshrined in Cooperstown. 

Allen’s performance over an 11-year span from 1964-to-1974 was similar to both of those all-time greats.

While Allen came up short, four players did win election from the Golden Days Era committee. The group included former pitcher Jim Kaat (who spent part of his 25-year career with the Phillies), Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, and three-time American League batting champ Tony Oliva. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 24.

The Golden Days Era committee was made up of 16 people, including Hall of Fame players Schmidt, Rod Carew, Ferguson Jenkins, Ozzie Smith, and Joe Torre. Former Commissioner Bud Selig was on the committee along with Hall of Fame executive John Schuerholz. Current executives Al Avila, Bill DeWitt, Ken Kendrick, Kim Ng, and Tony Reagins were also on the committee. Four veteran media members were also on the committee. Those were Jack O’Connell, Steve Hirdt, Jaime Jarrin, and Adrian Burgos Jr.

12 votes, or 75%, were needed for election. Minoso received 14 votes. Hodges, Kaat, and Oliva all received 12. Allen received 11. Ken Boyer, Roger Maris, Danny Murtaugh, Billy Pierce, and Maury Wills each received three or fewer votes. Voters were allowed to vote for up to four of the 10 candidates. Individual ballots were not revealed.

Schmidt, obviously, voted for Allen. Word is he addressed the committee and spoke on his former teammate’s behalf.

Through the Phillies, Schmidt issued a bland statement.

“We were sad to hear that Dick Allen came up short of the votes needed at the Golden Era election today,” Schmidt said. “Every effort was made to present a positive case for Dick, who also missed by one vote in 2014. Congratulations to those elected, especially former Phillie Jim Kaat.”

Allen’s case will come up for review again in 2026.

Born and raised in Wampum, Allen played 15 big-league seasons and hit .292 with 351 home runs, 1,119 RBIs and a .912 OPS. He was the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year and the 1972 American League MVP.

In an era known for dominant pitching, Allen stood beside Aaron and Mays as one of the most feared sluggers in the game.

From 1964 to 1974, he averaged 29 homers and 89 RBIs while hitting .299 with a .940 OPS. Only Aaron’s .941 OPS was better in the majors over that span. Allen slugged .554 from 1964 to 1974, second only to Aaron’s .561. Only Billy Williams (702), another Hall of Famer, and Aaron (689) had more extra-base hits than Allen’s 670 in that 11-year run.

Despite his on-field performance over 11 years, Allen never received more than 18.9% of the necessary 75% in 15 years on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot. Allen was often viewed as a troublemaker throughout his career and many voters held that against him. But that time had softened the large view of Allen and explained some of his behavior. As a young player coming up in the Phillies’ minor-league system, he faced harsh racism. It followed him to Philadelphia. He fought back against injustice and was labeled as militant, rebellious, and insubordinate. During his first stint in Philadelphia, he battled with teammates, club officials, and the fans. He was traded after the 1969 season.

“Dick’s numbers would have been even more extraordinary had he played in a better environment,” Middleton said in 2020. “Some of the conditions he played in and lived with off the field were truly horrific.”

Older and much more mature, Allen returned to Philadelphia in 1975 and 1976 and helped mentor a group of young stars like Schmidt, Garry Maddox, Larry Bowa, and Greg Luzinski. All of them were at his number retirement in September 2020.

Battling cancer at the time, Allen spoke only briefly on the day his number was retired.

“The city of Philadelphia,” he said. “Even though it was rough at times, I made some friends along the way.”

His number 15 is on the wall at Citizens Bank Park, but there is still no bronze plaque in Cooperstown. Shockingly, Dick Allen is out by a step once again and it isn’t right.

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