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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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   101. jimd Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:30 PM (#2131860)
*=WS times 3.33, rounded off.

20 fewer HR to get to Brooks' level IN THEIR PEAK YEARS.

The measurement above was done in a 5.0 R/G offensive context.
Those are 20 late-1990's, "juiced" HRs.

Placed back into a mid-60's context (3.5 R/G), it's more like 13-14 HRs per season.
   102. TomH Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2131865)
I still say that Dick Allen = Billy Martin.

Would I hire Billy to manage my team (if he weren't quite so dead...)? Sure, if it was May and my talented group was struggling and needed more than a firm touch on the fanny.

But no, not if I was gonna try to build a 5-yr dynasty. Cause Billy never lasted anywhere more than 3.

Would I trade for Dick Allen in a pennant drive? You betcha. But would I choose him in the first round of the amateur draft? No way. What are the odds he'd be with the club through his best days?

It's like the peak/career debate. Different methods, neither "right" or "wrong". I won't demean anyone's choice of where they slot Mr. Allen.
   103. dlf Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2131872)
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.


But it clearly does show up on the field. It shows up by where Allen was on the field. He was a great player in Philly; they traded him for ten cents on the dollar. He was an All Star in his year in St. Louis, but Red Schoendienst - with his million years in organzied ball - decided he wasn't worth more than a slap hitting middle infielder. He had a very good year in LA, but Walt Alston decided he'd rather have Wes Parker play 1B. He was MVP in '72 and two years later he was traded for a second string catcher. It doesn't show up in his rate stats -- those were amazing, certainly -- but it shows up all over the transaction ledger.

The career length is just one thing that has always jumped out at me. Anyone care to explain why it's not an issue?


And its not just that Allen only had a fairly short career. He also played very few games in those years. He played 140+ games only six times and only three times in the last eleven years of his career. After the brilliant beginning of his career, he rapidly became a part-time player.
   104. karlmagnus Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:46 PM (#2131876)
TomH and Harvey, I was already a baseball fan in 1972 and Allen was regarded as a GREAT player -- by the time I came back to the US in 1980 his reputation was quite different.

I'd certainly draft Allen, provided my minor league club wasn't in 1963 Arkansas. One of the differences between '63 and '47 was that the Allen generation thought "I don't have to TAKE this xxxx any more." In a transitional situation like the '60s there will be players who get it wrong. Allen was one such; in 1993-2007 he might have been much less of a problem.

His actual statistics are NET of most of his perosnality problems -- jacking in the season early will badly affect your OPS+.
   105. Steve Treder Posted: August 08, 2006 at 09:54 PM (#2131884)
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.

I'd be among that 10% if I had a vote, FWIW.

But Allen wasn't just a misunderstood black guy. He was an immature, manipulative, self-centered cad, which is behavior that crosses all color lines.

But, when he was on the field (instead of being suspended, or in one of his impulsive "retirements"), and when he was sober (which was usually, but not always), he was for several years a great player.
   106. Steve Treder Posted: August 08, 2006 at 10:12 PM (#2131897)
WRT to the question of attempting to isolate & quantify how Allen's behavior hurt his teams' performance ... obviously vastly easier said than done. But one thing that should be pretty easy is this:

With the White Sox in 1972-73, in Chuck Tanner & Co.'s never-ending effort to mollify Allen, at Dick's request they put his brother Hank on the roster in mid-1972, and kept him there all through the 1973 season. This is what Hank contributed to the White Sox's cause:

G: 30
AB: 60
R: 3
H: 7
RBI: 0
BB: 1
BA: .103
OBP: .125
SLG: .154

Estimate what a reasonably-available use of Hank's roster spot would have contributed, versus what he did, and you get an estimate of what this egregious nepotism cost the White Sox.

The rest of Allen's stunts weren't nearly so quantifiable as this one.
   107. DavidFoss Posted: August 08, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2131914)
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.


I completely agree. Everything should be fair. I don't see the problem with Allen's 1972 season. The Sox outperformed Pythag quite a bit and he's getting a whopping 40 WS for that year. The 200 OPS+ jumps out of the page. He's going to get *loads* of credit regardless of whether is was his first year with the club or where the club was the year before. Why give him more?

Similarly, STL underperformed Pythag in their bad year in 1970, so "only" 19 WS for Allen that year. That's not a great season.

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.


Don't know where this is coming from. I have no problem with you, you seem like a stand-up guy. :-) Might be the obtuse phrasing of the previous post. My opinion was that when using stuff like team-performance and the like, the burden of proof was on you to convince me that was valid there -- not that the burden of proof was on me that is was invalid. Then I backed up because I figured that was too strong... who am I to tell others what the burden of proof is on their own ballot reasoning? Then I clarified that the burden of proof applied to me going along with the reasoning... to me agreeing that the extra analysis made sense. I didn't intend anything about you being a non-voter -- the thought actually hadn't crossed my mind. Some of our most knowledgeable posters are non-voters (Paul Wendt/cblau/etc)

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.

I am extremely intellectually curious about these things. They make for great stories which I love going into in these discussion threads. Once I get to making my ballot though, I prefer a cleaner analysis as I think that sometimes the details of the analysis can go too far. Here is an example, a couple of 'years' ago, someone accused Maris of taking too much advantage of Yankee Stadium. Then someone else posted that his his home/road splits did not support that evidence, then the rebuttal was that Yankee Stadium favored LHPs so Maris faced more lefties at home because of this. Some lefty-righty splits were posted and it was shown that Maris likely did abuse Yankee Stadium when righties were on the mound. (Perhaps he faced more righties on the road because rotations were set so that lefties pitched in Yankee Stadium?) Anyhow, at the end of the day this makes a great story of the complexities of baseball, but should it affect my vote? If so, doesn't it look like we're trying too hard to lower Maris's numbers? If I adjust Maris's numbers and if I do adjust his numbers, I need to adjust everyone elses numbers accordingly. If I take the view that the scoring context is the only important thing than I don't need to worry about park & lefty-righty splits and if someone is helped or hurt more by park or handedness than their teammates than so be it.

The same thing goes with difficult personalities. There have been a lot of difficult players in MLB history. Is Dick Allen a true outlier in that regard that he deserves *more* of a discount than Pythag is applying? Maybe. His 1974 defection an eye-popper. I could see penalizing him extra for that. That's a 24 WS season. His 1969-70 already don't look like great seasons (22 WS and 19 WS). As for disappointing pennant races, he hit well in September in both 1964 & 1971.
   108. DavidFoss Posted: August 08, 2006 at 10:31 PM (#2131916)
Hmmm... often by the time I finish a lengthy post, others have said similarly things in a much clearer and terse manner. Ah well... :-)
   109. sunnyday2 Posted: August 08, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2131935)
Re. the question of team performance. In 1972 Dick Allen had a great year and got 40 WS and the White Sox moved up in the standings. Should Dick Allen get another few WS beyond the 40 because the team moved up? No, the team moved up because Dick Allen had a 40 WS season, and that's what he gets credit for.

If he had an off year somewhere and got 20 WS and the team dropped in the standings, would we deduct a few more WS below the 20? No, he got 20 WS.

Or if he got 40 WS and the team dropped? Well, then, clearly, the team performance is somebody else's fault. No deduction.

Or if he got 20 WS and the team improved? Well, somebody else was probably more responsible for the improvement, but then they probably got 25-30 WS for their trouble, and that's what they get.

You don't adjust the WS because of the team's performance. The team performance is the independent variable and the WS follow.
   110. AndrewJ Posted: August 08, 2006 at 11:15 PM (#2131971)
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.

From what I understand he'd been known as Richard/Dick while growing up in Wampum, PA. When the Phillies brought him up the team and the media began calling him Richie (possibly after Richie Ashburn). Allen didn't take to the nickname and thought it demeaning (this was the era, remember, when Roberto Clemente was usually called "Bob" in the press).
   111. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:04 AM (#2132085)
From what I understand he'd been known as Richard/Dick while growing up in Wampum, PA. When the Phillies brought him up the team and the media began calling him Richie (possibly after Richie Ashburn). Allen didn't take to the nickname and thought it demeaning (this was the era, remember, when Roberto Clemente was usually called "Bob" in the press).

While he was undoubtedly unhappy with being called "Richie" in Philadelphia, Allen never made a request to the press to be referred to as "Dick" when he was there, nor when he played in St. Louis or in Los Angeles. He was "Richie" through 1971.

It was in the spring of 1972, after having been traded to the White Sox, and after having reported two weeks late to spring training while threatening to retire, that he made the public "call me Dick" request.

Clemente was called "Bob" only through about 1965 or so, and then only sometimes.
   112. jimd Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:34 AM (#2132177)
"Dick Nixon Before He Dicks You" was a popular counter-culture campaign slogan of that year.

Could the name change be somehow related?
   113. Buzzards Bay Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:35 AM (#2132181)
solid big league balplayer
when the thread devolves to this stuff
he's in no man's land
   114. sunnyday2 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2132377)
I don't ever remember Clemente being called Bob, I really don't. I was out in Minnesota but I remember baseball seasons back to 1958.
   115. Howie Menckel Posted: August 09, 2006 at 01:59 AM (#2132484)
As I've noted before, Clemente is "Bob" on the 1967 and 1968 Topps cards I have here at home.

Harvey et al,
I think the reason people don't credit Allen as much as they should is that it's a weird era - 37 HR, 113 RBI, .308 didn't sound THAT amazing in 1972, given the stats piled up in earlier eras. And 99 BB? People didn't get that, either. The AL hit .249 that year, and Harvey's friends - am I right? - thought a .249 hitter was lousy, when what he was, was league average.

Guys like Allen are the anti-Koufaxes. The same guys thought Koufax was one of the greatest pitchers EVER, not realizing that Koufax was dropping from a 3.52 ERA in a 4.35 context in 1961 to a 1.88 ERA in a 3.02 context in 1963. Yet they thought he was a full 1.64 'better' that year.

I can think of few other eras than the late 1960s-early 1970s where it would be better to discount 'contemporary opinion' of who belonged in the Hall. See Brock, Lou for further clarification.

And yes, I saw Allen play a bit, and all other newcomers on the ballot..
   116. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:22 AM (#2132837)
As I've noted before, Clemente is "Bob" on the 1967 and 1968 Topps cards I have here at home.

That wasn't the norm. I was following the game intensely in both of those years, including buying magazines, fan guidebooks etc., and "Bob" was almost entirely absent. It had been there a few years before, frequently on the lips of Giants' broadcaster Russ Hodges. But the appearance on those Topps cards is an anachronism.
   117. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 09, 2006 at 04:48 AM (#2133048)
Unfortunately, I don't have the data at hand, and I'm going away for several days, but this is worth mentioning. When the NHBA came out, I went through and put all the Win Shares info into the system that James described, to see who had been moved around the most by the subjective element. (Granted, I used the WS numbers in the NHBA, which we now know to be error-ridden.) The one thing I saw that just leapt out at me - Dick Allen? #2, 1B.
   118. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 09, 2006 at 11:46 AM (#2133121)
The key in regard to Dick Allen is estimating how much he hurt or didn't hurt his team beyond his stats (not playing doesn't count in my mind because it's already reflected in his playing time for each season). I may be wrong since I don't remember Allen at the height of his fame, but I can't believe that he would get such a huge demerit that would seriously affect what he accomplished in his statistical record. Again, I could be wrong and welcome the opposing viewpoints so far and in the future on this thread.
   119. BDC Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:08 PM (#2133125)
"Bob" was almost entirely absent

I agree; by the late 60s Clemente was highly respected, and always "Roberto." Other Latin players still often went by diminutives, though; there were a few Chicos, for instance, a name not heard in many years now. Allen was traded with Cookie Rojas for (among others) Willie Montanez -- this was a while before Willie Hernandez made public his preference to be called Guillermo. There were lots of Tonys, and at least one would in later years be identified in box scores as "APerez" (for Atanasio) instead. Jesus Alou was still often "Jay," though that has more to do with Anglo taboos than with diminution. I would guess that a lot of players didn't mind or even preferred diminutive nicknames, of course, just as many still don't. (Minoso's autobiography is titled Just Call Me Minnie, for instance.) But in the late 60s Latin players were just barely beginning to have a choice about it.

For the very little that was worth :) but it's an interesting sidelight.
   120. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:23 PM (#2133129)
Steve:

Thanks for broaching the subject of Dick's drinking. I was reluctant to mention it so as to not appear as if I was simply going to hammer the man from every direction. But the facts are that Allen didn't have just ONE thing that made him challenging for a ballclub. It was a HOST of issues. And that has to be considered. And if folks think the drinking was on par with other ballplayers of the day it wasn't. Allen himself has mentioned how he partied too much at times. And based on the stories told by Bob Uecker on the radio, in a jovial "he was a crazy guy" tone, Allen could really tip it back. By the way, for those not aware Uecker and Allen were and are great friends. Uecker was Allen's best friend when Bob was on the Phillies which also happened to be one of Allen's greatest seasons. By all accounts Allen was devastated when the Phillies traded Bob the following season to the Braves. So if anyone is thinking that Bob Uecker goes on the air at times to tell stories about Dick Allen that are meant to make Allen look like a bad guy you are nuts. Uecker tells Allen stories because they are highly entertaining. But if you listen you understand that to a BALLCLUB these stories aren't that d*mn funny. And while I am not completely certain I am pretty sure it was because Uecker and Allen were so into hijinx that Bob got traded.

Howie:

Your last post is amusing in that it couldn't be more wrong. For one thing, and I clearly mention this in my post, my "gang" regards Allen as a great hitter. As in Hammerin' Hank/Willie great. And two, and this is really had me chuckling, do you really think that you need to explain to a bunch of semi-retired farmers about CONTEXT? Should you happen to have an old Statistics text rummage through it and check out the examples. A dollar to your doughnuts that 2/3 of the examples in that book are agriculturally related. Crop yields, hog production, or some such. Any GOOD farmer, and someone who reaches my age still with the farm in tact HAD to have been good, knows his numbers. He (or she) may not have any paper on the wall but if you are going to battle Mother Nature, government regulations/intrusions, globalization, and the changing whims of the American consumer you look for every advantage you can find.

So you go ahead and presume to explain to me how we just don't appreciate Dick Allen for how swell he was really was as a hitter. And I will tell you again, that was granted up front. The discussion is about everything ELSE that came with the package.
   121. BDC Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:42 PM (#2133132)
As a kid in South Jersey in the late 60s, I knew other kids who idolized Allen because they saw him hit one home run or another drunk. They didn't dig the drinking, actually, but the talent that it took to hit that well while wasted. The impressions of 11-year-olds are not evidence in a Hall of Merit argument, I realize :)

I'll also second Harvey's point about context. When Allen hit 37 home runs in 1972, it was the all-time White Sox team record, and I believe it's still the team record for their years in the old Sox Park. Much was made of that at the time; it was very impressive. Bill Melton was highly touted for hitting 33 for the Sox; Allen was on a different plane. Or planet.
   122. Howie Menckel Posted: August 09, 2006 at 12:57 PM (#2133138)
Harvey,

I'll accept your premise that you and your pals knew in proper context how great a hitter Dick Allen was.
But did you guys also tell each other to tone down Koufax's numbers based on park factor? Did you guys NOT think Lou Brock was one of the best players in baseball, and an annual All-Star, like almost everyone else?
If so, you must know you were in a spectacularly small minority at the time - so much so that I'd be wary of whether or not you're leavening the memories with later context.

Meanwhile, posters repeatedly have asked if there is any evidence that Allen's being a pain in the neck and even a bad guy actually affected his team's play. Because if it doesn't, then it's irrelevant to us. We don't have a 'character' clause - we only care if it affected his team's success.
The only evidence that seems to be offered is that he got traded a lot. But when you look at how the various teams wound up faring, and you factor in injuries, ineffectiveness of starting pitchers, players becoming over the hill, etc., it seems as if there is little, and usually no, room left for some "x factor" that we can stick on Dick Allen's bad attitude.

I remember the second half of Allen's career. I also will downgrade him for the amount of missed games, moreso than some others. But I agree with the sentiment of others that if Gene Mauch had managed his staff a little differently in 1964, and if one of Allen's GMs made a solid trade in a different season, the entire outlook on Allen would be a lot different.
Yet Mauch's managing in the last two weeks of 1964 and the choices Allen's GMs made are not going to make or break my HOM vote for Dick Allen.

Finally, I must say Harvey that your HOM comments of the past month have frustrated me. You're one of my favorite posters on BTF, offering a wonderful context of firsthand baseball history without acting like a know-it-all.

Over at HOM, well, you've frustrated me is all I'll say, other than trying to convince myself that I've misinterpreted some of your comments.
   123. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 09, 2006 at 01:55 PM (#2133187)
Howie:

Specific to Brock the group has always been split between good and great. Some say because of the nature of the times his skill set was uniquely valuable. Others say a bad defensive left fielder who when he's not hitting .300 is an offensive cipher can never be considered great.

I am likely allowing my personal frustrations taint my posts on the topic of Dick Allen. The fact of the matter is that I have personal experiences which could be considered germane to the topic, but it would be completely inappropriate for me to share in this type of forum. I repeatedly catch myself about to mention such things when posting, and I know that it is somewhat galling to me that I am unable to respond on point to some of the questions when I believe I have information that may likely provide some of the clarity being requested.

As to why I won't mention such things, I want the discussion to stay focussed on things that everyone can read about and consider for themselves. My information, while possible illuminating in some way, is still coming from a single source and therefore without corroboration. I know I would treat such information as highly suspect and as a result of minimal value in advancing the discussion forward. Basically, it's gossip.

I understand if folks want to roll their eyes. If I were you I would probably do the same.

With that stated I will recuse myself from further posts unless solicited by a fellow poster.

Sincerely,

Harvey
   124. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: August 09, 2006 at 02:52 PM (#2133274)
wow, i take aplane ride from Hong Kong and this thread explodes!

1. If we don't elect Dick allen, a player whose numbers clearly put him in, I will be really disappointed in this group (though that doesn't look like it ishappening). You can downgrade him for his actiosn, but hell we elected John Beckwith how can we not elect Dick Allen (the 1960's Beckwith IMO) based on character issues?

2. While Allen was missing games in season and while this is a big deal, it isn't like the man lacks a peak because of it. I am not a big rate stat guy and like to use the Uberstats for peak, and Allen still have 5-6 MVP level seasons and a couple of truly monster seasons. John McGraw, Ernie Lombardi, and Frank Chance he is not.

3. The reason that Allen should go into the HOM before Edgar is that he becomes eligible about 7 seasons before Edgar's career starts IIRC.

4. If Pete Browning was such a drunk that it hurt his play, it woudl show up in his numbers. Hell, may haev been a really bad drunk but he still put up awesome offensive numbers.

5. Paul Wendt isn't a voter? Didn't know that and I have been around for almost 50 'years' now.

6. Pete Rose is Beckley with LESS QUALITY and W/O an 1890's 1B defense upgrade (because it isnt' like he played a lot of time at 3B and 2B)? Hilarious.

7. Allen will either be #1 or #2 for me this year, it's either he or Keller.
   125. cseadog Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:30 PM (#2133320)
I have 2 significant problems with Allen.

First, his counting stats fall short. People compared Frank Howard to Mark McGwire, but Howard is a fair comparison to Allen. Do people here really think Howard is HoM material? Context is important, but McCovey played the same postion in the same era


My second problem with Allen is that he didn't seem to care about winning. He was all about Dick. It's not just that he was a jerk, the others listed as a-holes were all fierce competitors.
   126. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#2133322)
there were a few Chicos, for instance, a name not heard in many years now.

A sign of enlightened progress, thank goodness. "Chico" effectively means "Boy." It's a very disrespectful way to address an adult.
   127. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:43 PM (#2133339)
My second problem with Allen is that he didn't seem to care about winning.

This hits the nail on the head regarding what is so fascinating about Allen. People who are unfamiliar with his situation tend to assume (not unreasonably) that what made him controversial were the kinds of behaviors that make lots of guys (Albert Belle, Milton Bradley, etc.) controversial: surly, brawling, tough guys with anger-management issues. But that wasn't Allen at all.

By all accounts, Allen was (and presumably still is) a hell of a nice guy, charming, funny, intelligent. His issues were just the opposite of getting so riled up that he'd lose his temper: his issues were that he basically just didn't give a rip. Certainly not about baseball, which he seems to have regarded as pretty silly. He didn't seem to care at all that the constant circus of me-me-me concerns that always surrounded him had nothing at all to do with improving his performance or winning games; the welfare of his team (or of pretty much anything other than Dick Allen getting his way) seems to have been the last of his concerns.

I don't think this makes him less than HOM or HOF-worthy; I'd vote for him. But it definitely is a real mark against his case.
   128. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 09, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2133341)
First, his counting stats fall short. People compared Frank Howard to Mark McGwire, but Howard is a fair comparison to Allen.

I dunno. Howard's career OPS+ is 142, and Allen's is 156. Allen's career high was 200, Howard's 177. I think Howard comes significantly short when it comes to hitting, and I don't think Howard gets any credit for his defense, right?
   129. Dizzypaco Posted: August 09, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2133376)
Three things. First, people are talking about Allen's off the field stuff as if it was consistent across his career. I don't think it was. I don't think he was anywhere near the distraction early in his career that he became in the mid 70's. Therefore, there's a pretty good case that could be made that his peak should not be adjusted by any off the field problems.

Second, by 1969, teams couldn't wait to get of the guy. Supporters of Allen are implying that all these teams were run by idiots, and that they had a great player on their hands, if they weren't too dumb to notice. Personally, I think the people running baseball teams at the time should be given just a little more credit; there may have been a pretty good reason why teams were so anxious to have him leave. I suppose this puts him in company with Rogers Hornsby, but it still makes me wonder.

Finally, the issue is not, and has never been, character problems. People aren't saying, "he's a jerk and therefore he shouldn't go in." We're not talking about problems with the media, drunk driving, racism, acting stand offish to teammates, or any other character problems. It comes down to: Did his actions affect his team's ability to win games? And I believe they might have, in the second half of his career.
   130. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2133391)
I don't think he was anywhere near the distraction early in his career that he became in the mid 70's.

Quite possibly, but that's simply a demonstration of how colossal a distraction he became in the mid-70s. Remember that in 1965 he got into an on-field fistfight with Frank Thomas (that was instigated by Thomas, but still it was a huge incident), that in 1967 he lacerated his hand under very suspicious circumstances causing him to miss the last month of the season, and that in 1968 he engaged in a campaign of intentionally aggravating management (such as regularly showing up at the ballpark drunk) to try and get them to trade him. All that was before he really got his distraction mojo working.
   131. BTL: Lesser Primate, 4th Class Trainee Posted: August 09, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#2133397)
From baseballhumor.com:

Dick Allen launched a home run that cleared two-deck Connie Mack Stadium, impressing Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell.

"Now I know why they boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there's no souvenir."
   132. cseadog Posted: August 09, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2133415)
SSU, I was talking COUNTING stats, not rate stats.

Here's the comparison: career length 15/16 Hits 1848/1774 HR 351/382 RBIs 1119/1119

That looks pretty close to me.

Allen is the first player.

Yes Allen put up the same numbers in fewer ABs; that's why his rate stats are better. But over their careers, Howard had comparable production.
   133. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2133482)
But it clearly does show up on the field. It shows up by where Allen was on the field. He was a great player in Philly; they traded him for ten cents on the dollar. He was an All Star in his year in St. Louis, but Red Schoendienst - with his million years in organzied ball - decided he wasn't worth more than a slap hitting middle infielder. He had a very good year in LA, but Walt Alston decided he'd rather have Wes Parker play 1B. He was MVP in '72 and two years later he was traded for a second string catcher. It doesn't show up in his rate stats -- those were amazing, certainly -- but it shows up all over the transaction ledger.
Yeah, but can't we use this same sort of argument to say that Wade Boggs wasn't a great hiter in the minors? Any team could have picked him up when he was put on waivers in the minors, but none did. That either means that he really wasn't any good -- or lots of teams made mistakes. Why can't the Allen transactions be interpreted as lots of teams similarly getting it wrong?
   134. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 09, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2133504)
PART ONE OF A REALLY LONG POST (THE PRE-CHICAGO YEARS)

OK, in an effort to move this discussion of personality stuff into the realm of actionable, I’ve consulted with several sources to created a chrono of personality events in Dick Allen’s career. There are the sources and abbreviations I’ll use
BEB: Biographical Encyclopedia of Baseball
NHBA: New Historical Baseball Abstract
POG: Politics of Glory
BL: BaseballLibrary.com
CW: The Craig Wright Article I referenced earlier in the thread

I’ll go year by year. Analysis is by the cited source, unless you see “COMMENT” in which instance I’ll be inserting my own thoughts.

My goal is not to document how bad or not-bad he was, but rather to see which events may lend themselves to some kind of hard analysis.

1963
-Signed for $60,000. (BEB)
-Farmed to Little Rock, where he integrates the team. Local public protests. (Several sources.)
-Called up at season’s end.
COMMENT: Nothing here.

1964
-Super rookie year.
-Philadelphia Press attacks him as “schizophrenic” and “con man with muscles.” (BEB)
COMMENT: Nothing here.

1965
-Gets into fistfight with Frank Thomas over Thomas’s racial remarks. (NHBA and BEB)
-Team released Thomas on same day. (NHBA and BEB)
-“Sportswriters from coast to coast” back the veteran Thomas over the uppity and troublesome youngster. (NHBA)
-Thomas then denied making a racist remark, which makes Allen’s claim look suspicious. (NHBA)
-Mauch ordered Allen and his teammates not to speak to the press about the fight and backed it up with a threat of stiff fines.(CW)
-Mauch told me, "They really turned on him [Allen] after the Thomas fight. From there, if he did one little thing wrong, they would see it as so much worse because it was Allen. They got it in their heads that this was a bad guy, and they booed his every move."(CW)
-Reported as pre-game horseplay by BL.
COMMENT: The Thomas-Allen brawl had few on-field consequences, unless Allen’s being hit in the shoulder with a bat is one. Mostly this is the incident that the press used to turn Allen into a true villain after finding him difficult in 1964.

-“The Phillies, a very young team at that time, never did come together” [after the fight and with Allen as its leading player]. (POG)
COMMENT: Given the vagaries of career trajectories, I don’t think it’s at all fair to pin this on Allen, even indirectly. Most of the Phils were in their late twenties, but they had some good young guys, like Allen. The pitching staff was older and more mediocre. I don’t think one can support this statement.


1966
Nothing.

1967
-Gashes hand in mysterious incident where he puts his hand through a headlight. (BEB)
-Incident reported by Allen as pushing a stalled car. (BL)
-Others see it as a coverup for a knife fight in a bar.(CW)
COMMENT: This pushed him from third to first because it gave him permanent nerve damage in his throwing hand. Whether or not there’s a cover-up here, this kind of stuff happens to all kinds of players (remember David Wells getting into a bar fight?), and it doesn’t seem appropriate to single this incident out for hurting his team.

1968
-In the spring of 1968 he began a campaign of minor transgressions of team rules in hopes that it would cause Philadelphia to trade him.(CW)
COMMENT: Presumably, this means showing up late, skipping BP, stuff like that.
-New manager Bob Skinner, who managed the last two-thirds of the season, did not remember having any problems with Allen that season. "I don't recall any real incidents in `68, nothing that would make him stand out from most players. He wasn't late; he didn't miss any games."(CW)
COMMENT: Alrightly then. Still, nothing to go on here.

1969
-In May, for the first time in his career, Allen arrived at the park after the game had started. Skinner fined him $1,000, a huge fine for that era. A month later, Allen forgot that the starting time for a doubleheader in New York had been moved up. He was on his way to the ballpark when he heard on the radio that the first game had started and that Skinner had suspended him. While acknowledging that he was wrong and had no excuse, Allen had reached a point of such misery that he could not remember the last time he had fun playing ball. He finally decided he would rather retire than continue to play in Philadelphia.(CW)

-Begins a 26-day suspension in June for being late to a double-header. Allen was at the track and was stopped on the way home after crossing lanes of traffic in a tunnel. (BEB)
Suspension comes after a series of such events, including missing planes, missing bp, drunkenness, a fight with a barroom owner, and a lack of hustle. (BEB)
COMMENT: No sources corroborate all of these.

-28-day suspension with $500 per day fines. (BL)

June 24, 1969: Richie Allen is fined $2,500 and suspended indefinitely when he fails to appear for the Phillies twi-night doubleheader game with the Mets. Allen had gone to New Jersey in the morning to see a horse race and got caught in traffic trying to return. He will stay suspended until July 20. Allen picked up a $1000 fine in May when, for two straight days, he reportedly arrived at the ballpark after the game had started. (BL)
COMMENT: Here’s something to work with. Allen’s behavior cost him 28 games, and it probably also cost a start in game one of the twi-nighter and the game in May. So he misses 30 games due to his own behavior. How could we analyze that? In 1969, Allen created 95 runs in 506 PA and 118 games. That’s 4.29 PAs per game. Multiply by 30 missed games = 129 missed PAs. Based on his ratio of RC to PA, he missed the chance to create 24 additional runs. That’s two wins and change or 7 BWS of value that he did not put up.


-August 7th, Bob Skinner quits as Phils manager, citing the club’s unwillingness to help him deal with Dick Allen’s behavior.(BL)
-Skinner resigned in August, after ownership gave Allen permission to skip an exhibition game with their AAA farm team. When I asked if his problems with Allen contributed to his resigning, Skinner said, "No. In my eyes, Allen was just another player. My problem was with the front office."(CW)
COMMENT: Semi-contradictory, but ultimately nothing there for our purposes since Skinner’s not known as a great manager who might add wins to the team.

1969 or 1970
-Requests that he be known as Dick and not Richie. (BEB)
COMMENT: Joey >>> Albert? No value here of course.

1970
-Traded to St Louis in the Curt Flood deal.
COMMENT: Indeed we could possibly get a reading on this one since Allen put the Phillies backs to the wall to trade him. (Noting, of course, that this is a time/place thing.)
Allen was a super player and Cookie Rojas a serviceable infielder; Flood a great centerfielder with an OK bat; McCarver an athletic catcher in his prime who had two very good seasons in part-time play. It ended up being Montanez instead, who had a couple nice seasons for the Phils but who paled in comparison to Allen of course. It’s better than Giles for Rincon, but it ain’t pretty.

-He had no problems in St Louis and liked the club/town.

1971
-Traded to LA in the Ted Sizemore deal.
-At that time, Ted Sizemore was a highly prized player. He earned the 1969 Rookie of the Year Award by hitting .271 and playing good defense. Rather than running into a sophomore slump, Sizemore followed that up by hitting .306, and that is the point in his career when this trade took place. Sizemore was also only 25, over three years younger than Allen. On October 7th, the Cardinals traded Allen for Sizemore.(CW)
COMMENTARY: This deal is lopsided, despite Wright’s analysis. Schoendienst pegs the Cardinals as making the deal because Julian Javier was too old and had to be replaced, while the Cards had Allen and Torre to play first as well as the younger Joe Hague who had come off a pretty good year at Louisville. It’s a lousy trade. Given how many corner types they had, and with Simmons pushing Torre permanently out from the plate, I’m not sure it’s a dump so much as a pre-emptive trade of convenience.

COMING SOON PART II---THE AL YEARS
   135. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 09, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2133507)
PART II---THE AL YEARS, PLUS SUMMARY STUFF

1972
-Traded to Chicago Sox for Tommy John.
COMMENT: 29 year old pitcher with great control and good ERA+s for 30 year old slugger with troubling personality. Actually, I think the Dodgers did pretty well. John gave them two 200+ inning seasons and ERA+s of 116, 111, 132 before the famous injury. That’s not chopped liver. Then after the injury, John went 110, 138, 106 in three 200+ seasons before going to the Yankees for the second half of his career…. Anyway, John was not a bad haul. He was no Dick Allen, however, and the Sox got monster production from Allen.

-Wins MVP nearly unanimously.
-Chuck Tanner: “He was my co-manager.”(BEB)
COMMENT: I’m not issuing any credit here.

1973
-February: signs three-year contract for $250,000, making him the game’s highest paid player ever. (BL)
COMMENT: And we know how that affects perceptions! (ARod, Belle)

-Ridiculed Tanner and three teammates in the press. (POG)
-Voluntarily retired to force a trade. (POG)
COMMENT: Bill has the wrong year here; it was 1974. Wright’s piece suggests that the forcing-a-trade scenario is BS—see below—and that a chronic shoulder injury was the real reason Allen wanted to hang it up. Nothing to analyze here.

1974
-Feuded with Ron Santo. (BEB)
COMMENT: Not corroborated elsewhere; not what we’re looking for.

-Walked off club on September 13th. (BEB)
-Gave no reason for walk off.(BL)
-“But his shoulder had been bothering him, and the pain expanded into his back. He continued to play for about three weeks but hit only .214 in that period, and, more alarming, all his hits were singles. On September 13th, Dick Allen announced his retirement.”(CW)
-“`He had a meeting with Chuck and me. He was very sincere about retiring. I knew he was having some physical problems, I talked him out of retiring [officially]. I told him that if he did that and changed his mind later, he would be ineligible to play for the first 42 days of the season. Let us put you on the restricted list, and that's what we did.’"(Roland Hemond in CW)
COMMENT: The big thing here, which I didn’t paste in, was that Allen preferred retirement to going on the DL. He claimed that the press would crucify him as a malingerer if he went on the DL, or if he simply sat on the bench for a month. He had frequently mentioned retirement during previous troubles, so it’s probably not surprising to see him finally do it. So, if he’s “retiring” because he wanted a trade, then maybe you take away some credit for the time he chose to miss. Using the same process as with 1969, he misses about 15 RC or 1.5 Wins or 4.5 BWS in the 20 games he sat out. Or if you see this as injury, you just do nothing.

-Sold to Atlanta, where he didn’t want to play. (BEB)
-Retires instead of play for Braves. (BL)
COMMENT: Never batted for them. Nothing here.

1975
-Rich Ashburn and others coaxed him out of retirement to play for the Phils. (BEB)
-“Some have suggested that everywhere Allen went his team eventually wised up and didn't want him around anymore. But they never explain how he ended up back in Philadelphia. Dick certainly was no stranger to them. The front office had shuffled a bit, but it was essentially the same people who had dealt with Allen in 1969. The Carpenter family still owned the team. Bill Giles had moved up from GM to executive VP, Paul Owens had gone from Farm Director to GM, and Dallas Green had gone from Assistant Farm Director to Director of Scouting. Their manager, Danny Ozark, had been Dick Allen's coach during his year in LA. The contingent that went to Allen's farm to talk him out of retirement was led by Richie Ashburn, who broadcast the Phillies games during Allen's whole prior career. (As a player, Ashburn had also been the friend and roommate of Frank Thomas.) They knew all they would ever need to know about this guy.”(CW)

1976
-Ripped Phils management for not putting a friend on the October roster and threatens not to play in the playoffs. (POG)
-September 26: Dick Allen jumps the team to protest Tony Taylor’s exclusion from postseason roster. (BL)
-Allen did threaten not to play, saying that they could take his uniform as well. By speaking up, Allen brought about a compromise that seemed fairer to everyone; Taylor would be in uniform in post-season play as a coach.(CW)
COMMENT: Unclear to know whether Allen was serious in his threat not to play, but since he did play, I’m not sure we can do much with this.

-Phils have two separate victory celebrations. The main one in the clubhouse, one behind the close trainer’s room door for Allen and friends. (POG)
-"I'll tell you what happened [with that party story]. We clinched in Montreal, winning the first game of a doubleheader. I didn't play the regulars during the second game. While the game was going on, they had a little party back in the clubhouse -- I think some even had a prayer meeting. It was no big deal. I knew about it. It was okay with me. It was okay with Carpenter [Club President] and Owens [GM] who were at the game.(CW)
COMMENT: Nothing within the purview of this post.

1977
-Stormed off team when they tried to make him a DH. (BEB)
COMMENT: By this time in his career, he was done and no one cared. It was just another retirement.


General comments from James and Wright
-“He did more to keep his teams from winning than anybody who ever played baseball.”
-“Never did anything to help his team win.”
-James also quotes KC’s GM in the early 1970s as claiming that the Royals “Wouldn’t pay the waiver price” for Allen. Which leads James to ask:
-“Did he have value?”
-“Did he help his teams win?”

-“There have been some analysts who suggest that Allen didn't help the team at all in 1969. They point to the fact that the Phillies had their longest winning streak of the year while Allen was suspended. What they don't mention about that winning streak is that nearly half the wins came against Montreal, the new expansion team that lost 110 games, and that shortly after that streak -- still without Allen -- they lost 7 in a row. Despite playing Montreal nine times in those 31 games, they were only 13-18 during Dick's suspension. That is hardly a strong endorsement that they were a better team without him. I asked Bob Skinner if he ever felt his 1969 team was better off without Dick.(CW)
In assessing Allen's professional career, there is no excuse for Allen's transgressions in 1969. Regardless of how desperate or how justified Allen may have been in trying to reach his personal goal, it doesn't change the fact that those actions negatively affected the team. But I think we do need to ask, as historians, if we are assessing the damage in a realistic manner, and if we are unfairly projecting that negative effect into the evaluation of the rest of his career.”(CW)

-“He had little grasp of the hierarchy of group management, how it works and what it requires. Dick sincerely felt that everyone should be treated at a personal level under any and all circumstances. Given his unusual philosophy, at some point every manager was going to do something out of the innocent necessity of his job that would be seen as a hurtful betrayal from Dick's perspective. That naturally made Dick a tougher player to manage.”(CW)

-"I guess it's because we were ballplayers, and that's how we would judge him first. There's always going to be some guy who has trouble with the rules. Look, I played with and against him, and on the field he gave 110%. He was ready for the game, and he played it to the max. It wasn't just raw talent either. He knew how to play; he had an instinct for this game. We knew that if everyone played the way he did, there wouldn't be many losses. That's what mattered to us. If he gave it to us on the field and he was late getting to the park, that wasn't such a big deal to us."(Pat Coralles in CW)

-“’He helped other players. He liked to help the young guys. He helped Mike Schmidt more than anyone.’”(danny Ozark in CW)
COMMENTARY: Supported by the BEB in which Schmidt alludes to his idolization of Allen.

SUMMARY
Well, it depends on how you read the various sources, but these are the possible places you could deduct from Allen:
1) 1969 suspension: about 7-8 WS.
2) 1974 “retirement”: about 5 WS.
3) Various trades: I don’t know how to begin figuring that. Nor whether one ought to.

The 1969 suspension is very clearly in play. The 1974 injury retirement seems plausible enough to make me skeptical that I should treat it differently from a DL stint.

The trades are a wholly other matter. I think one can safely say that Allen’s market value was not terribly high. I think his behavior probably did force the Phils to deal him, and to do so for less than market value, as James suggested. But in the subsequent deals, I can find very little in these sources which shed any light on why he was dealt. With the Cardinals there’s no on-field incidences, no clubhouse trouble reported, nothing. I think it’s possible that the team was trying to fill holes and did so with the rental guy who they didn’t feel all that attached to anyway. Wright’s piece suggests that Allen’s unwillingness to make public appearances and conform to the Dodger Image™ made him a target to be traded. Either way, both of these appear to be elective trades, not gun-to-the-head deals like the Flood trade. In which case, I’m not sure I’m willing to say Allen should be docked for an elective trade in which a GM fails to get equal value. And it’s not like the teams got peanuts either, they got good players, one of whom was a 25 year old who just hit .306 back when that meant something; the other a solid, almost All-Star level pitcher with good stuff who’d been an All Star in 1968 and finished three times among the top five in ERA.

But that said, how do you even go about deducting credit for a trade? How many years out do you evaluate? Especially when some guys are subsequently traded? Or become free agents? I don’t know the answer. I do know that 1969 is probably the one I would consider docking him for.

But then there’s this question too. Is it double penalizing a guy to dock him for stuff that never happened? The holes in Allen’s resume speak very loudly for themselves. I think it’s possibly overkill to start pulling Win Shares off of him for bad behavior. What then about Arky Vaughan’s famous move of giving back his uniform to Durocher? Do you subtract all the WS he missed out on? Isn’t that just as bad? What about Robin Yount piddling away his time to think whether he wanted to be a pro golfer instead?

The further I look into this morass, the more I see problems in giving players demerits. Their record, with its gaps is their record. Allen’s is more impressive than about 15850 guys who played the game…and that’s with the self-imposed exiles.
   136. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 09, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2133509)
Yes Allen put up the same numbers in fewer ABs; that's why his rate stats are better. But over their careers, Howard had comparable production.

Well, I guess I'm not big on using counting stats. We could bring Dave Kingman into the discussion, taking that point to absurdity.
   137. sunnyday2 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2133529)
B. Williams, Sewell, Kiner, Pierce, Minoso.

Who?

Top 10 players who were traded.

And Torre, too.

How much should we deduct for them? Depending I suppose on why they were traded and what their owners got for them....
   138. cseadog Posted: August 09, 2006 at 06:07 PM (#2133553)
SSU, you're making my point which is that counting stats are undervalued here. As for rate stats, I'll see you Kingman and raise you Ken Phelps.
   139. Dizzypaco Posted: August 09, 2006 at 06:12 PM (#2133557)
B. Williams, Sewell, Kiner, Pierce, Minoso.

Who?

Top 10 players who were traded.


Thanks Sunnyday, you proved my point perfectly. You showed how rare it is for an all time great to be frequently traded in the middle of their careers. It almost never happens.

Lets look at your list:
Billy Williams was traded once, at the end of his career in 1974, when he was 36 years old and basicly finished.
Joe Sewell was also traded once, in 1931, when he was 32 and coming off his worst season.
Ralph Kiner was also traded once, in 1953, when his career was generally over.
Billy Pierce was traded once after his career got going, in 1962 when he was 35 and his career was wrapping up.
Minnie Minoso was traded a couple of times, but one of those times was for a guy named Early Wynn, so I think its safe to say the deal wasn't made because the team couldn't stand Minoso.

In each of these five cases, the teams kept these players until either their careers were almost over or they got something remarkable in exchange. In none of these cases were teams trading these players just to get rid of them during their primes.

Remember, Allen wasn't just traded once - he was traded year after year, in his prime, for guys that were obviously not as good. There had to be a reason for it.
   140. OCF Posted: August 09, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2133559)
Top 10 players who were traded.

And Torre, too.


Torre was traded straight up for Orlando Cepeda in the 1968-69 offseason. From the St. Louis point of view that was a real shocker. Cepeda was just a year away from his 1967 MVP season, and he was still only 31. Cepeda was perceived as one of the central players on a team that had just won back-to-back pennants; you don't see such players shipped out very often. Torre was two and a half years younger than Cepeda - of course, since Torre had spent much of that time catching, he had also accumulated more wear and tear on his body (counterbalanced by Cepeda's bad knees.)

Despite his relatively young age, Cepeda didn't have all that much left in the tank, and Torre would go on to have his own MVP year in St. Louis. In hindsight, it looks like a smart trade for the Cardinals.

Then when Torre was a little older and about to run down himself, the Cardinals closed the circle by trading him for (in part) Ray Sadecki. That's right, Sadecki, whom they had traded for Cepeda in the first place.
   141. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2133573)
Torre was traded straight up for Orlando Cepeda in the 1968-69 offseason.

That deal was 100% caused by Torre's holding out against receiving the maximim 20% pay cut from Braves' GM Paul Richards, who was essentially punishing Torre for being a MLBPA leader.
   142. JPWF13 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:05 PM (#2133601)
Yes Allen put up the same numbers in fewer ABs; that's why his rate stats are better. But over their careers, Howard had comparable production.


No he didn't, he had comparable counting stats- you can't de-link "production" from the rate at which they are accumulated
Frank Howard had a WARP 3 of 72.7
Allen was 94.9

Howard had 7346 PAs and made 4992 outs and scored and drove in 1983 runs (.397 per out).
Allen had 7295 PAs and made 4772 outs and scored and drove in 2218 runs (.468 per out).

Saying they were "comparable" is not wrong, but it's misleading, they were comparable but Allen was better- simply saying they were comparable makes it seem like you are saying Howard was as good as Allen- or his production was equivalent- it wasn't.
   143. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:18 PM (#2133611)
Other highly regarded (some even great) players who were traded in mid-career (and trying not to include free-agent dumps: ??? means I don't recall if it was an FA dump or not):

Rogers Hornsby
Frankie Frisch
Rickey Henderson
Mike Piazza????
Willie McCovey
Gary Carter
Keith Hernandez
Elmer Flick
Rusty Staub
Fred McGriff
Ozzie Smith
Frank Robinson
Tris Speaker
Tony Perez
Graig Nettles
Darrell Evans
Rabbit Maranville
Luis Aparicio
Babe Ruth (well, sold)
Ted Simmons (coming off a 142 OPS+ but cratered after)
Mickey Vernon
Roberto Alomar
Buddy Bell
Julio Franco
Goose Goslin
Frank Howard
Joe Medwick
Dave Parker
Joe Cronin
Wes Ferrell
Hal Baines
Billy Herman
Ken Griffey Jr.???
Jose Canseco
Gary Sheffield???
Jim Thome
Alex Rodriguez
Matt Williams
Rocky Colavito
George Foster
Bobby Murcer
Jack Clark
Jim Edmonds???
Luis Gonzalez
Reggie Smith
Kenny Lofton???
Chuck Knoblauch???
George J Burns

Good list full of guys.
   144. Dizzypaco Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#2133633)
Other highly regarded (some even great) players who were traded in mid-career (and trying not to include free-agent dumps: ??? means I don't recall if it was an FA dump or not):

This completely misses the point. Lots of players get traded. Lots of good players get traded. No one holds it against someone if they get traded for what is perceived to be equal value.

If you want to make a relevant list, you need to list players traded several times, during their prime, all for what are probably inferior players, and in which salary or impending free agency are not issues. Rogers Hornsby makes that list. Any others?
   145. Mark Donelson Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:35 PM (#2133638)
in which salary or impending free agency are not issues.

Can we be 100% sure salary wasn't an issue (or part of it) sometimes with Allen? I've never heard it was, but then I never knew he was ever the highest-paid player in the game before this discussion, either.
   146. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#2133659)
Remember, Allen wasn't just traded once - he was traded year after year, in his prime, for guys that were obviously not as good. There had to be a reason for it.

Lots of players get traded. Lots of good players get traded. No one holds it against someone if they get traded for what is perceived to be equal value.

Ok, but so what? Unless the argument is that teams don't make mistakes or that these teams didn't make a mistake, it's irrelevant whether or not he was traded for two pez dispensers and a left-handed corkscrew.

Again, Wade Boggs was available to anyone who wanted to pay his waiver fee (or something like that). Every team passed. Does this mean that Wade Boggs had not been an excellent hitter? Or does it mean that two dozen teams made a mistake in evaluating his talent?

Likewise, a number of teams traded away Dick Allen without getting much back in return. This may well indicate that those teams thought he was too much of a pain in the ass. Let's go so far as to assume it does. So what? Perhaps that just means that those teams misevaluated his talent, overvaluing something (clubhouse unity) and undervaluing another (offensive talent) to an extent that they made a clearly wrong choice.

I'm not saying that Dick Allen was or wasn't a clubhouse distraction. I'm not saying that his being traded isn't evidence that he was. I'm saying that teams clearly make mistakes all the time -- perhaps this is one of those times.
   147. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2133664)
Can we be 100% sure salary wasn't an issue (or part of it) sometimes with Allen? I've never heard it was, but then I never knew he was ever the highest-paid player in the game before this discussion, either.

Allen only became the highest-paid player in the game when he was with the White Sox, following his tremendous 1972 MVP season. Before that, there were always quite a few other players with higher salaries.

Neither the Phillies, Cardinals, or Dodgers unloaded him for financial reasons.
   148. Daryn Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#2133667)
Remember, Allen wasn't just traded once - he was traded year after year, in his prime, for guys that were obviously not as good. There had to be a reason for it.


Is there something wrong with this guy? His teams made the playoffs 5 out of 6 years between 2000 and 2005. To be fair, he hasn't been traded since 1999:

1998 30 CIN NL 135 481 83 129 18 6 14 59 20 9 51 137 .268 .346 .418
1999 31 SDP NL 133 478 92 136 24 7 26 72 36 13 65 108 .285 .376 .527
2000 32 ATL NL 103 340 43 79 23 1 11 37 21 4 32 78 .232 .302 .403
2001 33 ARI NL 126 441 84 116 21 3 33 90 14 10 46 126 .263 .337 .549
2002 34 SFG NL 140 505 75 126 23 6 23 85 18 6 47 121 .250 .324 .455
2003 35 PIT NL 130 453 74 129 27 4 31 87 15 5 38 110 .285 .345 .567
2004 36 STL NL 135 446 64 116 27 3 22 67 21 5 33 118 .260 .315 .482
2005 37 STL NL 93 295 49 80 14 2 21 54 14 1 28 75 .271 .340 .546
2006 38 KCR AL
   149. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2133671)
I'm in no position to say whether or not Allen really was a distraction in the clubhouse or not. For the sake of argument, despite the Craig Wright-quoted testimonial of Allen's managers, I'll assume he was a horrific clubhouse presence. So what?

Let's say it came out that the real reason Allen was traded each time was because he was a bad bunter. (I certainly assume major league teams would be in a better position than the rest of us to evaluate his ability to bunt). Would this this implied testimonial regarding his inability to bunt make us reevaluate his tangible contributions? Possibly, but I submit that it would also likely make most of us wonder if teams had their heads up their collective asses, making bad trades because they misunderstood how important his ability to bunt was. I submit that the same sort of "is it possible they cut their nose off to spite their face" question be asked in regards to his trades for clubhouse reasons.
   150. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2133673)
If you want to make a relevant list, you need to list players traded several times, during their prime, all for what are probably inferior players, and in which salary or impending free agency are not issues. Rogers Hornsby makes that list. Any others?

No, there are no others. Hornsby is the only other player in history who is remotely comparable to Allen in this regard -- and, interestingly, Hornsby's case is remarkably similar. The Cardinals got Frisch and Jimmy Ring for Hornsby, which was a reasonably fair exchange, but following that both the Giants and the Braves quickly dumped Hornsby for token payments. Hornsby's mode of disagreeable personality was different from Allen's, but the degree to which they combined brilliant play with enormous aggravation, and the manner in which team after team rapidly came to the same conclusion that the package just wasn't worth keeping, was just about exactly the same. The two cases stand alone in baseball history.
   151. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: August 09, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2133674)
SSU, you're making my point which is that counting stats are undervalued here. As for rate stats, I'll see you Kingman and raise you Ken Phelps.

I've noticed that too, in these parts rate stats are more highly thought of than counting stats.

Which do I prefer? Both. We are talking about Baseball's highest honor here.
   152. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2133677)
Is there something wrong with this guy? His teams made the playoffs 5 out of 6 years between 2000 and 2005.

Sanders's and Allen's cases aren't remotely similar.
   153. Daryn Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:03 PM (#2133685)
Of course not, Steve. Why are you so angry?
   154. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:03 PM (#2133686)
Two other historical cases bear some similarity to Hornsby and Allen: Bobo Newsom and Bobby Bonds. The differences are pretty large, though: both Newsom and Bonds were considered strong personalities, but neither was really disliked, and both were repeatedly traded for big return packages, and not really "dumped."
   155. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:05 PM (#2133688)
Why are you so angry?

I'm not angry in the least; I sincerely apologize if I come across that way. I'm immensely enjoying this excellent discussion.
   156. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#2133691)
Heck, let's say it was found out that Dick Allen was gay -- each new team traded him when they found out to another unsuspecting team (we'll ignore the Phillies' reacquisition of him) -- and that the real reason that he was such a "clubhouse distraction" was the homophobia of his teammates, managers, and owners. Would this lessen his contributions on the field? Would this make us think he was a bad clubhouse presence? Or would we view this as a mark against his teams, that they opted to weaken their teams rather than accept him for who he was?

This argument may imply that I'm making him out to be a saint. Let's say in addition to being gay he's not a nice guy, if not quite the ####### that he's now believed to be -- think "Jeff Kent" rather than "Barry Bonds" -- but that the trades are at least 90% about about his homosexuality, rather than his jerkiness. Again, how would we view the clubs' actions?
   157. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2133692)
My point: at what point do the clubs bear the responsibility for simply making dumb trades?
   158. BDC Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2133695)
Alex Johnson comes to mind, too, though he was not nearly as good a player as Allen, and so nearer in value to the (many) players he got traded for.
   159. Daryn Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2133697)
Doyle Alexander was a guy who was traded 7 times, often amidst rumblings of him being a sourpuss. Nice career nonetheless. He was my favourite player in 1987, and I don't even like the Tigers.
   160. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2133704)
My point: at what point do the clubs bear the responsibility for simply making dumb trades?

It's a great point; the wisdom of the trades is certainly a relevant question. But it is impossible, at some deep level, to separate his teams' obvious desire to get rid of him, and the bargaining position that put them in.

The Phillies' 1969 trade of Allen was hugely forced upon them by him, and under those circumstances they actually got a pretty good haul for him.

The Cardinals really were overloaded at first base/third base, and so their desire to decide to trade Allen is sensible. But Ted Sizemore? Come on. That very day everyone in the country saw it as a giveaway.

And similarly, the Dodgers had a logjam, and somebody had to go. And Tommy John was okay, but again, at the time the deal wasn't seen as a truly even talent-for-talent exchange.
   161. Dizzypaco Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2133706)
My point: at what point do the clubs bear the responsibility for simply making dumb trades?

So your assumption is that either GMs around 1970 were all pretty dumb, and/or they had a really bad reason for trading him, such as that he was gay. I don't think these are good assumptions.

If the GMs were all trading Allen for what they probably perceived to be equal value, and the trades just didn't work out, you might have a point. I don't think this is what happened. I think they knew that Allen was a great hitter, but that he was perceived as causing major problems for the teams, and the GMs were willing to accept what they understood to be inferior talent in exchange.

And I think this is relevant in evaluating his career.
   162. sunnyday2 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#2133718)
The ultimate point or question is, I think, How does Dick Allen's history of being trraded impact the way he should be evaluated and ranked on a HoM ballot?

Let's say that Steve and the late Harvey are right: There is no parallel other than Rogers Hornsby, and it reflects poorly on how Allen was valued.

(Some may NOT agree, of course. But if they're right, then what?)

Do you assume that the fact that his employers de-valued him is an accurate assessment? And if yes (again), does that suggest that we should de-value him here? And if so, how much?

Is 10 percent too much, or not enough? 15 percent? 50 percent? 100 percent? For every year of his career, or only for the years in which he was moved?

I don't know that anybody is arguing 100 percent. I think we're more in the 5-10-15 percent range. And I think we're talking about the years in which he was moved, not throughout his entire career.

If we did all of that, then he might drop from #2 on my ballot to, oh, #7-8. Of course, some have him around #7-8 already or not even on your ballot. But those who have him #7-8 or lower or off ballot, well, they've already executed the de-value operation, no? So for the rest of us, the debate is, Is he #2-3-4-5 or is he #7-8-9-10. I think that's the question.

Now, back to the answers.
   163. Jose Canusee Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#2133724)
#37
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.


Not many Richards around nowadays, either. According to http://babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html
Richard was the #5 name (about 1.5% of all babies, presumably including girls) in the 1940's and #27 in the 1980's.
Hence, the 60's were the best days of Dicks (has there even been one since Ruthven?) with Allen leading a squad with Stuart, Dietz, Groat, McAuliffe, Green, Howser, Bosman, Drago, Selma and Radatz (with Williams at the helm).

I pretty much grew up in the Dave generation (with Winfield and Parker leading an all-star cast with Cash, Lopes, Concepcion, Kingman, Johnson, Steib, McNally, Giusti, Stewart, Righetti etc.) Later ones like Cone, Wells, Justice, and Wright go by David instead.

The brief spike of the name Jason in the 1980s suggest that not only are most of the MLB Jasons of all time currently playing, that might also include the future...but for a name that never peaked above #11 in the 80's, how about a cast with Giambi, Schmidt, Bay pulling along Kubel, Bartlett, Isringhausen, Jenning, Johnson, Marquis and their three catchers (Kendall, Varitek, LaRue)
   164. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#2133726)
I think they knew that Allen was a great hitter, but that he was perceived as causing major problems for the teams, and the GMs were willing to accept what they understood to be inferior talent in exchange.

Exactly. Allen's market value was discounted by all the baggage he carried, and it was further discounted by the eagerness exhibited by his sellers.
   165. DL from MN Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2133729)
Harvey, how big does the hall have to be to get your buddies to vote for Dick Allen? Is there ever a hall big enough?
   166. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2133757)
DL:

I don't know. The general consensus on the Hall of Fame is that it should be slimmed down versus have its membership enlarged.

The gist of it is that teams search high and low for Hall of Fame quality players. They have farm systems, general tryouts across the country, go to other countries, etc. in their desire to find a "great" player.

So if you find one that has great ability, and you decide to get rid of him, and so does the next guy, and so does the next GUY after THAT, then is he really a great player after all? Why would teams go to so much effort and expense to find someone like this only to set him by the side of the curb with a "For Sale" sign?

It doesn't make any sense.

I realize that is probably far too "unscientific" for the readers here. But that sums up the general perspective of the bib and overall crowd.

I will write that they would all vote for Dick Allen before Pete Rose. I have convinced them that Rose is a worthless sack of sh*t. Well, except for the hobby farmer who is a semi-retired patent attorney. But what can you expect from a leech on mankind? (Written with great affection)
   167. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2133760)
So your assumption is that either GMs around 1970 were all pretty dumb,

This is too binary a distinction. Teams can all make dumb decisions -- see Wade Boggs's availability in the minors. Just because GMs made a dumb decision on Boggs does not make them dumb. Smart GMs can make dumb decisions too.

and/or they had a really bad reason for trading him, such as that he was gay. I don't think these are good assumptions.

I think you're misunderstanding my point. I'm certainly not saying he was gay (or possessing some other 'unwanted' clubhouse characteristic). I'm granting that he was perceived to be a clubhouse cancer (for the sake of argument) and asking how we know that clubs were right to value his cancerdom as being worth a lot more than his offensive contributions. Let's assume it's clear that he was perceived to be a holy terror in the clubhouse -- why should we also assume that teams were right to give greater weight to that perceived negative over his obvious positives? We'd be more reluctant to assume the clubs were right if the perceived negative quality were something else, so why do we give the clubs such benefit of the doubt in this case?
   168. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2133776)
I'm granting that he was perceived to be a clubhouse cancer (for the sake of argument)

There is no need to qualify with the "for the sake of argument" clause. Rightly or wrongly, whether his teams weighted the issue properly or not, there is no question whatsoever that Allen was actually perceived as a metastacized clubhouse carcinoma. This is a rock-solid historical fact.
   169. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2133779)
If the GMs were all trading Allen for what they probably perceived to be equal value, and the trades just didn't work out, you might have a point.

If a GM trades Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle for a bucket of baseballs, we rightly assume that the GM in question values his players differently than we do -- he wouldn't make the trade if he thought he weren't getting as much as he could -- and yet we can still conclude he was wrong to make the trade.

If a second GM trades Dick Allen for a bucket of baseballs, we rightly assume the same thing: this second GM thinks Dick Allen, the total package, is worth a bucket of baseballs. But WHY can we not think him insane for thinking so? We conclude the first GM is making a mistake -- why not the second one? Just because the first one's decision is made over dollar signs and the second one's decision is made over clubhouse politics, does not mean that the second can't be just as wrong as the first.
   170. cseadog Posted: August 09, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2133783)
JPWF, you're missing the point. I never claimed that Allen wasn't better than Howard. We know that Allen's rate of production was better than Howard's. My point is that over the course of their careers what they actually produced (not were cabable of producing) was comparable. That's a weakness for Allen.

That having been said, you did make a different point. You included runs scored. Allen SCORED many more runs Howard. In this respect Allen is also superior to Howard.
   171. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2133792)
I'm granting that he was perceived to be a clubhouse cancer (for the sake of argument)

There is no need to qualify with the "for the sake of argument" clause. Rightly or wrongly, whether his teams weighted the issue properly or not, there is no question whatsoever that Allen was actually perceived as a metastacized clubhouse carcinoma. This is a rock-solid historical fact.
Who perceived him to be a clubhouse cancer? The Craig Wright article seems to suggest that possibly neither Allen's managers nor his teammates viewed him as such. His owners/GMs likely did, the media likely did, the fans likely did... but at what point does an outsider's perception outweigh the insiders'?

If I convince all casual fans (but no one inside his clubhouse) that Chris Truby is a clubhouse cancer, does that make it right to say "he is perceived to be a clubhouse cancer?" I'm not sure that it would be an accurate to say so; hence, my qualifying statement in regards to Allen. I know he was perceived to be a cancer by the people who did not have to play with him -- but I don't know that he was perceived to be one by the people who did, and I don't know whether the first is sufficient to warrant describing him as being perceived to be a clubhouse cancer in the absence of the second.
   172. Dizzypaco Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#2133802)
Who perceived him to be a clubhouse cancer? The Craig Wright article seems to suggest that possibly neither Allen's managers nor his teammates viewed him as such. His owners/GMs likely did, the media likely did, the fans likely did... but at what point does an outsider's perception outweigh the insiders'?

So you believe that Allen was a swell guy who always did his best to help his team win, and was just misunderstood?
   173. BDC Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:16 PM (#2133816)
"Clubhouse cancer" to some implies that the cancerous fellow devides or demoralizes his teammates; or, alternatively, that he's hugely popular because he sells them hard-to-obtain drugs. It's more likely that Allen became a hot potato because one never knew when he would put his hand through a headlight, write weird things in the dirt, space out, or simply vanish. Different form of cancer, same effect.
   174. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:17 PM (#2133817)
Who perceived him to be a clubhouse cancer? The Craig Wright article seems to suggest that possibly neither Allen's managers nor his teammates viewed him as such.

Craig Wright is a terrific analyst who's done lots of great work over the years, but that article is a bad joke. A far, far better source on Allen is the great work of William Kashatus.

Allen drove plenty of his teammates nuts, and more than a couple of his managers. To imagine that this isn't true, that Allen is simply a victim of oversensitive owners/GMs and biased sportswriters, is to miss the boat by a mile.
   175. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:18 PM (#2133820)
Who perceived him to be a clubhouse cancer? The Craig Wright article seems to suggest that possibly neither Allen's managers nor his teammates viewed him as such. His owners/GMs likely did, the media likely did, the fans likely did... but at what point does an outsider's perception outweigh the insiders'?

So you believe that Allen was a swell guy who always did his best to help his team win, and was just misunderstood?

No, though I'm glad you at least asked before jumping to that conclusion. Just because I question the accepted conventional wisdom does NOT mean that I disagree with the accepted conventional wisdom. Just because I don't say "he was a cancer" does not mean that I am saying "he wasn't a cancer," nor (as you seem to be suggesting) does it mean that I'm saying "he was a prince among men." There are more numbers than 1 and 0, more positions for a switch than off and on, and more room for the evaluation of players than saint and cancer. And I'm not even saying he wasn't a cancer. I'm more than happy to assume (despite the Craig Wright evidence) that he was and move on.
   176. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2133824)
regarding 171

there's a certain kind of echo here of manny ramirez, isn't there? the press is all over manny for peeing wherever, for chatting up enrique wilson, for not running out pops and grounders. but have his teammates said squat about him? doesn't he get all kinds of hugs and high fives in the dugout?

not as extreme, i know, but somehow reminiscent.

as to the trades. do they have any relevance to his onfield value? just wondering because I don't have a clue if they do quite yet.

also, with zero reports of trouble during his STL and LA stints, is it possible that he was not run out of town? seems very possible to me. of course it also seems possible that those GMs wanted to move him BEFORE something bad happened not because it had. That's an elective decision, not a back-to-the-wall trade like 1969. His prior problems (not current ones) might have lowered his value, true. In which instance, one could strongly argue that other GMs around the league had not done their homework and should have made better offers for Allen if he was on the block.

Sunny, he'd have to have big, big demerits to get run down from the top of my ballot to #5-7. He laps the 1983 field as is, and a couple little discounts wouldn't do enough to make him fall that much.
   177. karlmagnus Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:21 PM (#2133827)
Why can't both the insiders and outsiders be right? Allen appears to have been a reasoanbly friendly guy, great at what he did, worked hard most of the time, only got drunk occasionally, and backed teammates on the field. Thus his teammates and field manager liked him (as they all appear to have done, more or less -- much more so than Hornsby.) At the same time he was an aggressive loudmouthed clubhouse lawyer, always ######## about his deal, whining about management, presenting an obnoxious image to fans, rude to journalists and refusing to carry his share in PR they wanted him to do (probably worse than Hornsby in this respect.) Thus "management" would hate him and get rid of him as soon as possible, and casual fans/journos would also dislike him.

However, if both were true, he wouldn't "hurt his clubs" at all, as Dr. Chaleeko has pointed out -- the team on the field would get full value out of him. His only adverse effect would be on the clubs' bottom line (no nice PR with superstar, fewer bums on seats, poorer TV contract, etc.)

By HOM criteria, there should be no discount in this case, and Allen's clearly in by a modest margin except for extreme counting-stat types. Even the "moral 1 year delay" wouldn't apply -- there's nothing immoral about being obnoxious.

My guess is, that's the right picture, but we'll never really know.
   178. karlmagnus Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:25 PM (#2133830)
Manny's the Boston press, prompted by the evil Lucchino. It's become clear this year that he's a strange personality but a generally stand-up guy. Assuming no bad stuff comes out, I can't believe even the siller journos who vote will have any hesitation in putting him the HOF unless he falls off a cliff tomorrow and 50 players hit 500 homers in the next 10 years.

MANNY! (brings out the 56 year old fanboy in me!)
   179. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:29 PM (#2133833)
zero reports of trouble during his STL and LA stints

Not true in LA. Allen got into major hot water with Dodger management by refusing to make the periodic fan-event public appearances his teammates made.
   180. RobertMachemer Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:31 PM (#2133835)
regarding 171

there's a certain kind of echo here of manny ramirez, isn't there? the press is all over manny for peeing wherever, for chatting up enrique wilson, for not running out pops and grounders. but have his teammates said squat about him? doesn't he get all kinds of hugs and high fives in the dugout?

not as extreme, i know, but somehow reminiscent.

Indeed, though perhaps Carl Everett is the more analogous player of recent years. But yeah, with both the Sox players, my perception (for whatever that's worth) is that the media made a lot bigger deal out of their being cancerous than their teammates ever have. I can certainly imagine a situation in which Dick Allen was treated similarly.

Again, really, I'm happy to concede he was likely a jerk if it's important to people for me to concede that, but I certainly think there's room for doubt in that regard (or at least room for ambiguity for the sorts of reasons karlmagnus brings up) and I definitely think there's room to say, "So what?" in regards to his alleged jerkiness.
   181. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:33 PM (#2133840)
My guess is, that's the right picture, but we'll never really know.

It pretty much sums up my view of Allen. He was probably the kind of guy who's a blast to have a beer with, but the day you depend on him to do anything for you, he'll piss you off royally. We all know people like this, who are chronically adolescent.
   182. BDC Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2133842)
his [...] field manager liked him

Gene Mauch did not "like" Richie Allen in any sense except being gentleman enough not to trash him in an interview conducted many, many years later. They were at each other's throats most of the time (as Steve mentioned, see William Kashatus's writing on Allen and the Phillies, including the book September Swoon).
   183. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#2133850)
That Craig Wright fell for so many of the whoppers people told him many years later, and couldn't see the difference between factual truth and people not wanting to make waves in water that was long past the bridge, is amazing.
   184. DL from MN Posted: August 09, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2133856)
Why does baseball have more problems with guys like this where basketball and football seem to do fine with players like Dennis Rodman and Terrell Owens? I've also noticed that teams love to fine guys like this - take away their paycheck but still benefit from the wins.
   185. JPWF13 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 10:18 PM (#2133897)
Why does baseball have more problems with guys like this where basketball and football seem to do fine with players like Dennis Rodman and Terrell Owens?


I would love to have seen Dennis Rodman be Dennis Rodman- in the 1960s
   186. sunnyday2 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 10:24 PM (#2133907)
>So you believe that Allen was a swell guy who always did his best to help his team win, and was just misunderstood?

I need more propping up than this!

(Signed) Straw Man
   187. jingoist Posted: August 09, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2133909)
I think Dick Allen missed his calling: he should have played an individual sport, like tennis or golf,
There, especially tennis, his tantrums would have been equated with those of Connors and McEnroe and their occurance would not adversely affected any team mates.

But he unfortunately chose baseball - or it chose him, as his well-honed skills alllowed him to succeed/exceed at the MLB level - a team sport for which there are certain penalties for poor behavior and general boorishness that are born by the entire team and not just the fellow exhibiting such behavior.

Dick Allen had great talent; he let it shine through numerous times but his internal boogeymen caused himself and his teams much distress. For that he must be judged as it relates to enabling his teams to have great chemistry and exceed their pythag expectations.

He reminds me somewhat of Duane Thomas, the spectatctular running back from the Cowboys of the early 70's who had his own share of difficulties playing a " game controlled and run by rich white men" in a time when many players were beginning to challange the status quo of professional sports and the value propositions that drive them im America.

Was Dick Allen "all that he could be"? No way, not even close.
Whose fault is that; his or the sport/system/times in which he happened to play?

Hard to say which is to blame.

Like I said, too bad Dick didn't have the opportunity to channel his talents into a sport like tennis and golf (almost impossible for a black man growing up in he 1950's to do) as he would then be judged by the ramifications of his outbursts and his on-court/on-course results.
   188. sunnyday2 Posted: August 09, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2133912)
>Sunny, he'd have to have big, big demerits to get run down from the top of my ballot to #5-7. He laps the 1983 field as is, and a couple little discounts wouldn't do enough to make him fall that much.

Great, thanks, Doc. I'm just trying to find out what the stakes are here (besides the pecking order).
   189. Steve Treder Posted: August 09, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#2133917)
Like I said, too bad Dick didn't have the opportunity to channel his talents into a sport like tennis and golf (almost impossible for a black man growing up in he 1950's to do)

Well, there was boxing. Allen would have been one hell of a light heavyweight, quick on his feet and packing a wallop of a punch.

Your observation is smack on: Allen was a natural prima donna in a situation in which prima donna behavior wasn't tolerated.

Until Chuck Tanner came along, of course. I made the argument in an article in Nine a couple of years ago that the Allen-Tanner relationship, and the great success they enjoyed together in 1972, was hugely influential, and changed forever the nature of what kind of behavior from star jocks would be tolerated, and considered appropriate.
   190. Mister High Standards Posted: August 09, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#2133956)
there is any evidence that Allen's being a pain in the neck and even a bad guy actually affected his team's play.


Memo to the goofball... their are many types of evidence. Statistical, being one of them. However it isn't the only type. A lot of evidence has been presented in this thread. You have po-po'd it because it doesn't fit your model. That means your model is flawed, and your perspective. Not the evidence.

Personally I think Allen should go in the HOM, based on the precident that it seems to have develeped into a poll to find the 230 (or whathave you) players who had the best statistics, with certain career end points.
   191. DavidFoss Posted: August 09, 2006 at 11:58 PM (#2134023)
Your observation is smack on: Allen was a natural prima donna in a situation in which prima donna behavior wasn't tolerated.

I imagine teammate interactions were more important back then as well. Today's players don't share hotel rooms and usually don't share agents. They make a lot more money today and also get larger per diem allowances. It may be easier for the difficult personality to isolate themselves today than it used to be.

Of course, before the air travel, there were the long train rides the team would take together that must have been cozy. Those were days were gone by Allen's day.
   192. Steve Treder Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2134040)
Today's players don't share hotel rooms and usually don't share agents.

In Allen's day the vast majority of players didn't even have agents.

You're right; the dynamic of player-to-player relationships was undoubtedly a whole lot different before free agency and big money came into the picture.
   193. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:30 AM (#2134127)
Why does baseball have more problems with guys like this where basketball and football seem to do fine with players like Dennis Rodman and Terrell Owens? I've also noticed that teams love to fine guys like this - take away their paycheck but still benefit from the wins.

Just thinking out loud on this one...

The 1960s baseball scene had tons of men from the following demographic
1) veterans of a foreign war
2) southerners
3) men who'd been raised in religious homes.

That's an atmosphere where heavily enforced conformism might flourish. Look at baseball cards from back then: no facial hair until the late 1960s; nothing but buzz cuts and burrs up top. Remember what silly flap was had when Stump Merrill tried to enforce on Mattingly's hair around 1989ish? It was silly because Stump was doing what he had seen done back in his day, but which was 20 years out of date by then. Or how the Reds were the last holdout for really serious appearance standards. They supposedly hung a poster of a young Woody Williams with his early 1960s looks to show the players what the standards were. And it wasn't until Schott sold her interest or Griffey came along (whichever) that they lifted those restrictive grooming practices.

I always go back to grooming stuff because it's the simplest outward manifestation of a team's or a league's or an era's norms. And it's a decently accurate one. Look at David Stern telling attempting to put a road dress code on NBA players this year. A hopelessly out of date way to tell America that he was being vigilant about rowdy behavior. Anyway, a lot of things in baseball's culture appear from my vantage point to have been designed to stamp out individualism, especially when rumblings about unionizing started in the 60s.

Treder and Diz,

I think there's another guy other than Hornsby and Allen who clearly fits the mold---Jose Canseco. Lots of off-field and on-field chicanary, MVP seasons, several trades, a big mouth, negative press coverage ("a collosal waste of talent" per Gammons), even an eventual blackballing. It's all there.
   194. Steve Treder Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:13 AM (#2134305)
I think there's another guy other than Hornsby and Allen who clearly fits the mold---Jose Canseco. Lots of off-field and on-field chicanary, MVP seasons, several trades, a big mouth, negative press coverage ("a collosal waste of talent" per Gammons), even an eventual blackballing. It's all there.

Good call, Doc. But I do think the differences are pretty significant:

- Canseco, immensely talented as he was, was never in Hornsby's or Allen's class.

- Canseco's trade-o-rama (and free-agency-o-rama) came after his on-field performance had slipped and kept slipping, not when he was still delivering elite performance.
   195. Juan V Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:17 AM (#2134324)
Yeah, but there´s this other thing....
   196. Steve Treder Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:21 AM (#2134346)
I always go back to grooming stuff because it's the simplest outward manifestation of a team's or a league's or an era's norms. And it's a decently accurate one. Look at David Stern telling attempting to put a road dress code on NBA players this year. A hopelessly out of date way to tell America that he was being vigilant about rowdy behavior. Anyway, a lot of things in baseball's culture appear from my vantage point to have been designed to stamp out individualism, especially when rumblings about unionizing started in the 60s.

The grooming issue is huge and fascinating, and you're correct to focus on it. I (humbly) urge you to seek out my article in Nine that engages precisely that issue, along with Allen:

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/nine/toc/nin13.2.html

Whether you read my piece or not, the relationship between grooming standards, grooming policies, and the behavior of athletes is a profoundly interesting question.
   197. DavidFoss Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:35 AM (#2134403)
I always go back to grooming stuff because it's the simplest outward manifestation of a team's or a league's or an era's norms.

The grooming thing affected all of society, not just sports. In the 1950s, college students wore dress clothes to class every day. In the 1970s, they most certainly did not. Group photos in old frat houses are illuminating that way.
   198. Backlasher Posted: August 10, 2006 at 01:40 AM (#2134428)
While he was undoubtedly unhappy with being called "Richie" in Philadelphia, Allen never made a request to the press to be referred to as "Dick" when he was there, nor when he played in St. Louis or in Los Angeles. He was "Richie" through 1971.

It was in the spring of 1972, after having been traded to the White Sox, and after having reported two weeks late to spring training while threatening to retire, that he made the public "call me Dick" request.


1969 or 1970
-Requests that he be known as Dick and not Richie. (BEB)


Clemente was called "Bob" only through about 1965 or so, and then only sometimes.


As I've noted before, Clemente is "Bob" on the 1967 and 1968 Topps cards I have here at home.


Hmmm.
   199. Jeff K. Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:52 AM (#2134699)
Alex Johnson comes to mind, too, though he was not nearly as good a player as Allen, and so nearer in value to the (many) players he got traded for.

I think I've brought this up before, and I think Steve may have corrected me somewhat, but wasn't it fairly well established that Alex had actual mental health issues?
   200. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:05 AM (#2134747)
Let's say that Steve and the late Harvey are right:


That gave me a bit of a scare.
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