Does Dick Allen belong in the Hall of Fame?
For years, my dad has told me that Dick Allen was the best natural hitter he ever saw. I thought about that when I read Meghan Montemurro’s excellent piece for The Athletic, “Snubbed: The Hall of Fame case for Dick Allen.”
I remember Allen from his second tour with the Phils, at th end of his career. He was a part-time player then. But his numbers were pretty good in 1976: 15 homers and 49 RBIs in 85 games. That was the first of three straight seasons the Phillies made the playoffs, following a 26-year drought.
Allen, who never wanted to be called Richie, burst onto the scene as a rookie with the 1964 Phils. Yes, the ones who blew the pennant in a late-season monumental collapse. That year, he batted .318 with 201 hits, 125 runs, 13 triples, 29 home runs and 91 runs batted in.
My father had a 1965 Phillies yearbook, and even though that was years before I was old enough to follow baseball, Allen was one of players I recognized.
A career .292 hitter with a .378 on-base percentage in 15 seasons, Allen batted over .300 regularly and smashed at least 30 homers six times. In his 1972 MVP season with the White Sox, Allen led the American League with 37 taters and 113 RBIs. He led both leagues with a .420 on-base percentage and 1.023 OPS (on-base plus slugging) that year.
As Montemurro points out, Allen possesses strong Hall of Fame bona fides. In the 11 seasons from 1964-1974, his offensive WAR of 68.5 was easily the best of any player of that era.
The last time Allen had a chance to be elected to the Hall, in 2014, he fell one vote short. His next opportunity is December, when the Hall of Fame committee votes on players from the 1950-1969 era. In my opinion, Allen deserves this long-overdue honor, and I hope the committee finally gets it right.