The effort to get former Phillies great Dick Allen into the National Baseball Hall of Fame — which fell just one vote short four years ago — got a new boost on Friday from Mayor Jim Kenney and Gov. Tom Wolf.
Kenney and Wolf joined other supporters at a press conference at City Hall to call for the nomination and induction of Allen into the Hall in Cooperstown, New York.
“Growing up in the city in the 1960s, I saw first-hand the greatness of Dick Allen,” Kenney said in a statement. “And I know of the tremendous challenges he faced because of racism. Dick Allen turned away from that, focusing his energies on the field, and his credentials from his remarkable career are beyond question.
“I call on members of the Hall of Fame’s “Golden Days” committee — who will choose a new Hall of Fame class next year — to stop turning their backs on Dick Allen and nominate him for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
“Dick Allen was a remarkable player at an especially challenging time,” Wolf said in a statement. “Pitchers feared him, and anyone — like me — who watched him hit understood why. He was also a hero in the manner he handled the racism he faced. He had to battle not opposing pitchers, but sometimes his teams’ fans and even his teammates. It’s time for all of us who witnessed Dick Allen’s greatness to make his case for the Hall of Fame.”
Allen played for the Phillies during the civil rights era. He was one of the early African Americans to play for the Phillies. He had two stints with the team (1963-69, 1975-76). He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1970), Los Angeles Dodgers (1971), Chicago White Sox (1972-74) and Oakland Athletics (1977).
He certainly has the credentials for the Hall of Fame.
Some of Allen’s greatest years were with the Phillies. In 1964, Allen was named the National League Rookie of the Year after hitting .318 with 29 home runs and 91 RBIs. His first five seasons were outstanding — he averaged 30 home runs, 90 RBIs and 150 hits a season from 1965-69 with the Phillies. Allen played in three All-Star games while he was in Philadelphia.
In 1972, Allen was selected as the American League Most Valuable Player when he played for the White Sox. He had a terrific season, hitting 37 home runs and producing 113 RBIs. He also had a .308 batting average. Allen won the AL home run title in 1972 and 1974 with 37 and 32 homers, respectively. He completed his career with a .292 batting average, 351 home runs and 1,119 RBIs.
His OPS+ (on-base percentage plus slugging) for the period from 1964 to 1974 was 165, which is better than Hall of Famers Willie McCovey (161), Hank Aaron (159), Willie Stargell (153), Roberto Clemente (151), Willie Mays (148) and Harmon Killebrew (148).
“He was the most productive offensive player in all of baseball during that time,” said Mark Carfagno, who spearheads the Dick Allen Hall of Fame campaign.
In 2014, City Council member Mark Squilla and then-Council member Kenney co-sponsored a resolution calling for Allen’s Hall of Fame induction. A year later, what was then called the “Golden Era” committee met, but Allen came one vote short of getting into the Hall.
Now, the “Golden Days” committee will selected a new Hall of Fame class in December 2020, for induction in 2021.
In addition to Wolf, Kenney, Squilla and Carfagno, the press conference was attended by former Phillies pitcher Larry Christenson; Dick Allen’s son, Richard Allen Jr.; baseball historian Bill Jenkinson; and campaign spokesman Joe Ferry.
High school baseball players from the Philadelphia Public and Catholic Leagues also attended, some wearing “Dick Allen for Hall of Fame” T-shirts with his picture and his No. 15. Christenson, who paid for the T-shirts, praised the players for supporting the cause and called it a “no-brainer” that Allen should be in the Hall.
“Dick is not a self promoter,” said Christenson, who was a teammate of Allen’s during his career with the Phillies. “It’s important for these kids to be aware of him. It’s great to see the kids show up here and have an awareness of who Dick Allen is and for this event to come off today with the governor and the mayor to be here and promote Dick Allen for the Hall of Fame.”
West Philadelphia infielder Kevon Harris, who had a Dick Allen T-shirt, said he has learned a lot about Allen’s baseball career.
“He’s a legend,” Harris said. “He’s a great baseball player. He’s a great Phillie. We respect him as a Philadelphian and a Philadelphia Phillie. He should definitely get inducted into the Hall of Fame.”