Dick Allen, iconic slugger and former AL MVP, is dead at 78

Dick Allen, iconic slugger, and former AL MVP is dead at 78

Former MVP Dick Allen, one of baseball’s most feared hitters in the late 1960s and a star in Philadelphia and Chicago, died Monday at his home in Wampum, Pennsylvania, his family announced on Twitter.

A seven-time All-Star, Allen was dominant at the plate during his 15-year career primarily spent with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox. He spent nine seasons with the Phillies across two separate stints and three campaigns in Chicago, along with one-year turns with the St. Louis CardinalsLos Angeles Dodgers, and Oakland Athletics.

He was named NL Rookie of the Year with the Phillies in 1964, turning in one of the finest freshman seasons in baseball history. Allen’s 8.2 WAR in ’64 remains the NL rookie record, according to FanGraphs. He hit 204 home runs while accruing over half of his career WAR in a Phillies uniform, and Allen owns the third-highest slugging percentage in franchise history.

“Dick Allen will be remembered as not just one of the greatest and most popular players in our franchise’s history, but also as a courageous warrior who had to overcome far too many obstacles to reach the level he did,” the Phillies said in a statement that Todd Zolecki of MLB.com obtained. “Dick’s iconic status will resonate for generations of baseball fans to come as one of the all-time greats to play America’s pastime.”

Dick Allen, iconic slugger and former AL MVP, is dead at 78
Dick Allen, iconic slugger, and former AL MVP is dead at 78 1

In 1972, he was named the AL MVP to begin a fantastic run with the White Sox. Allen was an All-Star in each of his three seasons on the South Side, and he twice led the AL in home runs.

While a fan favorite, Allen was nonetheless subject to racism during his career, and he often found himself in battles with the press, which angered him by referring to Dick Allen as “Richie.” As a minor leaguer in the Phillies’ system, he also made history by integrating with his team in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Allen slashed a career .292/.378/.534 with 1,848 hits, 351 home runs, 1,119 RBIs, and 61.3 WAR. His 156 OPS+ is tied with Willie Mays and Frank Thomas for 19th all time. Of the 18 players whose career OPS+ bettered Allen’s production, only six have yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Despite his decorated career, Allen isn’t enshrined in Cooperstown. 

In 2015, he was a candidate on the Golden Era Committee ballot, but Allen finished one vote shy of being elected. He would have been up for election again this week, but the Hall of Fame canceled this year’s Golden Era election due to the pandemic.

The Phillies retired Allen’s No. 15 this past September, making him the franchise’s first non-Hall of Famer to receive that honor. He was previously named to the Phillies Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park.

Those who have left us