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  • Article on Dick Allen

    From the Tribune. Allen, now 78, recalls his time on the Southside "I've never been treated any better."

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...q4e-story.html
    Riding Shotgun on the Sox Bandwagon since before there was an Internet...




  • #2
    I was a freshmen at Munster High in the spring of 1972. My English teacher, Mr. Robinson, in going over writing with passionate advocacy, asked me cold, at the beginning of the class who Dick Allen was because in a school full of Cubs fans, he knew he would get an answer that from me he would get an answer that almost half a century on would be worthy of a YouTube video. You really had to have experienced 1972 and the first couple of months of 1973 as a White Sox fan to understand how dominant he was in baseball at the time.

    It was out of nowhere. Suddenly Richie Allen who had been a very good National League hitter was the Dick Allen monster on the White Sox. Of course he played for the Phillies and was suspended for preferring the race track to trips with the team to other National League cities Of course he played for the Cardinals in a deal sparking litigation that would go all the way to the US Supreme Court. Of course he played for the Dodgers. We knew he had been a good hitter who had been around for years in the National League, but put him into the lineup of a team that had lost 106 games in 1970, and he was the special player in the American League. His presence at the plate, the way he stood with that huge bat waiting to swing, the way he punished the baseball ... What he did seem legendary in retrospect -- the afternoon he hit two inside-the-park home runs in old Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota, the night when, with the bases loaded and Nolan Ryan pitching in the first inning, he stole home .... One can only imagine what he would have done in today's landscape with the shrunken strike zone and livelier baseball.

    I watched his TV show on Sundays in 1973, even when he stopped showing up for it.. That was the thing about Dick Allen. Sometimes he didn't feel like being around. It started with the second games of doubleheaders. It ended, for the White Sox in 1974 when he simply left the team with 20 games left in the season. He would still tie for the league lead in home runs. I think he could have thrived in a baseball culture that is more about publicity and self-promotion as a Harold Baines who put deeds above words, but Dick Allen just wanted to be left alone..

    I sort of noted this in the Mark Buehrle thread, but I have always felt Dick Allen didn't belong in the Hall of Fame He quit on baseball and he quit on my team, and of course no one treated him as well as White Sox fans and Chicago -- that was obvious at the time.. While I think Tony Oliva is more worthy, I'm not as against Dick Allen as I used to be, remembering the baseball player he was. It's not like he was gambling on anything but the horses or doing PEDs to be more like, well, Dick Allen (his bat weighed 42 ounces). Maybe I'm coming around to Hall of Fame thing.

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    • #3
      T-Dog, you are just a few years older than me and I remember that 1972 season like you do. I had switched allegiances from the Cubs to the Sox after the 1970 season and Dick Allen almost single-handedly galvanized my love for the Sox. In 1972 Dick Allen hit the ball harder day-in and day-out than any player I've ever seen -- blistering line-drives all over the ball-park (Julio Franco came close in 1994). I still have my Dick Allen photo-mug giveaway on my desk. He was a rock star on the Southside and regardless of whether or not he deserves it, I hope he makes the HOF.
      Last edited by Chez; 11-23-2020, 11:35 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TDog View Post
        You really had to have experienced 1972 and the first couple of months of 1973 as a White Sox fan to understand how dominant he was in baseball at the time.
        I don't need to have experienced those seasons. I can just point to his 1.023 OPS, 199 wRC+, and 8.0 fWAR to know how dominant he was.

        Totally kidding of course, I'm not trying to start something. I would have loved to have watched Allen 1972 was unfortunately 9 years before I was born.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ChiTownTrojan View Post

          I don't need to have experienced those seasons. I can just point to his 1.023 OPS, 199 wRC+, and 8.0 fWAR to know how dominant he was.

          Totally kidding of course, I'm not trying to start something. I would have loved to have watched Allen 1972 was unfortunately 9 years before I was born.

          Those numbers, compared to players who have recorded similar numbers since, diminish Dick Allen's season by about one-third. Mike Trout, let alone Bryce Harper, has never had the offensive impact on the league that Allen did in 1972.

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          • #6
            What I remember most about the 1972 season besides Allen's great year were the games out in Oakland, seemed like every game went into extra innings and I'm listening to the transistor radio tucked under the pillow with some games ending at 3am. I've only been married a few years and my wife couldn't believe I'm listening to ball games in the middle of the night, what kind of nut did she marry.
            I still say if Melton didn't hurt his back early in the season, the Sox would have won the division. 1973 comes along and the Sox are playing great and then Allen breaks his leg and the season is basically over.
            Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 11-24-2020, 07:24 AM.
            Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TDog View Post


              Those numbers, compared to players who have recorded similar numbers since, diminish Dick Allen's season by about one-third. Mike Trout, let alone Bryce Harper, has never had the offensive impact on the league that Allen did in 1972.
              I don't mean this to devolve into another debate about the merits of statistics, but those numbers are really, really good. They don't diminish anything. That's the 34th highest wRC+ in a single season in MLB history, and most of the names above him belong to guys like Ruth, Bonds, and Williams (as well as Frank Thomas's 1994 season). And they agree with your assessment that neither Trout nor Harper have ever had a better season offensively.

              https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.as...18,d&page=1_50

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ChiTownTrojan View Post

                I don't mean this to devolve into another debate about the merits of statistics, but those numbers are really, really good. They don't diminish anything. That's the 34th highest wRC+ in a single season in MLB history, and most of the names above him belong to guys like Ruth, Bonds, and Williams (as well as Frank Thomas's 1994 season). And they agree with your assessment that neither Trout nor Harper have ever had a better season offensively.

                https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.as...18,d&page=1_50
                My point in both of my posts is that while great, the statistics -- and they are all strong, Dick Allen even had a shot at the triple crown -- don't do that 1972 season justice.

                And it was Bill Melton's cigarette in the controversial picture. I think it was a Baseball Digest cover.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TDog View Post

                  My point in both of my posts is that while great, the statistics -- and they are all strong, Dick Allen even had a shot at the triple crown -- don't do that 1972 season justice.

                  And it was Bill Melton's cigarette in the controversial picture. I think it was a Baseball Digest cover.
                  Sports Illustrated.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nellie Fox View Post

                    Sports Illustrated.
                    Love it. That framed cover hangs in my basement.

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                    • #11
                      I've never seen any player carry a team on his back like he did in '72; the team was better in '73, but then he got hurt and that was that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LITTLE NELL View Post
                        What I remember most about the 1972 season besides Allen's great year were the games out in Oakland, seemed like every game went into extra innings and I'm listening to the transistor radio tucked under the pillow with some games ending at 3am. I've only been married a few years and my wife couldn't believe I'm listening to ball games in the middle of the night, what kind of nut did she marry.
                        I still say if Melton didn't hurt his back early in the season, the Sox would have won the division. 1973 comes along and the Sox are playing great and then Allen breaks his leg and the season is basically over.
                        I agree with you about Bill Melton. Even before he went on the DL, he was in tremendous pain. Still, the Sox finished with the league's second-best record, and 1973 looked great until Dick Allen's injury seemed to break the team. If the Sox hadn't traded Luis Aparicio for Mike Andrew and Luis Alvarado before the 1971 season, the Sox may have had enough to catch the A's anyway. Maybe not.

                        Those games you remember against Oakland weren't just tough, hard-fought games. They were August and September epic pennant-race games. The one you're probably thinking of from the middle of the night was likely the 19-inning game, suspended by American League curfew rules in Oakland at about 3 a.m. Chicago time and picked up in the next day, with Joe Rudi hitting a home run in the 19th. There was no west coast baseball on Channel 32 in 1972, hence the radios, even for the night before Oakland, when the Sox won in Anaheim with a 1-0 complete game Wilbur Wood shutout where Wood drove in the only run against Nolan Ryan, hitting a two-out single to drive in Buddy Bradford in the seventh. Winning the 19-inning game would have put the Sox into a first-place with the A's. After the White Sox pulled back in Oakland with another 1-0 win, Wood came back on two days rest to pitch an 11-inning complete game to tie the division. Scoreless after eight, Dick Allen led off the ninth with a triple and came in on Carlos May's sacrifice fly. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Wood gave up a home run to Brant Alyea, who had the only other A's hit in the game. Ed Spezio, Bill Melton's replacement at third base, hit a two-run homer in the 11th, and Wood finished with an 11-inning two-hitter.

                        The A's pulled away gradually in September. This was the loaded (Reggie Jackson-Catfish Hunter et al) dynasty A's. But there was one last epic contest on the last trip to Oakland. On Sept. 17, the Sox beat the A's 8-7 in 15 innings to pull within four game games with 12 remaining. Joe Rudi tied the game with two outs in the ninth. Dave Duncan tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th, but Rich Gossage shut the A's down after Jorge Orta's solo home run in the 15th. It was such a game of attrition that even with the expanded September rosters, at the end A's manager Dick Williams had to use Ken Holtzman (remembered for his two no-hitters as a Cub) as a pinch-hitter for the relief pitcher with two on and two out against hard-throwing White Sox rookie Rich Gossage. Losing in Oakland the next night, though, sort of sealed the White Sox fate.

                        Although it came up short, the 1972 season defined baseball for me, probably the way the 2005 season defined baseball for White Sox fans in their 30s.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TDog View Post

                          I agree with you about Bill Melton. Even before he went on the DL, he was in tremendous pain. Still, the Sox finished with the league's second-best record, and 1973 looked great until Dick Allen's injury seemed to break the team. If the Sox hadn't traded Luis Aparicio for Mike Andrew and Luis Alvarado before the 1971 season, the Sox may have had enough to catch the A's anyway. Maybe not.

                          Those games you remember against Oakland weren't just tough, hard-fought games. They were August and September epic pennant-race games. The one you're probably thinking of from the middle of the night was likely the 19-inning game, suspended by American League curfew rules in Oakland at about 3 a.m. Chicago time and picked up in the next day, with Joe Rudi hitting a home run in the 19th. There was no west coast baseball on Channel 32 in 1972, hence the radios, even for the night before Oakland, when the Sox won in Anaheim with a 1-0 complete game Wilbur Wood shutout where Wood drove in the only run against Nolan Ryan, hitting a two-out single to drive in Buddy Bradford in the seventh. Winning the 19-inning game would have put the Sox into a first-place with the A's. After the White Sox pulled back in Oakland with another 1-0 win, Wood came back on two days rest to pitch an 11-inning complete game to tie the division. Scoreless after eight, Dick Allen led off the ninth with a triple and came in on Carlos May's sacrifice fly. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Wood gave up a home run to Brant Alyea, who had the only other A's hit in the game. Ed Spezio, Bill Melton's replacement at third base, hit a two-run homer in the 11th, and Wood finished with an 11-inning two-hitter.

                          The A's pulled away gradually in September. This was the loaded (Reggie Jackson-Catfish Hunter et al) dynasty A's. But there was one last epic contest on the last trip to Oakland. On Sept. 17, the Sox beat the A's 8-7 in 15 innings to pull within four game games with 12 remaining. Joe Rudi tied the game with two outs in the ninth. Dave Duncan tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th, but Rich Gossage shut the A's down after Jorge Orta's solo home run in the 15th. It was such a game of attrition that even with the expanded September rosters, at the end A's manager Dick Williams had to use Ken Holtzman (remembered for his two no-hitters as a Cub) as a pinch-hitter for the relief pitcher with two on and two out against hard-throwing White Sox rookie Rich Gossage. Losing in Oakland the next night, though, sort of sealed the White Sox fate.

                          Although it came up short, the 1972 season defined baseball for me, probably the way the 2005 season defined baseball for White Sox fans in their 30s.
                          Good memory TD! That was Baseball at it's best.
                          Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

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                          • #14
                            I became a Sox fan at age 9 in 1971. The players that sealed the deal during the first couple of years for me were Ed Herrmann (he went yard in my first game at Comiskey. When the fireworks went off, I was sold), Wilbur Wood and, as I called him, Ritchie Allen.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dumpjerry View Post
                              I became a Sox fan at age 9 in 1971. The players that sealed the deal during the first couple of years for me were Ed Herrmann (he went yard in my first game at Comiskey. When the fireworks went off, I was sold), Wilbur Wood and, as I called him, Ritchie Allen.
                              1971 was a special and pivotal year for the Sox and us fans. After 3 horrible losing years Roland Hemond and Chuck Tanner came aboard along with a lot of new players and the team improved 23 games after the worst year in Sox history when they went 56-106. The Sox were on the rebound and then they picked up Allen and in 2 years the Sox went from the worst team in MLB to a pennant contender, the fans were back and Harry Caray made it all the more excitable as the Sox signed him up in 1971. Of course the bad news is the Sox regressed and by the end of 75 the team was ready to move to Seattle but Veeck came in at the last minute and a year later gave us the 1977 Southside Hitmen, one of most fun years in the history of the team.
                              Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 11-24-2020, 04:03 PM.
                              Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

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