How did Dick Allen die? Baseball legend's death at 78 sees fans say he 'should've been in the Hall of Fame'

Allen played only three years at Chicago but called it his favorite stop. 'I might say my whole baseball life. I’ve never been treated any better. You guys are the best for my money' he had said


                            How did Dick Allen die? Baseball legend's death at 78 sees fans say he 'should've been in the Hall of Fame'
Dick Allen (Getty Images)

Former Chicago White Sox first baseman Dick Allen, hailed by many for helping the franchise from relocation, breathed his last on December 7 after a long illness. He was 78. The MLB Players Association confirmed the player’s death and took to Twitter. “The Players Association is saddened by the passing today of Dick Allen. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans”, the association wrote.
 
 Dick who has been a seven-time All-Star with the Philadelphia Phillies and the White Sox, arrived on the South Side after the 1971 season. He was bestowed with the title of American League’s Most Valuable Player and helped invigorate the club on the field and at the gate in 1972. “Allen batted .308 with a league-leading 37 home runs, 113 RBIs, 99 walks, and a .603 slugging percentage, and he led the majors with a .420 on-base percentage, 1.023 OPS and 199 OPS plus”, mentions Chicago Tribune. 
 
In his career, “Allen finished his 15-year career with a .292 average, 351 home runs, 1,119 RBIs, and a .912 OPS. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the A’s”, the publication reports. Allen played only three years at Chicago but called it his favorite stop. “It’s better than anywhere I’ve been my whole baseball career,” he told as cited by Chicago Tribune. “I might say my whole baseball life. I’ve never been treated any better. You guys are the best for my money.”

In 2014, Dick who was celebrated for featuring on the cover of the June 12, 1972, issue of Sports Illustrated juggling baseballs while smoking a cigarette in the dugout —could not make it to the revered Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee. At the same time, many who know him still consider him one of the best eligible players not in the Hall of Fame.

However, this did not affect Dick who only talked about the Hall of Fame when he interacted with reporters. “I enjoy a lot of the writings I hear from time to time, day to day, and read some awfully good writing, people that think you deserve it,” he said. “I do enjoy reading them.” As per reports Dick mentioned to his close friends that if he ever was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he wanted a White Sox cap on his plaque.
 
 Former Sox teammate Rich “Goose” Gossage mentioned Allen as “the greatest player I’ve ever seen play in my life” and said he belongs in the Hall of Fame.“Dick Allen played with fire in his eyes,” Gossage, a Hall of Fame relief pitcher reportedly said. “He’s the smartest baseball man I’ve ever been around in my life. … There’s no telling the numbers this guy could have put up if all he worried about was stats.”
 
Dick was a multifaceted personality too. Besides baseball he was involved in singing too with a doo-wop band named The Ebonistics. The band once performed during halftime of a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game. However, Dick did not always have a smooth run and was on the receiving end of racially charged slurs. The star player reportedly started wearing a helmet while he played in the field in Philadelphia because fans, who were known to scream obscenities and racial slurs at him, started throwing batteries at his head. More difficulties emerged in his career when in 1967 when Dick punched his right hand through a car headlight that almost ended his career. Later in 1969, the Phillies suspended him indefinitely and fined him $2,500 for failing to show up to a game, Chicago Tribune reports. 
 
The final blow to his career came during South Side. At that time, Former White Sox third baseman Bill Melton said Allen wanted to quit the game due to the way fans and front offices had treated him. “We really lost a good individual and a great White Sox player,” Melton said, “and he should be spoken about for many, many years in White Sox lore.”
 
“He never slid,” Melton said recently. “It was remarkable how well he ran the bases, and of course he never took batting practice because he didn’t need to. He also was one of the best teammates ever, and he didn’t talk to the media after some games so the rest of us could get the credit.We all loved him. He helped Goose early on in his career, telling him he couldn’t just throw his fastball but he had to knock guys down too. Goose started doing that and went on to the Hall of Fame.”

Dick Allen, former player for the Philadelphia Phillies greets Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes #15 (Getty Images)

In one of his final interviews, Dick mentioned that the Hall made no difference to him in his career.“After all is said and done, it’s what people thought of you after you leave,” he said.

Fans of the game paid tribute to the hitter as many felt that Dick should be inducted to the Hall of Fame. “Super Sky Point to 1972 AL MVP Dick Allen, who should be in the f***ing Hall of Fame but isn’t because a lot of people out there apparently don’t understand their f***ing job. 10th-degree black belt in badassery. This one was hard for me to write. #RIP”

“Another heartbreaking loss for our Phillies family. Dick Allen was a Hall of Fame player, no question. He was a great mentor to our entire team back in the 70s and taught us all how to play the game the right way. Baseball lost a legend today. RIP my friend.," read one tweet. “Dick Allen deserves one more tweet. He was misunderstood. He was a very nice man. Goose Gossage and I spent a few memorable nights talking baseball in Dick’s room. He was introspective. He was funny. He had phenomenal talent. He could do it all. The man could flat out play," tweeted another. 

A fan tweeted: “Very sad to hear of Dick Allen’s passing. He was one of the best and most fearsome hitters baseball has ever seen. Best: look at his stats. Fearsome because of how hard he hit the ball. One of the only hitters I was ever afraid of as I stood at SS.” Another complained about the hall of fame's treatment of the player: “I’m so very sad today. We could approach this with anger, anger over how unfairly the media and the Hall of Fame treated Dick Allen. But I think it’s best to focus on who Dick Allen was as a man, and how the #Phillies were blessed to have him as part of their organization.” 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

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