Dick Allen, 78, Dies; Baseball Slugger Withstood Bigotry

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Dick Allen, 78, Dies; Baseball Slugger Withstood Bigotry

Dick Allen, who was a leading baseball player in the 1960s and early 70s, mainly playing with the Phillies and Chicago White Sox, but who saw himself as a target for Philadelphia fans in his early years with the club as a result of racial hostility. died on Monday in Wampum, PA. He was 78 years old.

The Phillies announced his death.

Allen, who completed 351 home races in his 15 major league seasons, was All-Star seven times: three times with the Phillies, once with the St. Louis Cardinals and three times with the White Sox. He was named National League Rookie of the Year with the Phillies in 1964 and American League Most Valuable Player with the White Sox in 1972. He hit over 300 three times.

The Phillies withdrew his number 15 uniform in September.

“Dick will be remembered not only as one of the greatest and most beloved players in our franchise history, but also as a brave warrior who had to overcome far too many obstacles to reach the level he has come to,” said the Phillies in a statement.

Mike Schmidt, the third baseman of the Phillies’ Hall of Fame, said in a speech at a team ceremony in honor of Allen in September, “Dick was a sensitive black who refused to be treated as a second-class citizen.”

“He played in front of domestic fans who were products of this racist era,” continued Schmidt, and alongside “racist teammates” at a time when there were “different rules for whites and blacks”.

“Fans threw things at him,” he said, “so Dick wore a flared helmet all over the game.” They shouted humiliating racial slurs. They dumped rubbish in his front yard at his home. “

Allen played with the Phillies from 1963 to 1969 and was active in Philadelphia in 1975 and 1976. In 1970 he was with the Cardinals, 1971 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 1972-1974 with the White Sox and 1977 with the Oakland A’s. Play first base, third base and the outfield.

Richard Anthony Allen was born on March 8, 1942 in Wampum, a small town near Pittsburgh. As one of nine children, he was raised by his mother Era, who supported the family through her work as a domestic servant.

Allen was signed by the Phillies when he graduated from high school for an estimated $ 70,000 (nearly $ 600,000 in today’s money).

After playing in the minors, he made his major league debut in early September 1963.

During his early years with the Phillies, his teammates called him Richie, a name he didn’t like. “My name is Richard and they called me Dick in the minor leagues,” he once said. The name Richie, he added, “makes me sound like I’m 10 years old.” It was several years before sports journalists referred to him as Dick.

When Allen returned to Philadelphia for his second round with the team, the atmosphere had changed. A large local crowd greeted him on May 14, 1975.

Allen’s survivors are his wife Willa. A complete list was not immediately available.

Despite his strong credentials, Allen never received more than 18.9 percent of the required 75 percent of the vote for induction into the Hall of Fame in the 14 years he was elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He is seen by a committee as a strong candidate for future votes, aside from the writers who are voting on numbers that have been overlooked.

In 1994, Allen was hired by the Phillies as a Spring Training Batting Instructor and Community Fan Representative.

He was invited by the Phillies to dump the first ball at the 2009 National League Division Series opening game at Citizens Bank Park.

In July 2010, Allen was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. “You see how things turn?” he said. “Do you see how rewarding it is? I am proud of this city. It’s in my heart “