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Monday, August 07, 2006

Dick Allen

Eligible in 1983.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:02 AM | 282 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:04 AM (#2129600)
Well, this should be fun.
   2. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:57 AM (#2129721)
*gets popcorn*
   3. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:16 AM (#2129753)
Hey guys, let's try to keep this one above board. I know Allen is polarizing, and we are probably going to get some non-regulars on this thread. Just requesting for everyone to stay civil . . . thanks!
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2129783)
Assuming that we know who is going to get elected in '82, here is a prelim for '83, just by way of placing Dick Allen for now.

1. Dobie Moore
2. Dick Allen--PHoM
3. Ralph Kiner
4. Rube Waddell
5. Brooks Robinson--PHoM, though this is a tough call; it is politically correct to downgrade him, but noting the dearth of 3Bs in the HoM....and I do believe he was better than Torre or Freehan
6. Larry Doyle
7. Joe Torre
8. Addie Joss
9. Bill Freehan--in my heart I think he was better than Torre, I will be looking more closely at this
10. Charley Jones
11. Pete Browning
12. Orlando Cepeda
(12a. Jim Bunning)
13. Edd Roush
14. Vic Willis
15. Jose Mendez

16. Frank Howard
17. Minnie Minoso
(17a. Stan Hack)
(17b. Don Drysdale)
18. Alejandro Oms
(18a. Bobby Doerr)
19. Hugh Duffy
18. Phil Rizzuto
20. Nellie Fox

21. Charlie Keller
22. Norm Cash
23. Jim Wynn
24. Joe Sewell
(24a. Richie Ashburn)
25. Jim McCormick

Boog Powell is outside the top 100, though just.
   5. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:36 AM (#2129792)
Did you forget about Billy Williams, or does he not make your top 25?
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:42 AM (#2129807)
I forgot about Billy Williams. He is #6, and move everybody else down. I will fix it on my "real" ballot next week.
   7. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:03 AM (#2129951)
1983 Super-Duper Preliminary Ballot

1. Charlie Keller
2. Dick Allen
3. Jimmy Wynn
4. Billy Williams
5. Bill Freehan

6. Brooks Robinson
7. Jose Mendez
8. Dobie Moore
9. Quincy Trouppe
10. Rube Waddell

11. Joe Torre
12. Dick Redding
13. Nellie Fox
14. Minnie Minoso
15. Alejandro Oms
   8. TomH Posted: August 07, 2006 at 12:12 PM (#2129977)
Our vote on Mr. Allen may come down to how we as a group answer this question:

Hypothetical Great Player (HGP) generates lots of name-your-favorite-stat (OPS+, OWP, RCAP, Win Shares, WARP).
HGP, gets traded often for not-so-great players. Thus helping different teams win, but not helping any one team for very long, since his teammates/managers/GMs/whoever seem to always want to get rid of him.

HGP created real wins for many teams. Enough, clearly, to be honored in the HoM.

But no team got long-term benefit from HGP, arguably due to his own, um, "style", altho possibly also due to the team's own inability to creatively make a good spot for HGP to stick around.

Do we give him full credit for his on-field performance, or downgrade his value because of his tendency to continually shed teams, often for little value in return?

I think it is a very open quesiton, and I won't attempt to influence those who feel otherwise, but I have consisently been in the "pretend I am a GM" camp while voting in the HoM. Would I trade good players for this guy who would likely wear out his welcome on my team in short order, and then I'd have to let him go for very little? No, probably not.

And that will make me rank him below the other slightly-less-talented players who I believe did more in the final analysis to help their teams win.

{{ Billy Martin = Dick Allen ?? }}
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 07, 2006 at 12:40 PM (#2129989)
I once described him to a younger poster as Gary Sheffield's big brother, and I believe that description is pretty comprehensive. Sheffield is a guy who when healthy is one of the best hitters in baseball, wanders from team to team for various reasons, really doesn't have any defensive value, is known for being something of a nuisance to management, and is always in the headlines whether playing or not.

Now imagine Sheffield with each of these things TRIPLED in magnitude. At LEAST.

If you think all that offense can make everything else moot then Dick Allen merits induction into any Hall that recognizes baseball greatness. But if you think other things MATTER. That playing defense MATTERS. That always giving a legitimate effort MATTERS. That not being a constant distraction to the object of winning MATTERS. If these things COUNT then Dick Allen has to lend one pause.
   10. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2130006)
Of course I know that Harvey is not a fan of Sheffield at all so his analogy has more whalop for him than for me (I have beena big Sheffield fan for years and think his frequent trades haven't really been his fault). I must say that Allen is clear HOMer, the question for me may be Allen v. Keller for the top spot on my ballot. In fact I think my top five will look a lot like James up there, though I will have Cupid Childs pretty high.

As for the other stuff, I think it is really overrated or else I wouldn't have Allen as high as I do. I think I will only use it as a glorified tie-breaker after I run it through my system. However, I can see counting it a little but I am not sure I would go with the trades secnario that TomH does above. While you may not get full value for Dick Allen when you trade him, chances are you gave up little value for Dick Allen when you traded for him, so it seems to be a wash. In between you got one of the best pure hitters ever, really.
   11. Chris Cobb Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:20 PM (#2130009)
Harveys Wallbangers,

A question for you on the subject of Allen's defense. To what extent do you see his lack of defensive value arising from lackadaisical play in the field, and to what extent in lack of skill? I am curious how Allen compares in this respect to Harmon Killebrew and Joe Torre, both of whom, like Allen, played at the corners (setting aside Killebrew in the outfield and Torre behind the plate). According to win shares' defensive metrics, Allen was better than they were at third base (C grade to their D grades), but they were better than he was at first base (B/B- grades to his C grade). This suggests to me that Allen was the better athlete, enabling him to make plays at third that were simply beyond the capability of Killebrew and Torre, but that at first base, where less athleticism was demanded, their concentration on doing their jobs well enabled them to play the position more cleanly than the more talented Allen.

Does that analysis based on the numbers match your impressions, or do your observations tell a different story?
   12. Dizzypaco Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2130020)
There are almost no good comps for Allen, IMO. Based on pure numbers alone, he probably deserves it. But he wasn't your garden variety management headache - I believe his actions hurt his teams in ways few players have, at least toward the end of his career. Not many players have literally quit on a team once their lead in the home run race was pretty much guaranteed.

In almost all cases, I understand the choice to remove personality from the voting, to stick with on the field performance. Allen is one of the very few players where I think off the field actions should play a role.
   13. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:41 PM (#2130024)
Chris:

Dick Allen had all the skills to be a good if not excellent defensive player. Allen was cat-quick, had a good arm, and what is often forgotten, smart. Intelligence, or baseball smarts, is an important element to being a good defensive player.

Sometimes Allen cared and sometimes he didn't. Allen kept himself in shape and that counts in his favor. Every so often he would make a great play and that counts in his favor. But unlike Harmon or say Bobby Bonilla who were simply not designed to be third basemen but battled as best they could Allen would take some games off. Or maybe a week off.

Remember the movie "Major League"? The "Dorn" character at third base? That isn't EXACTLY Allen's approach but it gives you a pretty good idea.

By the time Dick got moved to first other stuff had clearly affected his approach to playing the field. And because he was less likely to get his nose broken by not paying attention he took a pretty lax approach.

And folks who think Allen's "issues" are overblown need to go check the microfilm. Because Dick Allen was in the news every d*mn day. No ESPN multiple channels, no talk radio, and if you were any type of baseball fan you couldn't NOT know what was going on with Dick Allen.

See, I think stuff like that TELLS us something. I may not know exactly WHAT but it says SOMETHING. To just write it off as so much noise is foolish. Particularly for a group of folks who present themselves as wanting to know the WHOLE story.
   14. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#2130038)
See, I think stuff like that TELLS us something. I may not know exactly WHAT but it says SOMETHING. To just write it off as so much noise is foolish. Particularly for a group of folks who present themselves as wanting to know the WHOLE story.

I don't think you can assume people are merely writing it off, Harveys. There's another side to that as well. While Allen was in the news all the time in various sorts of negative stories, he was also being voted onto All Star teams and winning an MVP award. And while much of his behavior reflected very badly on him, it wasn't easy being a high-profile black man between 1964-76. Many handled it a hell of a lot better than he did, and he doesn't get credit for it, but I don't think considering extenuating circumstances counts as writing it off.

Allen averaged something just short of 130 games per season between 1964-76, so he was on average missing ~20% of his team's games. Some of it due to injury, some of it due to other things, but either way it's a lot and that counts against him. There are also a lot of things that count in his favor.
   15. DL from MN Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:08 PM (#2130043)
Part of me thinks Dick Allen got caught in a particular time in history. He may have done better today with an agent to insulate him and more tolerance for annoying athletes (Terrell Owens, Albert Belle, etc). It may be controversial, but I think Dick Allen may have done better in a segregated Negro Leagues also. Also, I think being a Philadelphia Phillie may have been the worst circumstance possible for this guy.

He only averaged 133 games during his 12 years as a full time player. Still, those offensive numbers top ANYONE on the ballot. Billy Williams needs his defensive value and Joe Torre needs a catcher bonus to get above Dick Allen on my next ballot.

How did Jim Essian manage to get traded for Allen twice?
   16. BDC Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:09 PM (#2130044)
The comparison, in terms of off-the-field activity, that keeps coming to mind for me is Curt Flood. From what I remember and have since read, Allen shared two of Flood's basic values: he hated the reserve clause, and he hated the prospect of playing for the 1970 Phillies. Flood abandoned his team (and his career), took his case to the courts, and became universally admired. Allen wrote strange words in the dirt, did various squirrelly things, and became universally controversial. But in effect they both wanted the same thing: to set the terms of their own employment as ballplayers.

I don't see anything particularly admirable about Allen (particularly when set alongside Flood), and I wouldn't vote for him for the Hall of Fame. But, pace Bill James, Harveys, and others, I also wonder whether Allen's antics really hurt his teams on the field. Baseball clubs seem to be able to win despite unhappy and distracted characters. And Allen's, though only one of them made the playoffs, tended to improve when he got there, at least initially.

It's a different world anymore. Roger can walk out on the defending-champion Astros for several months, and he's just exercising his free agent rights. Slappy can trash Arlington and the Rangers, forcing a trade, and he's just burning with the desire to get to the World Series. Dick Allen didn't have those options. Yes, he was a jerk about it, but in an odd way he helped bring about a world where people could do very similar things to the jerky things he did, and yet be accepted or even admired for them.
   17. sunnyday2 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#2130085)
Anybody who wants to downgrade Allen for, well, "stuff," I won't argue the point, but I do urge you to read Bill James' discussion thereof. It's actually in his Frank Thomas write-up (#89 among LFers). And consider that we're talkin' Philly here.
   18. karlmagnus Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2130107)
Substantially better than Kiner and a part-time 3B -- fairly easily in.
   19. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:17 PM (#2130138)
You want to know who Dick Allen's batting comp is? Albert Pujols. Here's the first five full-season ops+ for both:

allen 162 145 181 174 160
albert 158 155 189 175 167

Right on.


As for Allen's personality, Craig Wright wrote a long, long piece where he interviewed Allen's friends and managers to figure out what was going on with Dick. Here's the piece, it's interesting. (Check out the SI cover where he's juggling baseballs in the dugout with a ciggie in his mouth.)

Here's where to find it:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=2065
   20. rico vanian Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2130191)
Terrific article...
and how's this for borderline HOF:

Dick Allen:
Black Ink: Batting - 27 (66) (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 159 (73) (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 38.7 (157) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 99.0 (143) (Likely HOFer > 100)
   21. BTL: Lesser Primate, 4th Class Trainee Posted: August 07, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2130210)
Dr. Chaleeko, thanks for the link to the Allen piece in #19. Wish there were also interviews with teammates, not just managers, but a very good article, especially the information about the injuries.
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 07, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2130238)
Two things.

1) All the people in Wright's article mention one thing about Allen as a player---that he was absolutely positively the best baserunner that they'd ever seen, no doubt about it. You rarely hear that about any player nowadays.

2) Who would join Dick Allen on the list of baseball history's difficult personalities? Here's some candidates.

-John Beckwith (we all know about him)
-Albert Belle (many, many off- and on-field anger issues)
-Barry Bonds (and we all know about him too)
-Kevin Brown (particularly late in career, many stories about surliness)
-Willard Brown (known to read Reader's Digest in the outfield)
-Jose Canseco (Much hated, skipped from team to team, lots of on and off field stuff)
-Cesar Cedeno (May have killed someone with a handgun in domincan, assaulted fan)
-Ty Cobb (assaulted at least one fan in the stands)
-Leo Durocher (known jerk, he'll tell you in his book)
-Johnny Evers (known as the Crab)
-Rickey Henderson (Rickey Henderson says he was said to loaf sometimes and was criticezed for ego)
-Rogers Hornsby (first-class jerk, see James's descriptions)
-Juan Gonzalez (said to have telephoned press box to get an RBI changed in his favor during 1995 season; some talk of malingering)
-Reggie Jackson (fistfight with manager in the dugout, fought with teammates too)
-Alex Johnson (probably a victim of mental illness)
-Jeff Kent (oft reputed to be a 'difficult teammate')
-B.K. Kim (flipped off Fenway faithful)
-Ron LeFlore (did hard time; was he involved in the drug trials?)
-Denny McClain (corrupt, consort with gamblers, etc)
-John McGraw (roughest of the rowdies as a player, conspirator against early AL)
-Joe Medwick (punched people out a lot, including spectators)
-Kevin Mitchell (ganger banger, thought to be malingerer)
-Dave Parker (cokehead, thought to be malingerer during trough in career)
-Alonzo Perry (may have done hard time, known to steal, gamble, and wield weapons)
-Frank Robinson (carried a gun, got into legal trouble in early 1960s for incident in segregated eatery. In Cincy that makes you uppity, I guess. "Bad influence" on Pinson.)
-Pete Rose (You know this story too. Hey Pete, it's just the f*cking All-Star game, you're lucky Ray Fosse hasn't sued your a*s.)
-Babe Ruth (Would his excesses be tolerated today? And what about his 1925 "bad hot dog" tummy ache?)
-Gary Sheffield (Harveys mentioned him above. Ganger banger in his early days?)
-Ruben Sierra ("The Village Idiot.")
-Daryl Strawberry (Cokehead, rapping instead of practicing, domestic abuse, tax trouble, etc.)
-Danny Tartabull (Thought of as malingerer in final year with Phils. Local press questioned whether he was just collecting a check or what.)
-Gary Templeton (Flipped off fans, got traded.)
-Hank Thompson ("Machine Gun," carried firearms, did a lot of robbery, died in prison IIRC.)
-Rube Waddell (Talk about a headache.)
-David Wells (Lots of off-field incidents, including recent one in NYC eatery.)
-Ted Williams ("Terrible Ted.")
-Maury Wills (James says that he's a monumental jerk.)
-Hack Wilson (Not a jerk, but probably a difficult drunk.)
-Jud Wilson (One of blackball's four bad men.)

If there's one thing to take away from this list, it's that after 1947, it's real easy to be both dark skinned and "troubled" or "difficult." I don't believe that's a coincidence (though I often play the race game, so maybe I'm overstating it).

Here's a few other guys who might fit the description.

-Roberto Alomar? (Always seemed egotistical to me, but that's it. However, spitting on an ump gets you on my "maybes" list.)
-Vida Blue? (cokehead, don't know if he was thought of as troublemaker---probably since he was black.)
-Orlando Cepeda? (Al Dark hated him, yet Cepeda was known as enthusiastic. Not sure if he's a difficult/troubled player or not.)
-Wes Ferrell? (See Grove.)
-George Foster? (See Rice's description, with a little malingery tacked on.)
-Lefty Grove? (Angry guy for sure, but I'm not sure he was known as a bad guy.)
-Ken Griffey Jr.? (Griffey got surly around 1999, and I'm not sure how he is perceived overall anymore. I wouldn't but doubt that the scribes are suggesting malingering given his injuries.)
-Jack McDowell? (Flipped off Yankee Stadium, was known as Black Jack. Was it because he was difficult?)
-Bobo Newsome? (Wasn't he a tough case? He bounced around so much it seems so.)
-Jim Rice? (Definitely surly, had contentious relationship with press.)
-Eddie Stanky? (The Brat. I don't know if that spilled into his personal interactions.

I'm sure there's lots more, but I don't know too much about personalities before the war.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: August 07, 2006 at 05:05 PM (#2130249)
The game continues....

adj OPS+ seasons by some 1Bs and OFs as a regular, 100 or better (477 PA for 154 games, and 502 for 162 games, like batting title qualifying):

Killebrew 179 74 61 61 58 53 47 45 38 38 38 37
RalpKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17
DickAllen 200 81 74 66 65 62 61 60 46 45
BWilliams 170 57 47 47 42 39 36 30 27 22 20 19 17 16 15
FraHoward 177 77 70 53 46 44 37 27
BoJohnson 174 55 47 43 41 35 34 30 29 29 27 25 25
OrlCepeda 165 64 57 48 35 34 33 31 29 25 17 10 06
Norm-Cash 201 50 48 36 35 34 29 28 28 20
MinMinoso 155 51 49 40 36 35 33 31 21 16 13 08

Allen has his 174 with only 540 PA; his 166 with only 506 PA; his 165 with only 525 PA; and his 146 with only 533 PA. He did miss the chart with a 177 PA in only 288 AB in 1973.

Allen's 600 PA seasons (ok, actually 599+):
200 81 62 60 51 45

Very interesting to compare him with Billy Williams and Ralph Kiner.

Whew, with Freehan, Allen, and Torre, those are three VERY difficult guys to place for me. But I suspect all three make my ballot.
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2130253)
>cokehead

You may have missed a couple guys on this list!
   25. DL from MN Posted: August 07, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2130254)
Bert Blyleven flipped off the fans and could be a pain. He also was thought to care too much about stats and not enough about wins.
   26. DL from MN Posted: August 07, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2130258)
Keith Hernandez!
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 07, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2130263)
Here are some clarifications to Doc's list:

Frank Robinson doesn't below anywhere near this list. Robinson was a hard-nosed player who only had "problems" with teammates who didn't provide sufficient effort.

Gary Sheffield was not a "gang banger". Gary Sheffield was an immature player with a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana. Toss in incompetent Brewer management incapable of providing firm guidance and it's tragic comedy.

Rube Waddell was almost certainly mentally challenged. We don't "know" but the anecdotal information certainly suggests a guy of limited intellect. He wasn't surly or had anger issues. He was more flaky then anything else.

EVERYONE says that Maury Wills is and was a jerk.

Cepeda apparently had quite the hissy about playing the outfield. Alvin Dark WAS a complete moron but it is also true that Cepeda was Mr. Poutypants when it came to moving to the outfield to let McCovey play first.

Teammates respected Lefty Grove. They didn't particularly CARE for Grove. It was common for Grove to berate a teammate publicly for making an error while Grove was pitching. That won't win you many admirers.

Ken Griffey Jr. has gotten a ridiculously bad rap since he arrived in Cincy. In 2005 this was the laziest godd*mn team I had seen in twenty years EXCEPT for Griffey. And in 2006 despite the age and injuries he is still hurling himself around centerfield with abandon. It doesn't seem to accomplish much has his range has fallen off the table but anyone who labels Griffey as "difficult", etc. doesn't have a CLUE what he or she is writing about.

How much of Kim's problems are being a stranger in a strange land? I know he had a choice and took the money. I know that "flipping the bird" is somewhat universal. But I still wonder how much of his "stuff" goes to feeling isolated?

But the REAL omission on this list is Dave Kingman. He's Rogers Hornsby right-hand man.
   28. DavidFoss Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2130346)
Keith Hernandez!

Paul Molitor was a cokehead and managed to clean up his reputation so squeaky that by the time he finished up his career he could have run a boys camp. I don't think cokehead is enough to be labeled difficult. Clubhouse cancers are a menace to others, not just themselves. Same thing with the 'surly' guys. They're baseball players and not necessarily media savvy.

Of course, some cokeheads Steve Howe couldn't stay clean enough to keep from being suspended.

Others... Chuck Knoblauch shoved a kid after a game once and was kind of a hothead. Billy Martin was a bad influence as a player and successful but extremely difficult as a manager. John Rocker was a total nutjob. Plenty of difficult white guys too.
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2130361)
>Gary Sheffield was not a "gang banger". Gary Sheffield was an immature player with a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana. Toss in incompetent Brewer management incapable of providing firm guidance and it's tragic comedy.

If incompetent management is ever part of the equation, it sure applies to Dick Allen.

Steve Howe couldn't stay clean enough to keep from being suspended, or dead.
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 07, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2130364)
Tim Raines was also involved with cocaine, but he cleaned up himself and his image very very quickly a la Molitor.
   31. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 07, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2130553)
I'm sure there's lots more, but I don't know too much about personalities before the war.

Pete Browning basically drank himself out of all-time greatness. He'd play drunk (and badly!).

I don't think any modern player could eve compete with that, simply because such behavior is no longer acceptable in a public figure.
   32. fra paolo Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#2130593)
In 2005 this was the laziest godd*mn team I had seen in twenty years EXCEPT for Griffey.

Was Ryan Freel playing?
   33. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2130661)
Two lists for Dick Allen:

The first is team wins for the years before/after Allen joined or left. I did not consider Allen's post-prime seasons. You can see where Allen's rep as a team killer cam from; that's a pretty rough stretch in 70-71. Nevertheless, over his whole career Allen helped some teams, hurt others. (For instance, the 8 win improvement by the 72 White Sox is almost entirely attributable to Allen according to WPA.)





Year    Team    Wins    
63    PHI    87    
64    PHI    92    
            5
69    PHI    63    
70    PHI    73    
            
-10
69    STL    87    
70    STL    76    
            
-11
70    STL    76    
71    STL    90    
            
-14
70    LAD    87    
71    LAD    89    
            2
71    LAD    89    
72    LAD    85    
            4
71    CHA    79    
72    CHA    87    
            8
74    CHA    80    
75    CHA    75    
            5

        SUM    
-11 

The second list shows the number of wins Allen's teams either overperformed or underperformed their Pythagorean record. As you can see, if Allen was affecting team chemistry it certainly wasn't affecting the leverage of the runs that his teams scored.
Yr    delPyWn        
64    4        
65    6        
66    0        
67    
-3        
68    4
69    
-7
70    
-5
71    
-1
72    6
73    2
74    4
SUM    10 
   34. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 07, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#2130662)
eh, the pre tags worked in preview for that first list. Oh well.
   35. jimd Posted: August 07, 2006 at 10:34 PM (#2130695)
Growing up in insular Boston in the 1960's, I really didn't hear much talk about the National League. Naturally, heard a lot about Mays, Aaron, Koufax, but really don't have clear memories of a Billy Williams or a Jimmy Wynn.

Richie Allen. That was another story. Trouble with a capital T.

However, I won't let those childhood/junior-high memories have a major influence on what the stat analysis tells me. I don't think it rises to the level of a (one-year) boycott or a significant penalty. More likely it's a negative tie-breaker if faced with a close decision.

BTW. When did "Richie" become "Dick". Was it when he left Philly or was it when he changed leagues? IIRC, it was at his request.
   36. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 07, 2006 at 10:34 PM (#2130696)
Fixed your tags Bernie. Use "[]" instead of "<>".
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:11 AM (#2130816)
Growing up in insular Boston in the 1960's, ... Richie Allen. That was another story. Trouble with a capital T.

jimd, do you think that the Boston media's coverage or Allen, or the Boston fans' perceptions of him were racially biased? I ask because Boston was notorious as a place where black athletes found it difficult to play. In fact there's a whole book that's been written about it, though the name escapes me now. Was published since 2000.

BTW. When did "Richie" become "Dick". Was it when he left Philly or was it when he changed leagues? IIRC, it was at his request.

It's funny you say this because I was just talkig with a friend at the office today about how the last couple generations have wisely abandoned the nickname "Dick." Lots of Richards, Richies, and mostly Riches, no Dicks. So it's doubly interesting that he'd turn to Dick in later life.
   38. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:23 AM (#2130836)
To me there is very very very little doubt that much of Allen's bad rep is the result of racism. Either directly (i.e. biased reporting, etc.) or because he was reacting to it when trouble found him.
   39. Brent Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2130850)
Who would join Dick Allen on the list of baseball history's difficult personalities? Here's some candidates...

Describing Allen as a "difficult personality" and lumping him in with a long list of other players with well known problems oversimplifies the difficulty of evaluating him. If a player uses coke or drinks too much, its effects can be assumed to be directly reflected in his statistical record. If he's angry or sullen, his teammates are assumed to be grown men who can deal with the outbursts.

Allen's problem, as I see it, ran deeper than that. He was one who always had to be in charge - to be the "alpha male." In order to play that role, he systematically subverted and undermined the authority of a number of his managers. How many managers were fired because they couldn't control Allen? At least three, maybe more. If I'd been a general manager during that era, he's the one great player I wouldn't have taken, no matter how cheaply he could've been obtained. I simply don't believe you can build a championship team when the authority of its manager is undermined by its star player.

In another era, a solution might have been to put Allen in charge by making him a player-manager. For example, my understanding is that Beckwith's problems largely cleared up once he was given managerial authority. But in the 1960s, the player-manager was largely obsolete, and even if the job had existed it certainly wouldn't have gone to a player perceived as an angry black man.

Our constitution says, "Voters are strongly encouraged to consider only a player’s on-field accomplishments and other factors which had an impact on the outcomes of the player’s baseball games." I've always thought it's silly to imagine that statistics are the only things that have an impact on a player's games. Never was that more true than for Allen - he repeatedly hurt his teams in ways that don't appear in the stats line. However, his home runs and batting average did result in real runs and victories. How to weigh the statistical accomplishments against the non-statistical damages?

I'm not inclined to boycott him - I don't have a sense of moral outrage; Allen was just being who he was. But I won't be ranking him as high as he would rank from a purely statistical evaluation either... I think it would be naive to ignore the damage done to his teams from his battles with management. I will probably balance the two by ranking him mid-ballot, below the players who I'm _sure_ belong in the HoM and above those about whom I have my doubts.
   40. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#2130862)
Brent:

Be prepared for the long-winded responses explaining how by looking at the team records there is no proof that Allen's dustups impacted the team in a negative fashion. And folks will point to the quotations from former managers and players who provide testimony on Dick's behalf as further evidence that every negative thing written about Allen was either racially motivated or a complete misunderstanding of the circumstances.

I personally think that most of the "pro-Allen" faction is generated by either latent guilt about the perceived poor treatment of a "misunderstood" athlete or simply younger folks who enjoy believing the worst of the older generation. Of COURSE we were a bunch of racists! Of COURSE there was a huge conspiracy against Dick Allen. Of COURSE we were determined to bring down this strong black man. We couldn't get Willie, or Hank, or Frank so we had to make do with Allen. It wasn't easy. But daggumit we made it happen!! And now these no-accout do-gooders want to take away our crowning achievement! Sumb*tches!!!!

Folks will believe me when I described Bob Feller as cocky (I believe Enders even posted my remarks somewhere for folks to read) but I chime in about Dick Allen and I'm just another old white man with an axe to grind.

Whatchyagonnado?
   41. OCF Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#2130863)
In another era, a solution might have been to put Allen in charge by making him a player-manager.

How well did that work with Rogers Hornsby? Horsnby's case led to another issue: it was hard to just fire the manager, so they wound up trading the player.

...the player-manager was largely obsolete, and even if the job had existed it certainly wouldn't have gone to a player perceived as an angry black man.

Frank Robinson became a player-manager, the first black manager in the majors, in 1975. Allen's career ended in 1977. Robinson was an intimidating, assertive person - not exactly an "angry black man" but possibly an "uppity ####". But he was also very widely respected. Brent's point in writing that holds.
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#2130882)
At this point in the long history of The People v. Dick Allen and The People v. The People Against Dick Allen, I'm basically taking the middle ground.

To wit:
-Allen was clearly disruptive and troublesome.
-Allen was also clearly charming and massively talented.
-Allen's teams clearly mishandled him.
-Allen clearly mishandled himself.
-Allen's reputation was probably fanned by the racial climate of the time.
-Allen's behavior was probably fanned by the racial climate of the time.
-Allen's legacy is bitterly divided between one camp that says he was pure poison, another that says these claims are overblown, and still another that says he's in the main a product of turbulent times.
-Allen's personality has been the subject of lengthy and very persuasive articles from both the anti-Allen and anti-anti-Allen sides.
-Allen's personality has never been conclusively shown to have negatively affected his teams ability to win through any statistical analysis or won-loss analysis.

That's my rough summation of things. I'm sure I forgot some other macrothemes, but basically I think this covers it.

What it all means to me is that we'll never really know how disruptive he was or wasn't, why it was he did things to undermine others, nor what effect it had on his teams' winning or losing. So I'm choosing to let this controversey stay off my ballot, and I'm voting for the player on the field lest I start down a road that leads to iffy character demerits that I can't prove, and that I may not have applied to players in the past, nor may not have enough informaton to apply to players in the future.
   43. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2130887)
>Of COURSE we were a bunch of racists! Of COURSE there was a huge conspiracy against Dick Allen. Of COURSE we were determined to bring down this strong black man.

Glad that's cleared up.

One of the things Bill James points out is that in the early 1960s, the Phillies have this incredible prospect whom any idiot knew was a sensitive fellow, and what did they do? Did they send him to Reading? Which they coulda done. No, they sent him to Little Rock.

I am not inclined to put a double whammy on Dick Allen for "hurting" the Philadelphia Phillies. Whatever was hurting the Phillies in the 1960s was put on them by their own management, IMO. We might wish that Dick Allen had been a nice boy, but there were reasons he was the way he was, and his bosses have to shoulder some of the blame for that.
   44. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:21 AM (#2130893)
Folks will believe me when I described Bob Feller as cocky (I believe Enders even posted my remarks somewhere for folks to read) but I chime in about Dick Allen and I'm just another old white man with an axe to grind.

That's not what's happening, and you're displaying an annoying tendency to misrepresent the opposing view. Some of us see Allen as a complex and flawed figure in the context of a very difficult time for black men. Cutting him a little slack for that is not giving him a free pass.
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:34 AM (#2130903)
Andere:

Well, you are the first to characterize the discussion as such. If others are following your path so much the better. Because my only goal is that the ENTIRE player be evaluated, warts and all.

By the way, I completely agree with the description of Allen as complex and flawed. I would also state that black men have had a very difficult time in this nation since its very beginnings. We just know more about Allen's period because of the emergence of television.

But that is another discussion for another time. I will be satisfied if just a few more people take a moment when examining Allen's career.

Good night.............
   46. Brent Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:22 AM (#2130953)
How well did that work with Rogers Hornsby? Horsnby's case led to another issue: it was hard to just fire the manager, so they wound up trading the player.


Hornsby's "difficult personality" was of a very different sort; I think in today's jargon he'd be described as "verbally and emotionally abusive." Not a good type for a manager (though several successful managers of past generations might be considered verbally abusive by today's standards - Hornsby, however, was much more extreme than Durocher or McGraw).

Could Allen have been a successful player-manager? I have no idea - I always had the impression his difficulties were more with management than with the other players. In the Negro Leagues, I think the role of player-manager would have naturally come to him. But during his actual career, despite the example of Frank Robinson, there's no way Allen was going to be considered for that role.
   47. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:49 AM (#2130969)
Hornsby's "difficult personality" was of a very different sort; I think in today's jargon he'd be described as "verbally and emotionally abusive." Not a good type for a manager (though several successful managers of past generations might be considered verbally abusive by today's standards - Hornsby, however, was much more extreme than Durocher or McGraw).

Hornsby wrote two books, and the second one, My War With Baseball (ca. 1962) gives you a pretty damn good idea of this. You wouldn't really want to hang around shooting the breeze with Rogers Hornsby. When a player's revolt caused Bill Veeck to fire him from the Browns early in the 1952 season, the players presented Veeck with a trophy, on which it was written, "Greatest Play Since Emancipation Proclamation". Veeck accepted the trophy with a huge grin on his face. Of course the Browns still finished seventh anyway. Hornsby then somehow got picked up by the Reds, but again was given the boot before he finished his first full season.

And P.S. In his playing days, he once belonged to the Ku Klux Klan---didn't really approve of your sister marrying one of them Papists. Sweet man.
   48. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:43 AM (#2131007)
And folks will point to the quotations from former managers and players who provide testimony on Dick's behalf as further evidence that every negative thing written about Allen was either racially motivated or a complete misunderstanding of the circumstances.

So we shouldn't pay attention to what his teammates and managers, the people who would actually be affected by his behavior, said about him?
   49. baudib Posted: August 08, 2006 at 05:22 AM (#2131017)
Slightly tangential but...

There was quite a spirited debate about Edgar Martinez and his HOF credentials following his retirement. I seem to remember a roughly 65-35 split favoring "no" on Edgar, with many of the dissenters indicating he was one or two seasons short.

I realize that in 1982 Edgar Martinez is nowhere near the majors but I'm wondering if anyone feels there is a compelling reason to put in Allen ahead of Edgar.
   50. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 10:33 AM (#2131069)
Pete Browning basically drank himself out of all-time greatness. He'd play drunk (and badly!).

I don't think any modern player could eve compete with that, simply because such behavior is no longer acceptable in a public figure.


This is at least the second time you've made this accusation against Browning, without any evidence that his drinking had any negative effect on his teams' success or his own play (does being drunk affect your fielding but not your hitting?)

Browning's drinking was an act of self-medication for a painful medical condition that left him almost completely deaf and suffering from constant headaches. That Browning was able to overcome both his alcoholism and his mastoiditis to the point that he became the borderline HOMer he is is something to be admired, not sneered at and condescended to.

As for the unthinkability of a modern player playing drunk. . . you can't be serious, can you? Ever hear of Mickey Mantle? Tim Raines? Billy Martin? Dock Ellis? etc? The list of baseball players competing under the influence is long and distinguished.
   51. baudib Posted: August 08, 2006 at 11:00 AM (#2131070)
I can't buy any of this sympathy for poor Dick Allen stuff.

Whatever racism Allen faced was no different and certainly no worse than that of many, many players.

Dick Allen played in the 1960s and 1970s. They were turbulent times, yes. But was there an era when there were more all-time great black players in MLB? The treatment Allen received was certainly nowhere near as bad as Jackie Robinson, Doby, Aaron, Clemente.

He's not as good as though players, either, so I'm not sure how much any sympathy edge gets him anyway.
   52. karlmagnus Posted: August 08, 2006 at 11:45 AM (#2131075)
I would dearly love to chuck Allen and Torre (for the Yankee connection) into the ditch and elevate Brooks Robinson to the HOM, but the figures tell me otherwise. We've nearly elected Kiner, and Allen was distinctly better (and for just as long, even if you give Kiner war credit).
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 12:02 PM (#2131078)
I would have to ask if there is any reason to think Edgar was better than Allen.
   54. baudib Posted: August 08, 2006 at 12:05 PM (#2131080)
yes.
   55. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 12:17 PM (#2131085)
sunny:

Well, despite getting his career started at age 27 versus Allen's age 22 Edgar played more games, 2055 versus Allen's 1749.

Dick Allen had one good year after age 30 and was done at age 35. Edgar Martinez was garnering MVP votes at age 38.

Martinez' career was delayed by Seattle's infatuation with Jim Presley, not because of a lack of performance. Edgar was hitting the snot out of the ball in the minors.

Like Paul Molitor, the M's moved Martinez out of a defensive position not because he was terrible but because for some weird reason when he did get hurt it was while playing defense. But I can certainly understand someone making the claim that Martinez never would have been able to last this long without the DH. Though it is certainly likely that in differing circumstances he simply would have been moved to first base.

Edgar career OPS+ is comparable to Allen's. 147 versus 156. The Kingdome followed by Safeco wasn't any additional benefit to Martinez.

One could certainly contend that you put Allen in Edgar's era he becomes even MORE valuable while if you put Martinez in the '60's he becomes LESS valuable.

Edgar was universally liked and respected by everyone in baseball. He was a gentlemen's gentlemen. Allen.........

I don't believe either belongs in the HOF. But if forced to choose I go with Martinez. Edgar could ALMOST do as much as Dick to help you win games sans all the foolishness.
   56. Howie Menckel Posted: August 08, 2006 at 12:39 PM (#2131092)
I especially was struck by this from Dr. Chaleeko's all-around interesting post:


-Allen's personality has never been conclusively shown to have negatively affected his teams ability to win through any statistical analysis or won-loss analysis.
   57. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 01:48 PM (#2131159)
I realize that in 1982 Edgar Martinez is nowhere near the majors but I'm wondering if anyone feels there is a compelling reason to put in Allen ahead of Edgar.

IMO Allen is probably better than Edgar and should go in ahead of him.

The treatment Allen received was certainly nowhere near as bad as Jackie Robinson, Doby, Aaron, Clemente. He's not as good as though players, either, so I'm not sure how much any sympathy edge gets him anyway.
I think that's an overstatement. A big one. Some backup for that? Here's my usual intervals for all these guys, expresed in WS.

NAME         3   5  10  15 CAREER
----------------------------------
ALLEN      116 181 304 342  342  
CLEMENTE
*   94 149 270 359  382
DOBY
*+     102 162 290 363  363
ROBINSON
*+ 110 173 285 314  314

*154 seasons adjusted to 162
+includes NgL credit 


Let's keep these claims of how good a player Dick Allen was reasonable. He was a great player, there's no doubt. There's enough difficult-to-substantiate accusations flying around about his personality to have to sift through unfounded claims that he wasn't a good player. In other words, impugning his value as a player (especially without offering support) is not an appropriate way to discuss his clubhouse issues.
   58. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:03 PM (#2131174)
I thought it would be interesting to contrast Brooks and Dick, they are nearly polar opposites.

-Allen has a terrible reputation; Brooks has a sterling reputation
-Allen was so-so defensively; Brooks was awesome defensively
-Allen was among the greatest hitters of his era; Brooks was a little above average
-Allen was a gifted natural athlete; Brooks was said by Jim Palmer to be "the worst athlete I'd ever seen," except below the knees (because of his quick first step)
-Allen was a great baserunner; Brooks tried hard not to clog things up...
-Allen turned in several MVP-type seasons, Brooks turned in one
-Allen's career broke down after 30; Brooks kept on rolling well beyond that age

The one thing they have in common is that their careers are about as valuable as one another: 342 WS for Allen, 357 for Brooks.

So what I'm interested in is the attitude thing. At their peaks, how bad would Allen's attitude have to be to bridge the gap between them? Let's look at their top five seasons by WS

Allen:  41 40 35 33 32
Brooks
33 27 26 25 24
-----------------------
Diff:    8 13  9  8  8
Runs
*:  27 43 30 27 27 


*=WS times 3.33, rounded off.

So let's say that someone would suggest that Allen's hijinx were so bad that it equalized him and Brooks. I believe this would be overblown. Extrapolated Runs says that HRs are worth 1.44 runs. Plug it in here, and it means that Allen would be losing 19, 30, 21, 19, and 19 homers' worth of runs to Brooks in these seasons if such a postulate were true. Do you believe that? Me neither. So those who want to put Allen behind Brooks for his behavior had better come up with a deeply compelling argument for me to buy it. Otherwise, I think their reasoning may be overly influenced by media perception of Allen's issues and not enough by the on-field play of the men in question.
   59. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:06 PM (#2131179)
Doc:

Minor semantics. I would agree wholeheartedly that Dick Allen was a great HITTER, when in the lineup. My contention is that Dick Allen had negatives that caused him to not be a great all-around PLAYER.

I don't equate hitter with player. To me a player is one who handles each aspect of the game with a fair amount of proficiency.

I also don't believe anyone here has suggested that Allen wasn't a good player. It's more of a discussion of HOW good? And at what cost?

I do think labelling Allen as "sensitive" is somewhat unfair to his peers. Aaron, Robinson, Clemente, etc. endured racism. They weren't any LESS sensitive to it then Allen. But they COPED differently. And it wasn't that they shrugged it off or accepted it either. Each of them had their run-ins with their organizations about this issue.

It grates when folks (not here but elsewhere) claim that baseball just didn't know how to handle a proud black man which is why Allen ran into problems. Like Jackie Robinson wasn't proud. Aaron wasn't proud? Newcombe wasn't proud?

That stuff is just as silly as the claims that Allen was evil incarnate.
   60. Dizzypaco Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:21 PM (#2131205)
Its been a little while since I read a good chapter on Allen's career, so I don't remember the specifics. But what I do remember is that Allen is that he was not some kind of misunderstood guy, or a good guy that the media made out to be evil. He really did some stuff that were probably not helpful to his teams, particularly in the 1970's.

The important issue in evaluating Allen's off the field antics is: Did the antics affect the on field performance of his teams? In other words, did Allen do things that made it harder for his teams to win? And from what I remember, the answer to that question is probably no in the first half of his career, and yes in the second half. From what I remember, I would not want Allen on my team after 1972, no matter what his statistics were - and therefore, by definition, I believe he had no real value after that point. It wasn't some media creation.

I have no doubt that he was subjected to racism. But to blame his actions on the environment is an insult to every minority ballplayer that played from the 40's to the 70's and did not act the same way. Whether he would have acted the same way if he played in the 90's or today is irrelevant - the only issue is whether he hurt or teams or not.

With all that said, Allen was a hell of a ballplayer in the 1960's, and was certainly great in 1972. And that might be enough to get him in, regardless of his off the field antics. But I'm not completely convinced. And I'd vote for Brooks Robinson first - not that that's an insult in my book.
   61. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:41 PM (#2131239)
I have not eval. Edgar and won't for a long while. But just based on 2 numbers (156-147) as a peak/prime voter I don't see the extra PAs making up the difference. OTOH as a peak/prime voter, I want to see the seasonal numbers before saying anything more.

I will say that as a peak/prime voter I like Allen ahead of B. Robby, Doby and, yes, Clemente.
   62. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 08, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2131251)
This is at least the second time you've made this accusation against Browning, without any evidence that his drinking had any negative effect on his teams' success or his own play (does being drunk affect your fielding but not your hitting?)

Browning's drinking was an act of self-medication for a painful medical condition that left him almost completely deaf and suffering from constant headaches. That Browning was able to overcome both his alcoholism and his mastoiditis to the point that he became the borderline HOMer he is is something to be admired, not sneered at and condescended to.


This is the revisionist BS. Browning was a BIG drunk, not in the modern sense of a player coming ot the park hungover and popping greenies to cover it up; Browning was flamboyantly, flagrantly drunk, and it affected his play.

There's no evidence-none-that drinking was self medication for his mastoiditis. IIRC, the source for that is a poorly put-together biography from the interweb. I don't doubt that he had mastoiditis, but Browning was a drunk, plain and simple.

I'll happily provide contemporary newspaper accounts describing Browning's damaging effects upon his teams when I have time to put them together.
   63. Gaelan Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2131279)
It seems pretty clear that a lot, if not all, of Allen's reputation is due to racism and that his life would have been very different if he had been born white. He had to put up with things no human being should have to put up with. So what if he didn't handle it with the dignity of Clemente (who also had a bad reputation by the way). He didn't put himself in that situation. He was an angry black man in a world in which black men should be angry. Whatever penalty he deserved is already in the statistical record since the conditions under which he had to perform certainly affected his stats.

If ever there was a player who should be evaluated solely on the basis of his statistical accomplishments it is Dick Allen.
   64. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2131284)
Gaelan:

By "statistical accomplishments" do you mean to include team performance?
   65. Gaelan Posted: August 08, 2006 at 03:37 PM (#2131310)
Well, from what I've seen, everyone has a different take on what statistical accomplishment means and I think that's fine. So long as someone applies their standards consistently I have no problem with considering team performance. It's true that his teams never won anything, but that's true of lots of great players. If you want to keep them out too then I have no problem. But if "team performance" is an arbitrary standard that is applied to only one player well then I think that's a problem.
   66. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:07 PM (#2131346)
>if "team performance" is an arbitrary standard that is applied to only one player well then I think that's a problem.

Exactly.

And just because a player DOESN'T move to a new team, and his team declines, how is that better? Team performance is often a highly selective factor by virtue of only being applied to guys who happen to move. Other players do not have that jeopardy.
   67. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:20 PM (#2131374)
Gaelan:

As I have elucidated elsewhere in other threads, I think it is imperative that the ENTIRE career be considered. Otherwise, it's an incomplete assessment.

And as for many great players not playing on teams that at minimum won a pennant I think you would be hard pressed to name "lots".

Using just the players currently inducted into the Hall of Fame as a reference AND placing the minimum standard of playing on a pennant winner these are players who did not play in the post-season:

Ernie Banks
Ed Delahanty
Rick Ferrell
Ralph Kiner

I did not include the Negro Leaguers because of a lack of reference materials.
   68. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 04:25 PM (#2131383)
sunny:

I do not understand your statement in post 66. Please explain further.

Thank you.
   69. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 05:05 PM (#2131430)
Ernie Banks
Ed Delahanty
Rick Ferrell
Ralph Kiner


I think the point is really more about players who led teams to pennants. So while Earl Averill played in the 1940 WS, he was washed up and knew it. He was probably hurting the team more than helping.

Ron Santo did not play for any pennant winners. Nor Joe Torre. Ted Simmons was about done when the Brewers were in the WS, he was not leading them anywhere. George Sisler never won a pennant. Arky Vaughan was nearly washed up when finally got to play 65 games on a pennant winner. Luke Appling never saw a World Series at bat. None for Heilmann either. No pennant winner for Elmer Flick either. Billy Williams didn't see October until he was about 37 and on the way out of baseball. Dazzy Vance was pretty much toast when he finally appeared in October in 1934.

There's plenty more guys who either didn't see any October time or who only got there at the extreme end of the their career. The argument about a guy being on a pennant or WS team is ultimately specious to Dick Allen, and probably specious in general. If you put Barry Bonds on a team of below average players, he won't make the playoffs. If you put him on a team with one or two above average hitters plus a couple good starters and a good closer, you get the 2002 Giants. No one has claimed Allen is Bonds's equivalent, but he was an excellent, excellent player. And sometimes that meant his team went to October.

What's more interesting to me is someone demonstrating how much Allen dis-improved his teams as a matter of his personality. No one has done that yet. We've got a post way up above where the evidence is quite mixed, but where there's little context given. As indiret evidence, we've got my point about how he'd have to hit 20 fewer homers to be taken down to Brooksie's level. What else is there? Who's got something? Because right now, the evidence is too mixed to take any position. But, Harvey believe it or not, I'm open to getting the full picture of the player, and I want to know how much the shennanigans cost his teams.
   70. TomH Posted: August 08, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#2131437)
20 fewer HR to get to Brooks' level IN THEIR PEAK YEARS.

We are not going elect Brooks Robby on his peak.
   71. DavidFoss Posted: August 08, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2131440)
I think what sunny is trying to say is that its not 100% fair attribute the entire change in team performance from year to year on the gain and loss of one player. All other things are not equal.

Most of Dick Allen's negatives in this metric stem from two bad seasons -- the 1969 Phillies and the 1970 Cardinals.

The pitching staff that failed the 69 Phillies -- especially the bullpen. Plus they underperformed Pythagoras by 7 games. The next year the staff was still weak, but the bullpen was shored up and they overperformed Pythagoras by 8 games. I'm not sure I would "blame" the 10 game improvement from 69-70 on the loss of Dick Allen. The gain was temporary and overall the team was still weak and would stay weak until the late-70s group came up from the minors and matured.

The 1970 Cardinals are an interesting team. OCF can tell the details but in 1970, Briles, Carlton, Brock, Shannon, Javier all saw a significant decline in performance from the previous season. Even Gibson's ERA+ dropped 30 points. The next year, Ted Simmons emerged as a young catching star and Torre moved to 3B and had a mosnter year and the club rebounded. Is that Dick Allen's fault? Maybe the clubhouse was indeed pretty bad and it affected peoples play... is that the claim here?
   72. philphan Posted: August 08, 2006 at 05:53 PM (#2131485)
<<<unlurks>>>

Well, I just wrote a long post and then mishandled it and it vanished into thin air. Just what I deserve for rarely posting/always lurking....

I'm not going to disagree violently with much of anything that has been said upthread--Richie/Dick was a great hitter and a tremendous pain. I was all of nine years old when he came up with the Phillies, and he and I suffered together, in a way, through the Nightmare of 1964. So when you say that Allen never played on a pennant winner, just remember that if a few hits had been turned into outs and a few outs had become hits, he could easily have made it to the World Series as a rookie. And how might that have changed how we view him now (as well as how he was viewed at the time)?

It is unfortunate that a young man with Allen's personality happened to come to play in the major leagues in Philadelphia at that particular time. If you didn't live in the vicinity of Philly at that time, it is really hard to appreciate, 40 years later, what it was like. Many of the fans were harsh and unforgiving, but the media were worse. Off-the-field incidents that would have been brushed under the rug if a white player had been involved were played up dramatically instead. Management was at best incompetent. And it was the 1960s, with all of what that entailed. It was the proverbial perfect storm of anger/frustration/incompetence/impatience.

Anyway, I loved Richie through all of that (even through the denunciations of my father), and was very unhappy when he was finally traded. (Though I have to admit that the unhappiness was short-lived, as Curt Flood's refusal to be part of the trade led to the arrival of the ever-flamboyant Willie Montanez, and a few years later Willie was turned into Garry Maddox....)

I'll go back to lurking now.
   73. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:40 PM (#2131567)
This is the revisionist BS. Browning was a BIG drunk, not in the modern sense of a player coming ot the park hungover and popping greenies to cover it up; Browning was flamboyantly, flagrantly drunk, and it affected his play.

There's no evidence-none-that drinking was self medication for his mastoiditis. IIRC, the source for that is a poorly put-together biography from the interweb. I don't doubt that he had mastoiditis, but Browning was a drunk, plain and simple.

I'll happily provide contemporary newspaper accounts describing Browning's damaging effects upon his teams when I have time to put them together.


I find your self-righteousness on this issue to be both alarming and disgusting.

Why do you single Browning out for your venom? Why not Mantle?

Every biography of Browning I've ever seen talks about his mastoiditis and it's relation to his drinking. If you've got proof otherwise, feel free to share it with the baseball community as a whole. Otherwise, all your doing is spewing venom at a guy who's been dead for over 100 years, for no apparent reason.
   74. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:46 PM (#2131577)
Yes to #71.

Plus the corollary that a player who stays put, and his team has a down year, shoulders some blame, too. It is selective to blame the player who moves for his new team's woes.
   75. JPWF13 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#2131592)
I think what sunny is trying to say is that its not 100% fair attribute the entire change in team performance from year to year on the gain and loss of one player. All other things are not equal.


unless of course that player happens to be AROD
   76. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2131598)
David/sunny:

Agreed and understood. Of course, Allen receives little or minimal credit for the improvement of the 1972 White Sox.

Correct?
   77. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2131600)
I have not eval. Edgar and won't for a long while. But just based on 2 numbers (156-147) as a peak/prime voter I don't see the extra PAs making up the difference. OTOH as a peak/prime voter, I want to see the seasonal numbers before saying anything more.

You won't find a bigger Edgar-fan HOMie than me, but there's no way he's as good a candidate as Dick Allen. Both are short career peak/prime candidates, and Allen's peak blows Edgar's away.

Here's the WS comparison:

EDGAR: 305

36* 28 27 25 24 24 23 22 20 20 17 17* 13 8 4 4 2 1

DICK: 342

41 40 35 33 32 29 29 24 22 19 15 11 8 4

(* = adjusted for 94/95 strike)
   78. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2131654)
It's fun, in a metadiscursive way, to see how the steroids issue and this issue line up in terms of who's on what side.

I think it's fair to say that Sunny, Gilman, and I would be rightly/wrongly grouped together on both these issues. Cobb and Howie M are pretty much in the center IIRC. I think DizP might be in the center on both issues too. Harveys appears to have taken Andy's position on the more putative side of things w/r/t Allen.

Interesting also are those who have mostly sat it out. Working from memory here, Don't Call Me, the Commish, and Karl---three of our most vocal members---have been very quiet on both issues.

Again, just a fun observation. I wonder if those last three aren't, therefore, smarter than I am! ; )
   79. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2131689)
Well, it seems to me that there are a lot of similarities in the controversies around Dick Allen and Barry Bonds. I'd be surprised to find someone who's "pro" one of them and "anti" the other. . . .

But I've mostly stayed quiet about Allen. I'll leave it to the people who were alive when he was controversial to argue about him. Not to say you didn't peg me right, Doc.
   80. JPWF13 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2131705)
Agreed and understood. Of course, Allen receives little or minimal credit for the improvement of the 1972 White Sox.

Correct?


let's see
1971 Sox- 79-83 .250/.321/.373, 617 runs scored 3.81/g
1972 Sox- 87-67 .238/.307/.346, 566 runs scored 3.68/g (ERP of 535- 3.49/27 outs)

3.12 era both years...

if you remove Allen from the 1972 Sox you get: .230/.297.317 (YIKES!)(Erp of 416-2.99/27 outs)
so 1972 White Sox score approximately 485 runs with an "average Whitesox" taking up Allen's outs.

The 1972 Whitesox pythag of 81-73 becomes 69-84. Assuming they are still as efficient as with Allen that comes out to 74-80... and 5th place.

It wasn't all Allen- Carlos May went .308/.405/.438 in 602PAs- this was a poor year for offense- but wow is that just a surrealistically bad lineup
   81. Al Peterson Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#2131711)
What does Dick Allen now do? To quote a website I found: "Phillies community relations executive who works extensively with the team’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner City youth-development initiative."

I find this surprising. Somehow I thought he would still be at the race track. And with the Phillies no less; have the two sides suspended the bad blood from his playing days?
   82. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2131712)
Doc:

I have written MULTIPLE times that all I want is for people to consider the ENTIRE career.

How is that being punitive?

I look forward to your answer.
   83. DavidFoss Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2131723)
Of course, Allen receives little or minimal credit for the improvement of the 1972 White Sox.

Well, he gets credit for having one of the top offensive seasons in the post-Mantle/pre-Bonds era.

I just don't agree to linking a team's change in the standings upon acquisition/release to that players value. Whether is helps him or hurts him. There are just too many variables.

Win Shares already credits/discounts for over-/under-performing Pythagoras. I suppose Allen is already getting those credits and discounts there then (a bonus for 1972 and a discount for 1970-71). If someone wants to pile on more team-performance related credit/discount, then the burden of proof is on them in my opinion. There may certainly be extenuating circumstances (The 1919-20 Chisox is certainly one, I suppose a horrific September slump in a pennant race might be another, though that might be pushing it)

The main issue I have with some of the more creative analysis is that it tends to be selectively applied. Like someone doesn't want to vote for Dick Allen so they look for reasons not to vote for him and don't check to see if the analysis holds up to closer scrutiny or against some control group. In the retrosheet era, this will be easier to do with lefty-righty splits and park splits etc etc etc.
   84. karlmagnus Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#2131735)
I don't see why Allen's a big problem. I would grade down for steroids but not exclude, which means Bonds makes it and Palmeiro (a juiced up but inferior Beckley) and McGwire probably don't.

As for character, I voted for Cap Anson, who had far more negative effect on his teams than Allen by preventing black players from playing in them at all.

As the paleoest of paleoconservatives, I hold no liberal guilt feelings for Allen, but the man put up the numbers; he's significantly better than either Kiner or Edgar, both of whom were doubtless superior human beings. As I don't withhold votes for 1 year on moral grounds I won't here; others who have in the past (Anson, Jackson) may want to.

The tough decision is Rose. On the numbers he's Beckley plus more career length, minus a bit of quality, minus a 1890s 1B fielding bonus, so ought to be right on the border. Also, the temptation to withhold a vote for a year is pretty strong --his persona is SO obnoxious.
   85. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2131742)
David:

I was merely pointing out the flip side of the coin you presented. I find the notion that Allen NOT share in the credit for the White Sox improvement pretty ludicrous. But if Allen is to be absolved for a team going down then it only makes sense he receive the same treatment if it goes up.

Also, for the record I don't have a vote nor do I want one. I enjoy participating in the discussions.

If being a non-voter makes my contributions less credible in some people's opinions so be it.

Frankly, I find the lack of intellectual curiousity in the totality of a player's career somewhat disappointing. It's as if since a tangible value cannot be assigned to something then that something either doesn't matter or doesn't exist.
   86. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2131760)
Harveys appears to have taken Andy's position on the more putative side of things w/r/t Allen.

How is that being punitive?

I should have couched my language more carefully I guess. I thought appears was a pretty wishy-washy word with which to suggest your tenuous relationship to Andy's position between the discussions.

I have written MULTIPLE times that all I want is for people to consider the ENTIRE career.

Yeah, me too. We're on the same path, perhaps tacking at it from different angles or biases (I'm certainly exhibiting a strong bias at this juncture).

I've asked for anyone who can either provide objective information in the vein you are talking about---whole player, including personality---or think of a way for us to get there to come forward. So far no one has come forward with anything that's getting us closer, my own analyses included---it's all just a mixed record with a slight cant toward there being no effect. As I said earlier, we've now had three or four attempts to frame the question in a way that might demonstrate the effect of Allen on his teams or how to understand his effect, and none has seemed particularly promising.

So while I personally do remain skeptical about how much, if anything, his behavior can be held accountable to the team's success, I've been asking for help in answering the question and staying open to the possibility that such information exists. I'm not certain from your tone whether you think the possibility exists that information could persuade you that Allen didn't hurt his teams' W/L record. This feels like inflexibility which is why I compared it to Andy's binary Bad/Good argument about PEDs. Sorry if you didn't think it was an apt comparison, it was seat of the pants.

Big picture. If the effect of Allen's personality can't be found in the team's record, or if we can't find a sophisticated enough tool to deal with the question, then I take the position that it's not worth worrying about---the job is to win, not to be a good citizen. If the effect can be found and it's positive or negative, then we have to apply the same reasoning to all our electees to see what the tolerable standards for negative influence are in the HOM and then apply it to everyone in the backlog (and eventually everyone in the future) to see how they compare.
   87. BDC Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2131765)
Well, here's a possible tangible argument against Allen: as the 1969 season ended, he was 27 years old, clearly a superstar talent. The Phillies stunk, perhaps despite rather than because of Allen, who knows. But we do know that they could neither build around him nor trade him for, let's say, Joe Morgan, Jack Billingham, and Cesar Geronimo: i.e., the potential core of a championship team. Allen was just too erratic and weird. So they got some shopworn Cardinals for him, one of whom refused to report. (I knew at the age of ten that trading your best player for a couple of guys who had once been regulars on pennant-winners was somewhere between wishful thinking and getting your lunch money stolen.)

I would like my argument better if there were more examples from that period of clubs trading established stars for a raft of prospects. (Even the Morgan trade was really a swapping of established players.) In an era that combined the reserve clause with the free-agent draft, there was less incentive to make such trades. The Phillies did no worse in trading Allen than the Reds had done trading Robinson or the Braves had done trading Torre.

Nor, even if you accept this argument, does it warrant the vitriol of some of the early Bill James rants against Allen, which tended to take the form of "did more to help his team lose than any other great player" or similar language ...
   88. rico vanian Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2131766)
Well, it seems to me that there are a lot of similarities in the controversies around Dick Allen and Barry Bonds. I'd be surprised to find someone who's "pro" one of them and "anti" the other. . . .


Hi- Nice to meet you-

I don't see the similarities... Dick Allen was an outspoken ball player in a racially divisive era and Barry Bonds is an (alleged) drug abusing cheater.
   89. FrankM Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:38 PM (#2131780)
A number of years ago, Bill James wrote that in due course, Dick Allen would become a viable Hall of Fame candidate because all that would be left would be the numbers, and all the other stuff would fade away. When I read that, I thought he was crazy. Now we're seeing it. Yes, I know the current discussion is the Hall of Merit, not Fame, but still.

I can't prove it, but if you could somehow take a poll of everyone who was a baseball fan during Allen's career, I estimate you would get a something like 10% who would vote yes on his Hall of Fame (or Merit) candidacy.

The Phillies traded him to St. Louis after the 1969 season, in which he had put up a 166 OPS+. This was the famous Curt Flood trade, and came after many years of battles with Phillies management.

He had a 146 OPS+ in his one year with the Cardinals and they got rid of him. For Ted Sizemore.

He went to the Dodgers and put up an OPS+ of 151 in his one year there. They got rid of him. At least the Dodgers got Tommy John for him, but I doubt they expected John to last another 18 years or so. At the time, John was coming off a dead-average season and a three-year ERA+ of something like 113. A very solid pitcher, but hardly someone you'd trade a Hall of Fame type hitter for.

He went to the White Sox for three years, with OPS+ of 200,177 and 165. They traded him for Jim Essian and cash. And by the way, Allen got a *lot* of contemporaneous credit for the Chisox' unexpectedly good 1972 season.

Yes, racism was an issue as it still no doubt is. It was worse then. But to attribute all of Allen's problems to racism is way too facile and just a little bit smug in my opinion, especially when most of this line of argument (I strongly suspect) comes from people who weren't around at the time (no offense intended).
   90. JPWF13 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#2131783)
As for character, I voted for Cap Anson, who had far more negative effect on his teams than Allen by preventing black players from playing in them at all.


Well he didn't have negative effect so much on his teams- he managed to prevent his team's opponenets from playing black players as well- he had a negative effect on his leagues and on professional baseball as a whole- in fact you could argue that he had a negative effect on American society as a whole.

There were African Americans (not many, but some)playing in "organized" ball in the 19th century- what became the MLB was largely based North of the areas where the late 19th Century Jim Crow laws were enacted- American was by and large racist- but it was not pre-ordained taht blacke sowuld be banned from the MLB- Cap Anson had a larger role in bringing that ban about than any single other individual- without him the ban may have happened anyway- but it mght not have-

that for me is the reason Anson should be the first (and probably only) player to be ceremoniously booted out of the real HOF.
   91. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:46 PM (#2131790)
Doc:

I appreciate the feedback.

I have worked mightily to couch the discussion in terms that provoke THOUGHTS and not TEMPERS. Because I do have a pretty strong opinion about Allen based on a review of the publicly available references coupled with firsthand observations.

And just from a "statistical" review of the record I am still somewhat at a loss as to all the love that Allen receives from this community. Because of the time lost to injury coupled with his career being over at age 35 Allen did NOT have a long career. And two direct contemporaries, Colavito and Frank Howard, have very comparable records to Allen and nobody is talking about them for the HOF.

Is having great rate stats enough to overcome NOT being on the field on a regular basis?

The career length is just one thing that has always jumped out at me. Anyone care to explain why it's not an issue?
   92. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:51 PM (#2131800)
Yes, racism was an issue as it still no doubt is. It was worse then. But to attribute all of Allen's problems to racism is way too facile and just a little bit smug in my opinion, especially when most of this line of argument (I strongly suspect) comes from people who weren't around at the time (no offense intended).

I'm one of the young'uns, no offense taken. But I don't think anyone's attributing all his problems to racism---it's the major environmental factor (well, that an a team/league that tends to stamp out certain types of individualism or self-expression). Allen, himself, is the other major factor.

But the larger, more important issue isn't the pathology of Allen's issues but whether we are in any position to act on what a turkey he was. I don't yet think we are. We could be, but we're not. For HOM purposes, unless it shows up on the field or in the win column, there's not much for us to do about it. And we haven't made that connection yet.
   93. JPWF13 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2131801)
Is having great rate stats enough to overcome NOT being on the field on a regular basis?


How great? and
Why so short?
   94. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2131804)
JP:

I don't understand your response. Please clarify.
   95. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2131823)
I can't prove it, but if you could somehow take a poll of everyone who was a baseball fan during Allen's career, I estimate you would get a something like 10% who would vote yes on his Hall of Fame (or Merit) candidacy.

The highest he ever got from the BBWAA was 18.94% in 1996, according to the HOF's website.

He got only 3.74% in his first year of eligibility.
   96. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2131829)
I find your self-righteousness on this issue to be both alarming and disgusting.

Why do you single Browning out for your venom? Why not Mantle?

Every biography of Browning I've ever seen talks about his mastoiditis and it's relation to his drinking. If you've got proof otherwise, feel free to share it with the baseball community as a whole. Otherwise, all your doing is spewing venom at a guy who's been dead for over 100 years, for no apparent reason.


Because Mantle isn't borderline. If Mantle was a marginal HoM guy, and he tossed his talent away and screwed his team by showing up to games, he wouldn't get my vote. I mean, Dave Parker will (I expect) have snorted his way out of the HoM, and Keith Hernandez certainly didn't do himself any favors either. Mantle doesn't get the venom because Mantle was so good, just like Ruth missing a season for syphillis doesn't matter because he was so good every other year.

I urge you, read contemporary news accounts of Browning; they're easily available on the ProQuest Historical Newspapers Database if you're affiliated with a college/university. There is near uniformity that Browning was a fantastic, all-time great hitter, but a drunk and a guy who played horrendous defense by choice due to drunkeness ans a throroughly unpleasant personality. You'll find game recaps describing Browning showing up too drunk to play and getting fined by his manager, anecdotes about Browning not chasing down balls in the field because (paraphrase) "If they wanted me to catch it they'd hit it to me".

And why does it matter if he had mastoiditis? Surely if he was "self-medicating" to the point of impacting his career, he'd gone too far, eh? (If you had a friend who was popping pain killers to the point where he couldnt function at work, you'd say he was addicted.) Is alcoholism any less legitimate a disease than pain from mastoiditis? I don't think Browning should be rejected due to the moral repugancy of drinking, I think he should be rejected because his drinking made him a worse player. He couldnt field, couldn't stay sober for games, and was widely regarded as, well, the Dick Allen of his time. If we're going to pretend like Browning's alcohlosim didn't count, lets vote for Darryl Strawberry when he's eligible.
   97. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2131834)
Frank:

A while back when Allen was being bandied about as a Hall of Fame candidate the topic was discussed on BBTF. I approached my morning coffee group comprised of baseball fans of my generation with that very question.

To a man the response was, "That's crazy."

Completely unscientific and likely worthless to some. But that's a half dozen guys who have seen hundreds of major league games each and have firsthand experiences in seeing multiple Hall of Fame players.

Everyone nodded when he was described as a great hitter. But as one said, "It's all the other bullsh*t. Folks say nice things about him now but back then nobody said boo. Cripes, even Ty Cobb's team walked out in protest on his behalf. I don't remember Jim Bunning ever throwing himself across a train tracks to save Allen."

That last comment is somewhat paraphrased but it's pretty close. Because that captures the general sentiment of the times.

Anyway, it's just an anecdote. And I understand if folks ignore it.
   98. JPWF13 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#2131835)
HW

At some point I assume great rate stats can overcome a short career- at what point do people think that is 156 ops+ in a career of Allen's length? 146 in a career of Edgar's length?

Is the reason why a player's career is short somthing that shouldn't be held against the player?
getting drafted in WWII? The color line? Many people agree on thsioe reasons-

but- what about organizational incompetence? A team may erroneously believe a player can't play and sit on him for years- Edgar Marinez was a better player than Jim Presley for at least 2 years before getting a regular job for instance. Mike Easler was probably a good MLB hitter from age 22/23 yet he didn't get a real shot until age 29- after 2 organizations didn't think he could play
   99. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2131837)
Because of the time lost to injury coupled with his career being over at age 35 Allen did NOT have a long career. And two direct contemporaries, Colavito and Frank Howard, have very comparable records to Allen and nobody is talking about them for the HOF.

Career Win Shares:

Allen: 342
Howard: 297
Colavito: 273

Career WARP3:

Allen: 94.9
Howard: 72.7
Colavito: 77.7

Their careers may be similar in terms of length, but Allen packed a heck of a lot more (numerical) value into his.
   100. Sean Gilman Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:30 PM (#2131858)
I don't think Browning should be rejected due to the moral repugancy of drinking, I think he should be rejected because his drinking made him a worse player. He couldnt field, couldn't stay sober for games, and was widely regarded as, well, the Dick Allen of his time. If we're going to pretend like Browning's alcohlosim didn't count, lets vote for Darryl Strawberry when he's eligible.

If you think Browning's not a good enough player, then don't vote for him. His drinking is irrelevant. Would you vote for him if he was the exact same player and a teetotaler? If not, then I don't see why his drinking matters at all.

Browning was far from the Dick Allen of his time. He was a beloved figure in Louisville and was a popular enough player that his nickname became the name over the most popular bat model for the last 100+ years. I think you'll find a lot more positive Browning stories in those contemporary newspapers than negative ones.

You're drastically overrating his lack of fielding ability, which was caused as much by the conditions of the time, the mastoiditis, his deafness as his drinking (which surely was a factor). You've yet to explain to me how being a drunk makes you a terrible fielder but doesn't prevent you from being one of the best hitters in the league.
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