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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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   201. Howie Menckel Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:06 AM (#2134756)
Dr. Chaleeko,
I assume that's Woody WOODWARD.
   202. Backlasher Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:11 AM (#2134781)
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?


An arbitrator thought so.
   203. Steve Treder Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:13 AM (#2134784)
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?

It isn't well-established by any means just exactly what was going on with Johnson, but there's no question that his behavioral issues were well beyond the norm of personal disagreements. They were near-exact contemporaries, arriving in the majors in the same season with the same team, but no one at the time really equated their situations. Johnson's situation was really pathological.
   204. Jeff K. Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2134822)
An arbitrator thought so.

I'm working completely on memory from Miller's autobiography (which is where 75% of my knowledge about the Johnson issue comes from), but I thought that the arbitrator's ruling wasn't necessarily a finding of fact, but a "It is reasonable to think that he has these issues, and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his employer taking drastic courses of action like suspending him without pay over and over."

I thought that it was later established that Alex really was mentally ill, but apparently I'm mistaken on that.
   205. Brent Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:47 AM (#2134887)
Dr. Chaleeko (# 134) wrote:

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


You should add the mini-biography in Bill James, The Baseball Book 1990. Compared to POG, it is much longer on facts and much shorter on polemics.

Steve Treder (# 174) wrote:

A far, far better source on Allen is the great work of William Kashatus.

An excellent article by Kashatus on Allen's years with the Phillies is available here. He also wrote a book.
   206. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:52 AM (#2134896)
I've stayed out and read, because I really don't care all that much. I do have a few comments though.

I was asked off list if I was worried that we will (or won't) elect him. My reply:

****

I tend to side with the misunderstood athlete most of the time. I like guys like Sheffield and Manny, etc..

If we do elect him guys like Rauseo are going to call us a bunch of statfreaks. If we don't the statfreaks are going to say that we're letting unclear events sway us. I could really care less either way :-)

****

I think the whole trade thing, that he hurt his teams by making them trade him makes little sense.

So what if he hurts the team that trades him? He's obviously helping the team that gets him for next to nothing right? It's a zero-sum game, and I think the whole discussion along those lines is a red herring.

Let the chips fall where they may. He's not such an overwhelming candidate that he screams for election even without the incidents. And the incidents to me just don't seem like that big of a deal. He was what he was. Some of his teams won, others lost.

Were the Phillies going to the 1969 World Series anyway? I've lived in Philly, I know what types of guys they like, and how miserable they can make it for players they don't like. I don't blame him a bit for trying to get traded, and I don't see how it's his problem or his demerit if the Phillies don't get fair value. Part of building a team is selling the players on buying into it, not making it so miserable for them that they want out.

I will give the Phillie front offices, at least the ones of the last decade anyway, one thing - they can manipulate the fandom like nothing I've ever seen. The baseball front office got the fans to turn on Scott Rolen. The football front office did the same with Owens and the hockey team did it with Lindros. They can play those fans like a fiddle.

But I digress. Philly is a horrible town to play in and Allen wanted out, big deal. It was a time that I don't understand, but athletes were just starting to 'rise up' so to speak. I'm not going to pretend to try to understand it. But I'm also not going to knock a player who produced because he couldn't get along with his management. Dumb management exists all over the world, in every field. Baseball isn't any different.
   207. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:54 AM (#2134899)
BTW, I really liked the timeline, and karl's post #171.
   208. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 04:03 AM (#2134914)
Article? That thing is 41 pages. I will try to read it though. I really want to hear the worst of the worst regarding Allen - to see if it makes a difference. I tend to side with guys like Owens, Allen and Manny, like I said.

BTW, Harvey if you are listening, I'm all ears to your story if you want to share. If you send me an email through the link in my name and tell me about it, I'd really like to know about it. I promise I'll keep it as confidential as you want me to. But maybe it will make a difference for me.
   209. Jeff K. Posted: August 10, 2006 at 04:11 AM (#2134933)
BTW, Harvey if you are listening, I'm all ears to your story if you want to share.

I'll second that, strongly.
   210. ronw Posted: August 10, 2006 at 04:42 AM (#2134953)
This voter (who is considering ALL the evidence, even the intangibles) has Allen #1 on his 1983 ballot.

After considering all of the behavioral material, I just don't see definitive proof one way or the other about the character issues, but it is more likely than not that Allen hurt the team. I don't believe it was as awful as made out to be, however.

Nevertheless, I do see definitive proof in the statistics. When the certainties are combined with the uncertainties, that's enough for me.

Here's the issue that bothers me with this thread. I think Howie feels this way too, but maybe not. Those of us who have been participating in this project for literally a few calendar years bristle a bit when someone tries to claim that we haven't carefully analyzed something. Plus, I find it a little ironic that some of the same people who criticize us for a lack of analysis are the same people who wondered why we even had threads for candidates they didn't feel were worthy. Which is it, we don't analyze enough, or do we analyze too much?

I firmly believe that every longtime voter (and probably anyone who votes) has carefully considered and will carefully consider every ballot placement. Also, remember that we have voters who only vote, and never post. Guys like Esteban Rivera and Ken Fischer perform as much analysis as the more prolific posters.

We have all be subjected to criticism at one time or another, and that is fine, but when we are told as a group that we are not performing the proper analysis that kind of chaps our hide.

My point? Support, knock, cheer or boo the candidate. Critique the reasoning. Ask individuals why they are or are not supporting a candidate. Just don't make a blanket statement challenging the depth of the group's analysis.

Now I feel like a mother hen, but I'm posting this anyway.
   211. sunnyday2 Posted: August 10, 2006 at 04:43 AM (#2134955)
BTW, by the late Harvey I mean late of this lecture, er, discussion.
   212. Backlasher Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:35 AM (#2134985)
I'm working completely on memory from Miller's autobiography (which is where 75% of my knowledge about the Johnson issue comes from), but I thought that the arbitrator's ruling wasn't necessarily a finding of fact, but a "It is reasonable to think that he has these issues, and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his employer taking drastic courses of action like suspending him without pay over and over."

I thought that it was later established that Alex really was mentally ill, but apparently I'm mistaken on that.


One of my oft used citations. Linky. Nicolau states that Lewis Gill made a finding that Johnson was emotionally ill and that his lackadasical play was not an act of will. Nicolau characterizes it as depression.

I don't know what Treder's diagnosis was though.
   213. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:37 AM (#2134987)
Ron, I couldn't agree with you more.

Everyone here is open to being convinced we are wrong - we've changed our individual and collective minds often when a convincing argument has been made.

I don't mean this directly at anyone, especially Harvey, Steve, etc.. But in general, my attitude is don't get testy or dismiss us if one or all of us takes it all in, and then chooses to reject the idea, whatever it is. Take a look in the mirror and think about why we might disagree (we'll tell you) and either agree to disagree, or keep coming at us until you change our minds. We're not going anywhere, and we're all ears.
   214. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:39 AM (#2134989)
Backlasher - I seriously like what you bring to the table in terms of Devil's Advocacy, etc..

But please keep your personal agenda with Steve out. The last line of post 212 really doesn't have any place over here.

Thank you in advance.
   215. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:45 AM (#2134991)
If I don't vote for Allen for 1 year due to the "boycott" described in the Constitution, is that legal?

Basically, I think that he probably is worthy of the HoM, but I think he willingly behaved in such a way as to sabatoge his team. So I want to invoke the "one year" thingie for bad behavior. Is that cool?
   216. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 06:08 AM (#2134995)
Very good question B

A player’s “personality” is to be considered only to the extent that it affected the outcomes of the player’s games (e.g., via his positive or negative effect on his teammates). In rare and extreme cases, a voter may opt to exclude a player on “personality” grounds on the first ballot on which the player appears. If that player does not get elected on his first ballot, the voter shall give the player full consideration in all subsequent ballots, regardless of the “personality” factors.

Allegations (proven or otherwise) about throwing baseball games may be especially troubling to some voters. It would be appropriate for such a voter to discount such a player’s accomplishments to some degree. In rare and extreme cases, it may even be appropriate for such a voter to choose not to vote for an otherwise worthy candidate.


Now as to what the intention was . . . in the first year, basically you can boycott a guy like Anson or Jackson or Rose (leaving Allen out for now, to keep it abstract) based on 'off the field' actions. We even go so far as to say that if you want to discount a guy like Jackson or Cicotte for the 1919 and 1920 seasons as being worthless that's your prerogative. Even after the one year.

What we were saying is that after that first year, you aren't allowed to not vote for Cap Anson because of his role in establishing the color line. After 1992, you can't hold Pete Rose's gambling as a manager against him.

I don't think either of those apply to Allen.

If you don't want to vote for Dick Allen because you believe he was a jerk - you aren't ever allowed to do it - the reason has to be stronger than that.

But, if you believe that Dick Allen cost his team games they otherwise would have won (aside from when he missed time - he's already not getting credit there, since he didn't do anything) - I think there's a legitimate case to consider that in your perpetual evaluation.

I agree the wording might not exactly convey that.

Do you see what I'm getting at at least? I'm definitely curious as to how exactly you see it.

Taking your quote literally . . . "he willingly behaved in such a way as to sabotage his team."

It's almost like attempted murder. If you believe he behaved in a way that could sabatoge the team - but don't think it mattered (meaning that it didn't actually affect his teams), I think that could be reason to leave him off in year 1.

If you think he actually impacted his teams W-L record negatively with his actions, I'd then say it's probably something you want to factor into your overall evaluation of him. Does that make sense?

Sorry to be so lawyerly here (not that I have anything against lawyers, honest!), but I figure a 'ruling' is probably pretty important on this one.

If anyone thinks I'm way off base here, please let me know . . . I could definitely be convinced otherwise, but that basically sums up the 'intent' of the rules . . . at least from my perspective.
   217. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 06:12 AM (#2134997)
"If you think he actually impacted his teams W-L record negatively with his actions"

I should have added . . . "aside from the time where he was out of the lineup, which is already factored into his record".

What I was going for was if you think Allen's actions made Johnny Callison play worse, etc..
   218. KJOK Posted: August 10, 2006 at 06:15 AM (#2134999)
I'm mostly listening here, but one item I would take exception to is that the Cardinals trading Allen was any sort of negative. Not only did he have a harmonious time in St. Louis, but the trade, while terrible in hind-sight made sense at the time:

The 1970 Cardinal infield finished the season as a complete mess. Shannon could no longer play, and had retired. Javier completely lost his batting stroke, and age was catching up to him in the field. Maxvill, whose bat they had always 'carried' due to his outstanding glove, had a terrible year hitting even for him (38 OPS+ vs. career 57 OPS+), and like Javier he was no longer the gold glove calibre fielder to make up for it. On top of this, Torre had moved to 3B as Shannon's replacement, and was no longer available to be a backup Catcher to the young Simmons, who I think STILL had weekend National Guard duty to fullfill in 1971. And finally, they had Joe Hague to play 1B, and for some reason they thought he was going to be a power hitting lefty.

On the other side, you had Sizemore, a rookie of the year who up to that point had been a near league average hitter, AND could play 2B AND SS, and you had Stinson, a former #1 draft choice catching prospect (who would end up with a 93 career OPS+, not bad for a catcher) where the Cardinals had no one besides Simmons.

So, from a 'what we need and what we have' perspective, the trade actually made SOME sense, and should not be seen as the Cardinals wanting to 'get rid' of Allen.
   219. Backlasher Posted: August 10, 2006 at 06:15 AM (#2135000)
Backlasher - I seriously like what you bring to the table in terms of Devil's Advocacy, etc..

But please keep your personal agenda with Steve out. The last line of post 212 really doesn't have any place over here.

Thank you in advance.


I'm not Devils Advocating anything. I am providing the extent of my knowledge on a question regarding Alex Johnson.

Judging from the posts, there are two competing diagnosis on Alex Johnson. I don't know what the other diagnosis is. The arbitrator could be wrong, and Treder right for all I know.

You guys can vote on Allen any way you want too. I haven't lectured you one bit. I haven't manufactured any knowledge about Allen or scolded you for not understanding anything about Allen.

But hey, if you feel you need to call me out, its something I should probably be use to by now.
   220. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 06:22 AM (#2135001)
Backlasher - I wasn't referring to you Devil's Advocating on Johnson - bad choice of words. I meant that in terms of your overall 'mission' here at BTF. Whether or not that's actually your mission doesn't matter much, that's how you are perceived. I wasn't trying to be argumentative there at all. Honest. I was just saying that while I know you generally get a lot of crap from people, I don't have anything against you. It was an olive branch, but a bad one I guess.

Your comment, "I don't know what Treder's diagnosis was though." Seemed snarky and argumentative to me. If it wasn't meant as a sarcastic jab, I apologize sincerely. If it was, I was just saying we try to avoid stuff like that over here. Either way it's done as far as I'm concerned, and I thank you for sharing your knowledge on Johnson.
   221. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 06:47 AM (#2135005)
KJOK from everything I've read on this thread, I agree that the Sizemore/Allen trade looks dumb in retrospect, but in a Broglio/Brock way, not in a he was dumped because he was a jerk way.

At the start of 1971, Ted Sizemore was a 26 year old 2B who had just put up 94 and 97 OPS+. He was 33 points over the league OBP in 1970 and while he wasn't a great defensive player, it would surprise if that was realized at the time.

That's a heckuva lot better player than Michael Young or Adam Kennedy were at the age of 25, for example. Young was a 2B back then too. Allen was great, sure, but he was also making a lot of money, and was the odd-man-out, being unable to play 3B. No way the Dodgers are giving up Sizemore for Hague, and the Cards needed a middle infielder.

And they didn't just get Sizemore. They also got a catcher named Bob Stinson, who had to have looked like a decent prospect at the time. At the age of 24 he had hit .298 in AAA in 1970 with 29 extra base hits in 315 AB and had been give two late cups of a coffee, so he was on the brink. He hit .324 in AAA for the Cards in 1971 too . . . it's not like he was just a scrub throw in, he was a B-level prospect, who had some potential. That he didn't pan out isn't relevant in terms of the Cardinals take for Allen.

Also look at it from the Dodger angle - they traded this young good hitting middle infielder, just off a Rookie of the Year Award, to get Allen. If he was perceived to be such a problem, why would they do that?

I'm not saying that public opinion didn't see it as a dump at the time, I wasn't there. But KJOK is a Cards fan, and he says it wasn't. And from a baseball perspective, it looks like a reasonable trade to me.
   222. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:17 PM (#2135036)
All:

First, my thanks to Steve for providing greater detail to things I was referencing but could not clarify. I am re-working the house and have stored away many of my reference materials that includes old newspaper clippings (I know, how quaint), etc. about "infamous" moments in baseball history. So I have been working from memory which is a dangerous resource and alas, not as reliable as I would like to think.

Second, thanks to Matthew for the reply that I was thinking but didn't write so as to not be rude. "Goofball". An oldie but a goodie.

Third, Allen and Pete Rose are both special cases for me. Because we had common extracurricular interests our paths would cross at times during their playing careers and in Rose's case beyond. While mere snippets of their life it still provided additional insight as to these men as human beings. (Well, human being and Rose seems extraordinarily generous but so be it.) I should have likely not written anything at all so as to not seem like a tease but it has been a hard struggle for me and has clearly affected the tenor of my posts. I felt SOME kind of explanation was needed so as to not further alienate the community. I greatly enjoy BBTF, the discussions, and hope to maintain the informal ties that have been created.

That being written at the end of the day this information is gossip. And however trustworthy some may consider the source I will not traffic in gossip.

So no, I will not be sending any private e-mails. The challenge is to convince the audience in a public setting with complete unfettered discourse. I will meet this challenge with keyboard blazing. And when the holster is finally emptied I'm either standing or lying in the dust.

I think I may have a bullet or two left.....................
   223. Howie Menckel Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:28 PM (#2135040)
Believe it or not, I think I get it, Harvey....
   224. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2006 at 12:53 PM (#2135045)
Howie:

That Allen deserves a hard look before submitting one's ballot or that I am not a complete *ss?

Or both?

Regards,

Harvey
   225. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:06 PM (#2135125)
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?

Allen did too. Alcoholism is a mental-health issue, now a will-power issue. There's plenty of studies that say that drug and alcohol addition change brain chemistry. AND depression and axiety are very frequently comorbid with addiction of any sort.

I'm not excusing Allen (though one could argue that his time/surroundings may not have lent themselves to a nuance understanding of his psychology nor treatment of it), I'm simply saying it was probably there, for worse.
   226. JPWF13 Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:06 PM (#2135126)
Your comment, "I don't know what Treder's diagnosis was though." Seemed snarky and argumentative to me.


Hey, he's improving, in the past he would have told us what Steve's or Nellie's diagnosis was
   227. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:27 PM (#2135160)
Three things:

1. Howie, thanks for the correction. I ALWAYS mix up Williams and Woodward!
2. Is it me, or in the baseball cards and photos on CW's article, does Allen appear to have tremendously large hands? As in Jimi Hendrix large, except muscular instead of lithe.
3. Commish,

I totally agree with yours (and Karl's) take on the candidate. But I'm not sure I get your take on the 1969 suspension. You're saying that B Williams can't boycott for one year because the games missed in the 1969 suspension are, themselves the penalty. "(aside from when he missed time - he's already not getting credit there, since he didn't do anything)..." But the team's record and the player's record here are of no concern. Nor really is the penalty. B Williams, it seems to me, is saying that missing these games was a moral trespass. Allen essentially fined and suspended himself because he was aware of the consequences of his actions. He took himself out of the lineup, made himself unavailable to his team. In a sense this is what Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte and Hal Chase did. In key moments of ballgames, they made their talent unavailable to the team.

Now, I understand that it's not exactly the same because they were doing it for money and Allen was doing it for personal, non-monetary reasons, but it is a similar mechanism, and in their ways, all were doing it for selfish reasons.

So I don't quite see why B Williams shouldn't be allowed to do the one-year boycott over that specifc situation, if he believes that Allen was sabotaging his team on the field by choosing not to participate in 28 games. I don't really agree with B Williams, but I wanted to at least get a little clarification since it could effect others in the group.

PS: Sorry
   228. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:29 PM (#2135164)
I'm not sure where that PS was going, but it didn't get finished. So I guess I'm not sorry. Or maybe I am, but I don't know it.
   229. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2135173)
No need to be sorry Dr. C. . . .

I see what you are saying. What I meant was that missing the games are the penalty and that's always there, forever.

I disagree that what Jackson/Chase/Cicotte et al did was similar. If they had left the team would have been better off. They were throwing games. Allen was suspended. Being absent isn't as bad as actively throwing games.

But if he thinks what Allen did crossed a moral line - then yeah, I could see a year 1 penalty for that. I wouldn't agree with it, but I think it's within the rules.
   230. sunnyday2 Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:36 PM (#2135179)
I would say that a one-year boycott is in the eye of the beholder. It's in the rules, a voter can boycott, so I can't see getting too directional about when a voter can or cannot do it. That said, I agree that Allen's issues are a little different than Pete Rose's or Joe Jackson's or even Cap Anson's. I don't think anybody boycotted Hornsby or Beckwith, who are Allen's true comps on this, but again, that doesn't say it can't be done.
   231. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:38 PM (#2135182)
I wouldn't agree with it, but I think it's within the rules.

I agree. With that said, I hope Bernie reconsiders.
   232. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 10, 2006 at 02:52 PM (#2135200)
Here is something I would ask the general public. Setting aside Allen's offensive prowess, list for me the positive attributes of Dick Allen's career.

Before anyone claims that is an outrageous request review the resumes for other players considered to be "great". I believe you could bullet point several elements of many players that made them special. Defense. Baserunning. Being considered a leader. Some special innovation the player brought to the game. Community involvement.

So I challenge this learned crowd to list something positive, ANYTHING positive, that Dick Allen did outside the batters box that sets him apart from the baseball masses.

I await your responses with great interest.

Sincerely,

Harvey
   233. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2135208)
I'll bite Harvey, since you asked.

His versatility, ability to play 3B, 1B, OF gave his teams some flexibility even though he wasn't a good fielder anywhere. A little like Sheffield or Bonilla when he was in his prime.

Also, it was mentioned earlier in this thread, and that's my only source, but wasn't he universally regarded as a phenomenal baserunner?

He was an above average defensive 1B from 1971-73. He was an above average defensive 3B in 1964. He basically an average LF in 1968.

I'm not saying this offsets the negatives, but those are positives outside the batter's box.
   234. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2135213)
I've been trying to stay uninvolved in this thread, but my curiousity has gotten the better of me and I figured, despite my (deserved?) reputation on this site, that it was worth asking a question to learn rather than advocate:

As you know, I'm a big believer in general differences in racial perspective and the ways those perspectives can dictate outcomes contingent on the environment. For example, if a police officer accuses me of something in one community, everyone will see me as guilty, in another they will take the testimony with a grain of salt. Or to use a more emotional example, if I hit on a white woman in one context, people will do little and in another, I may be lynched.

So as you discuss issues like, "Did the player adversely affect teammates' performance?" how do you evaluate that on the basis of context?

It's quite possible that if Allen was on a team of white supremacists, simply being unapologically successful would adversely affect other players. On a team of black panthers perhaps he would have improved every other player. In reality, it was somewhere in between.

But how do you evaluate that? I mean, if Tris Speaker would have been run out of the league in 2006, do you consider that? If Tony Gwynn had been born in 1905, or in Thailand, he probably doesn't play at all.

How do you consider these accidents of birth? I understand you can't start electing random people around the world because "given the chance to play baseball, they might have been great", but it's a little more gray when you are dealing with different racial contexts that frame eras in which the game was actually played.

Anyway, I don't think there's a right answer on this, and this diverges a bit from Allen, but it does seem relevant, so if anyone has time to share their thoughts, please enlighten me.

peace.
   235. sunnyday2 Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:15 PM (#2135228)
>Setting aside Allen's offensive prowess, list for me the positive attributes of Dick Allen's career.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
   236. Dizzypaco Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2135235)
He was an above average defensive 1B from 1971-73

This is also a different issue from the rest of the debate, but...

How do we know he was an above averge defensive 1B from 1971-1973? If I remember correctly, he did not have a stellar defensive reputation at this point, although I could be wrong. Is it all statistics?

I'm personally a big skeptic when it comes to evaluating defensive statistics for first baseman. If statistics and reputation agree, than I feel pretty confident, but otherwise I take the defensive stats with a grain of salt. I'd believe a statement that said, "his defensive statistics suggest he may have been an above average defensive first baseman", but not much more than that.

We know with complete confidence that he was above average offensively. What kind of confidence do we have about his defense at first?
   237. Daryn Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2135244)
Setting aside Allen's offensive prowess, list for me the positive attributes of Dick Allen's career.

He could juggle.
   238. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2135247)
Eraser,

I think you're absolutely nailing the question of Dick Allen. Dick Allen was in the wrong time, the wrong place, and the wrong employment structure. Just based on the things that have come up here and in the articles I've previously cited, and at various points in his career:
-he played with a team that integrated slowly and had a double standard for blacks, and possibly a double standard for him
-he played in a highly conformist profession
-he played in a place with a notoriously difficult, fickle fanbase and media
-he played a game in which men are managed in large groups, not small ones
-he had personal problems (alcoholism, self-esteem, perhaps mental illness) that were not well understood at the time and that the team and league were not yet well equipped to deal with
-the whole country was exploding with racial violence
-dick allen was the best or among the best at his profession and so both a possible beacon and a possible target.

On top of all that, Allen was manipulative, perhaps mentall ill, an addict, black, supremely talented, an obnoxious horse' ass at times, and could often give out extreme mixed messages along the lines of "I hate it here, get me out---but I want you to like me." He was the perfect representation of the schisms in America and the problems within baseball, as well as a horrible pain the butt.

As others have said, put Albert Belle into that position. Put Beckwith there. You can see how it would be the same. Sheffield too. Put Allen in the Negro Leagues, and he's probably OK in that smaller world. Make his career go from 1991-2006 instead, and he's probably going to be a obnoxious, but nothing more because he can switch teams, he can get high-quality treatment for alcohol and mental illness, and media-savvy managers and ownership have more experience at tamping down the coverage of this kind stuff and minimizing the player/team distractions. Heck make him white and put him in 1890, and I bet he does all right there too, during a period when there appears to be a lot more acceptance of different kinds of behaviors, and when he'd have just been nicknamed "Crazy" or something.

I'm not saying this because I want to persuade anyone of anything, I'm saying it because I think it's an interesting historical perspective. Dick Allen's antics did have an effect, and they were not solely the result of his environment. They shouldn't be lightly brushed away. But it's nonetheless interesting to ponder such quesitons.
   239. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 10, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2135252)
>Setting aside Allen's offensive prowess, list for me the positive attributes of Dick Allen's career.

That would be applying a vastly different criteria than i think we've applied to other candidates. I mean we've got plenty of guys who could hit like hell, fielded so-so, were drunks. I give you Ed Delahanty and Joe Medwick with Hack Wilson just off the end. Paul Waner could field a bit, but he was a big time lush. We never asked for the other positive attributes.
   240. karlmagnus Posted: August 10, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2135290)
On positive attrributes outside the hitters' boxscore, Allen was a very exciting player to watch, as I remember it -- he was one of the guys who impressed themselves very quickly indeed on my infant (because an immigrant) baseball sensibility of 1972.
   241. Steve Treder Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2135426)
Allen impressed me as hitting the ball harder than anyone else I had ever seen, harder even than McCovey or Stargell. Allen's singles were scary. That impression left by Allen prompted me years later to concoct a statistic designed to measure how hard each batter typically hits the ball: SLG divided by BIP. Allen, not surprisingly, scores very high.
   242. Mark Donelson Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:17 PM (#2135453)
Allen impressed me as hitting the ball harder than anyone else I had ever seen

Yet another Sheffield parallel? How does Sheff do on your metric?
   243. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2135460)
Paul Waner could field a bit, but he was a big time lush.

He has one of the best all-time drunk-at-the-plate anecdotes attached to his name, but I don't believe the BBWAA or the HoM electorate held it against him. In fact, it has been celebrated as a major part of baseball lore.
   244. Kirby Kyle Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2135464)
Allen impressed me as hitting the ball harder than anyone else I had ever seen, harder even than McCovey or Stargell. Allen's singles were scary. That impression left by Allen prompted me years later to concoct a statistic designed to measure how hard each batter typically hits the ball: SLG divided by BIP. Allen, not surprisingly, scores very high.

I was just about to post my similar impressions of Allen, which come from the distorted view of a newly minted eight-year-old Sox fan. Allen was similar to Sheffield not only in his off-the-field demeanor, but in the savageness of his right-handed swing. I seem to remember his line shots forcing outfielders into misplays. The clearest example of this was his two inside-the-park homers in a game in Metropolitan Stadium. Both hits were scorched line drives that the center fielder tried to cut off in the gap, only to find the ball sail past him.
   245. Steve Treder Posted: August 10, 2006 at 05:39 PM (#2135496)
Yet another Sheffield parallel? How does Sheff do on your metric?

I can't remember the exact formula; it's been almost 20 years since I presented the paper at a SABR meeting. It wasn't just SLG/BIP as I said above, of course ... damn, what was it? I think it was something like total bases / BIP. Something like that.

I don't think Sheffield would score nearly as high as Allen in a typical season, because Sheffield strikes out so rarely. Sheffield makes a fair amount of ball-in-play outs, whereas about the only way you could retire Allen was by striking him out (which he obligingly did a whole lot).

IIRC, Babe Ruth scored highest all time, with guys like Foxx, Greenberg, Mantle, Allen, and Stargell close on his heels. Jack Clark's 1987 season was among the highest-scoring modern seasons, but of course I did all this before the arena-ball '90s came along.
   246. sunnyday2 Posted: August 10, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2135688)
Innuendo, out the other.
   247. KJOK Posted: August 11, 2006 at 02:38 AM (#2136438)
So I challenge this learned crowd to list something positive, ANYTHING positive, that Dick Allen did outside the batters box that sets him apart from the baseball masses.

For me, all Allen needs is to not be exceedingly negative outside the batters box, and he would be set well apart from the masses.

The question is whether he meets 'not exceedingly negative', unless I'm missing something..
   248. jingoist Posted: August 11, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2137078)
Looks like the voters are pausing to analyze all the discussion points set forth about Dick Allen. While you do so could someone help me better understand the current Dick Allen.

Could someone elaborate what Dick Allen is up to these days; has he mellowed with age; have his demons stopped shouting inside his head and allowed him a bit of comfort in his 60's?

I think a poster mentioned he was working with the Phillies; does anyone know what services he is providing them?

Curious to learn if the issues that drove him away from conformity are still active or has he made some peace with the aspect of living out his life in some degree of happiness.
   249. sunnyday2 Posted: August 11, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#2137151)
>Looks like the voters are pausing to analyze all the discussion points set forth about Dick Allen.

Actually it's not the voters, it's the lurkers ;-)
   250. Daryn Posted: August 11, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2137168)
Jingoist, this is a somewhat recent picture of him from a 2000 card show. He looks happy.

http://64.87.100.185/Merchant2/photogallery/2000photogallery/photos/Allen.jpg
   251. Daryn Posted: August 11, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2137177)
From Wiki:

After retirement, Allen had a string of bad fortune, with his uninsured house and horse stables burning down in October 1979. He subsequently left his wife for a younger woman; his wife took him to court and got everything he had left, even the rights to his baseball pension. He has written an autobiography titled Crash, which Bill James has called "one of the best baseball books in recent years".

I believe HW's story about Allen involves his treatment of people in the horse business. They know each other, in passing, as horse owners.
   252. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 11, 2006 at 05:25 PM (#2137230)
Pausing for reflection on baseball versus life. I've got good friends who played in a touring band called Say ZuZu (give it up for y'allternative rock!!!). Their band broke up about three years ago, and to a man, every one of them is a happier individual today. Not that they disliked the band, in fact they loved it! But the never-ending grind of being poor but having to come up with all kinds of money to front your touring and recording expenses was totally miserable. Even then, when you're on tour, there's all this boredom because you're in a closely-packed van driving hours on end with the same smelly guys.

In some ways, I think the baseball life must have some similar aspects. Before you make the big time, you're worrying about the financial side and worrying whether the profession will ever offer you a chance for financial independence, just like my friends were. But when you make it (which they didn't), there's mounting pressures to do more, more, more, instead of an easing of the pressure you faced to get there. And not just on the field, but off of it too. Sign my ball, too, Mr. Ramirez! Do another card show, Albert. Hey, Rawjuh, will you be in our PSA for seat-belt safety? The team wants you to make an appearance at the fanfest, Bobby. And that's all interspersed with a lot of flying, bus rides, hotel rooms, and bullsh*t stuff that I can't even begin to imagine. I mean the 1970s Athletics are so much like the rock band stuck in the sweaty, smelly van. The stuff like workouts and drills and stuff must, in some ways, be a respite because, like a friend of mine says of the military, someone else does the thinking for you and tells you exactly what the expectation is.

Anyway, it's all to say that I'm astonished more people don't break in explosive ways under that pressure. Alex Johnson, Dick Allen, Jose Canseco, and Rogers Hornsby broke in really obvious ways. So did Willard Hershberger. Maybe even Charlie Bergen. I suspect Frankie Frisch did too. Dave Parker, Keith Hernandez, Dale Berra broke in mysterious ways that became obvious when we knew what had happened. Mickey Mantle broke, and then his body broke down. I'd guess that even the use of PEDs might might be a reaction to the manifold pressures of the game. I wonder how many hundreds of players are on xanax to keep the intrusive anxiety of their daily pressures at bay? I guess understanding the pressures and dealing with them is one area where as an informed outsider I am very uninformed.
   253. sunnyday2 Posted: August 11, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2137246)
>I think the baseball life must have some similar aspects.

Well, at least, there's always chicks around.

What did that Japanese guy say? 5%?

For the other 95%, there's ALWAYS chicks around.
   254. BDC Posted: August 11, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2137247)
I'm reading Rob Neyer's book of Blunders, and on p.238 there's a photo of Dick Allen and Steve Garvey side by side in mock fielding stances, beaming ear-to-ear into the camera. Just in case proximity to the heart of all evil is a factor in anyone's vote.
   255. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 11, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2137254)
Just in case proximity to the heart of all evil is a factor in anyone's vote.

Wow, amazing to hear someone say that the hypocrital Garvey (I almost typed Gravy) is a worse person than the utterly reviled teambuster, Allen. Or maybe I don't know much about Garvey's dark side other than the philandering.
   256. Steve Treder Posted: August 11, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2137270)
That's a phenomenal post, Dr. C. (# 253). Well said indeed.

We civilians often wish we had the wealth and fame and glory that star jocks (and rock stars, movie stars, etc.) enjoy. But we tend to overlook or, more generally, totally not comprehend just how much hard work and grinding pressure they endure. And with athletes, they deal with a great amount of chronic and acute physical pain as well.

So it is true that we shouldn't be surprised so much by those who really can't handle it (add Tony Horton and Mike Ivie to those you've mentioned); we really should marvel that so many do handle it seemingly quite well.
   257. sunnyday2 Posted: August 11, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2137315)
One of my favorites: David Nelson, whom some of you may remember, used to date a girl from my hometown (here in Minnesota). When David was in the minors one year, I drove down with her to Des Moines to see him play. He was rooming with Lenny Randle at the time, I think they were with the Denver Bears.

Lenny informed me that he had run a punt back for a TD against my Minnesota Gophers (etc.) so I learned about his college career. I asked him why he had left college after 2 years. He said, "College was just not real life."

Big-time professional baseball, on the other hand, is...what, then?
   258. OCF Posted: August 12, 2006 at 12:33 AM (#2137599)
There's a darker and more cynical vision that partly complements and partly competes with what Dr. Chaleeko said in #253: Jocks are just not nice people.

Oh, of course there are plenty of exceptions to that. It is possible to grow up as a jock and be a well-balanced person. But jocks - and I'm talking about stars here but even the scrubs at higher levels grew up as stars - soak in adulation from the time they were 9 or 10 years old. Their missteps are more often forgiven, special doors are more often opened for them. How easy is it to grow up with your self-worth bound up with your athletic skills, with the understanding that because you're special, the rules that everyone else has to go by don't apply to you. It is possible to grow up with all of that and turn out stable and humble, but a lot of things have to go right for that to occur. And heaven forbid there should be anything either a little wrong (like a tendency towards depression) or a little different about you? It's so easy to fall completely off the tracks. This isn't exactly a new phenomenon; maybe it's become a little worse in the last 50 or 30 years, but these kind of influences on the jock growing up have been around for a hundred years at least.

A lot of jocks are very self-centered people - all the pressures molding tham have pushed that way. High school star jocks are often bullies, because they can be. College jocks (the major sport guys, anyway), aren't there for the education. Some of them are just dumb as stumps, but there are plenty more who are smart enough but whose academic ambitions extend no further than the minimum needed to stay eligible. A lot of jocks are aggressively promiscuous; a few are rapists. The line between those is blurrier than you'd want it to be.

Sometimes you even have guys who were bad boys already before someone pushed them into sports to "keep them out of trouble." The results of this can be as varied as Babe Ruth and Mike Tyson.

A traditional counterbalance to this has been the tyrant coach. They're not nice people either. (One year I showed up for the first day of two-a-day high school football practices sporting a mustache. The head coach told me that if it wasn't gone by afternoon, he would personally remove it with a pair of pliers.) Tyrant coaches are a stronger tradition in football and several other sports than in baseball, but the tradition is everywhere. And the tradition was weakening in the 1960's, as tyrannies of all sorts were being challenged.

There are star athletes who are by reputation princes among men. Some of them really are; for others, you just haven't heard the other side yet. Consider the stages of the public perception of Kirby Puckett, for instance.

From the moment Dick Allen stepped on a playing field as a child he was a star. (A star black athlete growing up in the North, which is so complicated on so many levels that I don't know how to unravel it.) And he never fit through that narrow doorway for surviving all the toxic effects stardom to become a good person anyway. He grew up self-centered and manipulative. (And maybe all along there was something else - in the 1990 Baseball Book article, Bill James speculated that he might have been depressive.) He may have destabilized a number of teams, but I tend to thing the most damage he did was by making himself unavailable (odd injuries, suspensions, the fact that he career was fairly short.) To a large extent, that can be charged against his own statistics. He wasn't producing when he wasn't there.

He's a short-career, high-peak, bat-first candidate. That makes him comparable to Keller, Kiner, Frank Howard, Cepeda. The already-elected best of this group was Greenberg. The group will have other members in the future, including Belle and McGwire. I should set up and run an offense chart for that group - but frankly, Allen's offensive statistics just blow the rest of them away. If you're looking for defensive value from Allen, I'd have to ask, how much of that are you getting from Keller, Kiner, Howard, or Cepeda? In the NBJHBA, James streched and tortured his numerical system as far as he dared to keep from ranking Allen higher, and Allen ranks pretty high anyway. I still don't know exactly where I'll rank him (and I'm leaning toward the "safe" choice of having Billy Williams #1), but for this project, with the precedents we've established (Beckwith, for instance, or unanimously choosing Hornsby), he's awfully hard to ignore.
   259. Steve Treder Posted: August 12, 2006 at 01:07 AM (#2137636)
Staggeringly brilliant post, OCF. I guess Primeys are an historical artifact, but if a Primey could be brought out of retirement and shined up for new use, it could scarcely find a more appropriate mission.
   260. Howie Menckel Posted: August 12, 2006 at 02:12 AM (#2137762)
Yes, the two 'competing' posts both have a lot going for them.

But we must separate the angst of any 1930s ballplayer trying to make a living, or a 1960s black ballplayer trying to manage in tumultuous times, from a 2000s ballplayer.

Assuming that even collecting checks of $1 million within any 5-year span sets one up for an opportunity for financial self-sufficiency for the rest of one's life (granting the need for appropriately investing and potential subsequent employment at something), many or most modern athletes don't really have the 'pressure' that their earlier peers had.

Also, the idea that a 2000s player feels a burning need to handle demands on his time is overblown, I can tell you from firsthand knowledge. Not only are there 'people who do that sort of thing,' many young athletes nowadays would be more confused than agitated at someone who actually expected an answer about something of significance from THEM.
We're talking private planes, 5-star hotels, 'someone' does all the laundry, aides who take on all of the mundane life issues, etc.

I will also inform those who don't already know that most sportswriters rank pro athletes this way, best to worst:
NHL
NBA
NFL
MLB

The common rationales:
- NHL players often are Canadian, and thus friendlier. Also, they don't face a lot of media demands, and in fact, wish they received more attention. Hence the niceness. They're often pretty crude around women in the post-game bar, but good eggs with the media.
- NBA players have a commish who stresses media friendliness. Also, many grew up in poor circumstances, and many don't innately look down on other people. The 'entourage' effect is an issue, but back to point 1 to counteract it. Lots of availability, and it leads both to good journalism and yet good PR for the league, for the most part.
- NFL players often are deemed to be, well, not the brightest bulbs. The league also limits day-to-day interactions with the media, much moreso than any other sport. And there are MORE of them than in other sports. So the demand on them is low, they tend to be cooperative, but they really don't say much of significance.
- MLB has the most extensive media availability, probabyl too much - in the NY area from about 3:30 pm to 6 pm on a given game day, plus postgame, for example. But the league doesn't stress media cooperation, and the players tend more to the frat-boy type. You get more fart jokes and such than in any other sport. There's a combination of uneducated, skipped-college players and spoiled, my-dad-ran-the-local-program players that too often is toxic for PR.

The issue of demands on pro athletes is an interesting topic, and no doubt Allen is unique case.
I best like the posts that combine some sympathy for him being put into rough situations with a recognition that he also bears some responsibility for the way things turned out. I don't like the purer 'it's his own fault' vs 'let's give him a free pass for everything' ideas.
   261. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 12, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2138197)
OCF and Howie,

Great posts. Oddly, I don't think our combined posts compete at all. In fact, i think they are each different looks of the same issue. Like Rashomon or something (no I haven't seen it)---different versions of the same narrative of the rise of a typical star ballplayer. With regard to Dick Allen, these facets all came together in combination with his personality issues to create big problems for him and his teams. For many other players, they can handle one aspect but not another. Or they can handle them all. Allen could handle none, and the whole thing was exaserbated by the racial climate on the Phils and in Philadelphia. It could only have happened when it did, to the person it happened to, on the teams and in the cities it happened, in the specific labor-relations climate it did. That's what makes it so hard to unknot for me. But it also makes it utterly fascinating in that gaper-delay kind of way.
   262. OCF Posted: August 12, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2138222)
Here's an offensive chart. Since playing time is an issue with all of these players, I have put in two measures of career length: games, and plate appearances. The offensive value number is context-scaled RCAA, with the units being approximately tenths of wins; it's what I've been using for everyone else. The yearly value is sorted from best to worst.


Player  G     PA    Yearly offensive value
Allen   1749  7314  90 75 74 65 59 53 50 50 38 34 28 13 
---7
Chance  1287  5099  78 66 66 52 41 29 27 24 23 12  8  7  4  2
Keller  1170  4604  75 68 65 54 48 47 22 20  7  6  3  1
Kiner   1472  6256  81 76 70 42 41 28 24 20 10  7
Cepeda  2124  8695  70 63 55 45 43 42 38 30 26 20 13 12  5  4  3 
--7
Howard  1895  7353  72 71 63 46 41 40 36 35 25 12 12  8  3  0 
--1
Powell  2042  7810  64 59 50 50 41 33 30 30 23 21 17 10 10  1 
---
   263. greenback calls it soccer Posted: August 12, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2138348)
Also, many [NBAers] grew up in poor circumstances, and many don't innately look down on other people.

The minor league experience can serve a similar humility function for baseball players.

Dick Allen in Little Rock in 1963 sounds like a movie, or at least an episode of "Quantum Leap."
   264. Traderdave Posted: August 12, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#2138410)
The minor league experience can serve a similar humility function for baseball players.

I once had a chat with the visiting clubhouse manager for the Oakland sport complex. He handles the visiting teams for the A's, Raiders, and Warriors. In his experience, baseball players were the friendliest & easiest to deal with, and his feeling was that the minor league grind made them appreciate the big-league treatment.
   265. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 28, 2008 at 12:35 PM (#2877568)
Figure this is a good spot to add this comment as well (also posted on the ranking 3B thread).

Goose Gossage just said that Dick Allen was the best player he ever played with, and he said he played with a lot of greats. Took him under his wing, taught him how to play the game right, etc..

I realize it's just one opinion, but the guy is a Hall of Famer. Doesn't sound like something you'd hear about a destroyer of clubhouses to me.
   266. Paul Wendt Posted: August 01, 2008 at 07:38 PM (#2886600)
Did I read this page before?

Two years ago here but only a few screens up, Eric Chalek and OCF and Howie Menckel all "have a go" at partly understanding Dick Allen. If you haven't read this page before, let Steve Treder promote it:

>>
256. Steve Treder Posted: August 11, 2006 at 02:06 PM (#2137270)
That's a phenomenal post, Dr. C. (# 253). Well said indeed.

259. Steve Treder Posted: August 11, 2006 at 09:07 PM (#2137636)
Staggeringly brilliant post, OCF. I guess Primeys are an historical artifact, but if a Primey could be brought out of retirement and shined up for new use, it could scarcely find a more appropriate mission.
<<
   267. The District Attorney Posted: April 10, 2010 at 06:31 PM (#3499477)
FWIW, James recently posted to his pay site that he has changed his mind about Allen as a HOF candidate.
The time has come, I think, to put the past away, and to elect Dick Allen to the Hall of Fame.

Look, 35 years ago I argued that “a time will come in the future when Dick Allen will be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame.” At first people thought I was goofy for even suggesting such a thing, but I knew that, in the exact same way that bones endure long after the flesh rots, statistics endure long after the memories of a player have rotted into nothing. That time has come. Almost no one really remembers most of the dozens or hundreds of Dick Allen controversies over the years 1962 to 1980 (and now that I think about it, I am certain that it was in fact hundreds.) These incidents can be divided into those which have been forgotten by 95% of the public, and those which have been forgotten by 99% of the public. The 99% stack is much taller.

These. ..”controversies” is too strong a word. These awkward moments could be divided, as well, into those for which Allen was responsible, and those for which he was not. And those for which he was responsible could be divided into those which actually make some negative statement about Allen’s character, and those which were just. . .different. Writing “Boo” in the dirt to return the Boos of the Philadelphia fans. ..what really was wrong with that?

And then again, we could divide those incidents for which Allen was responsible and which reflect not the best image of him into some small number which are truly unfortunate, and a much larger number which are merely human. Holding up the team bus? The truth is, if I was an athlete, I’d wind up holding up the team bus sometimes, I know I would. It’s just kind of the way I am. Some of us don’t fit too well into organized group activities—Dick Allen didn’t, and I don’t, so sue me. If I was on a sports team and I had to conform my conduct to the expectations of my teammates, I would irritate the living hell out of my coaches and teammates, and there is nothing I could do about this; it’s just the way I am. Allen in many ways did better than I would.

The question, then, is “How do we feel about the fact that all of these things have been forgotten?” And I have to say: I’m OK with it. Let’s forget them, let’s bury them, let’s move on. We’ve argued about them long enough. Heal the wounds? The wounds have all healed long ago. All that is left now is the anger that can be re-generated without limit from the recountings of past wrongs. We don’t carry those things forward forever; wise people don’t. Normal people don’t. At some point you throw them away like worn-out luggage. The statute of limitation has lapsed on holding up the team bus. The time has come to set aside Dick Allen’s failings or the allegations of them, recognize the excellence of his performance on the field, and put the man in the Hall of Fame...

If one wishes to argue that the record suggests that Allen’s “presence” was not a positive, I don’t think that’s inconsistent with the record. Perhaps another time, I might have made that argument.

But that’s in the past, and I’m done with it. Maybe I was right before; maybe I was wrong. I don’t know. On the field, Dick Allen was a major talent, easily surpassing all of the Hall of Fame tests that I have laid out. In my view the time has come to put the other stuff away, and recognize the quality of his contribution on the field.
   268. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 25, 2010 at 07:07 PM (#3513775)
Wow, that's some great stuff. Thanks DA . . . I'm a subscriber there, but I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to check in there (or here) for awhile . . .
   269. Morty Causa Posted: April 25, 2010 at 08:25 PM (#3513818)
Before, before! You’re livin’ in the past, Marge. Quit livin’ in the past!
   270. The District Attorney Posted: April 27, 2010 at 02:44 PM (#3515249)
I guess. Honestly, I'm confused by the way he goes about it. If he took another look at Allen's various antics and revised his opinion of the actual occurrences, that'd be a different story. But that doesn't seem to be what he's primarily doing here. I'm not sure how you can essentially say "after enough time has passed, these dummies are gonna forget how bad this guy was for the team", and then a few years later, essentially say "okay, enough time has passed, it's time to forget how bad this guy was for the team."

I dunno how I feel about Allen for the HOF myself. But, I will say that if I had fully bought Bill's argument the first time, this explanation wouldn't make me change my mind along with him.
   271. Paul Wendt Posted: May 29, 2010 at 02:04 PM (#3545690)
That's exactly right.

The observations on himself do cast a different tone over it all. James implies that he has matured and those observations provide some evidence. Should the timeless Reader change in step? Ideally, Hall of Fame assessments are timeless. That is the ideal Bill James has generally advanced and still advances, as far as I know.

Perhaps James would unsay some of his previous testimony as a witness of Allen's career. He refers to the anger. Does he mean that his own anger distorted his testimony?
   272. Ron J Posted: May 29, 2010 at 04:12 PM (#3545737)
#270/271 The piece DA quotes comes from a series of 6 articles on short career players -- using techniques designed to focus on what you could call extended prime.

First of all, there's a useful paragraph on what his stance had always been just before the section DA quoted:

For 30 years I have argued against Dick Allen being considered as a Hall of Famer, and, one last time, let me try to explain why. First, I think that the record documents that Dick Allen was almost universally considered by sportswriters, while he was active, to be not a Hall of Fame player. Second, I think that a fair and honest reading of the many, many incidents and controversies of his career will show clearly that Allen himself was the source of almost all the trouble that followed him. Third, I have argued that these incidents had a negative impact on the performance of his teams, and that that negative impact substantially offset the positive impact of his on-field performance.


Now let me follow this by saying that I was following baseball at the time and was in fact an Allen fan. I see no revisionism. The only thing that is worth noting is that I always felt that the sportswriters of the day went in with the preconceived notion that Allen was wrong and that if you start from there, well slanted reporting is inevitable.

I believe James' position could be summarized broadly as great player who you have to move for pennies on the dollar after a while and it's apropriate to take that into account.

Several things softened his stance over time. Craig Wright wrote a great article to which James never responded (beyond saying he'd read it and wouldn't be responding to it) -- but it was clear that he'd softened his stance in response to Craig's refutation of some specific point.

And now he looks at the short career players and gets Allen ahead of everybody but Joe DiMaggio (well he drops to #3 with a different method of sorting the results. Doesn't exactly hurt you when Shoeless Joe Jackson moves past you) and he has to ask himself something like, Do you really have to move him? And if so do you have to settle for pennies on the dollar?"

The whole list is fascinating.

His first cut was:

DiMaggio, Allen, Jackson, Tinker, Evers, Greenberg, Doby, Cochrane, Chance, Mattingly, Roy Thomas, Joe Gordon, Jackie Robinson, Puckett, Strawberry(!), Oliva, Babe Herman, Charlie Keller, Ross Youngs, Wally Berger, Koufax, Kiner, Rizutto, Camilli, Fournier, Campanella, Belle, Maris, Garciaparra, Trosky, Smokey Joe Wood, Don Newcombe, Dom DiMaggio, Guidry, Ken Williams, Dizzy Dean, Addie Joss

And the same methods, sorted by Fibonacci Values:

DiMaggio, Jackson, Allen, Greenberg, Chance, Doby, Keller, Jackie Robinson, Cochrane, Evers, Tinker, Roy Thomas, Strawberry, Youngs, Mattingly, Joe Gordon, Babe Herman, Wally Berger, Oliva, Camilli, Kiner, Fournier, Puckett, Maris, Koufax, Belle, Garciaparra, Rizutto, Campanella, Smokey Joe Wood, Riggs Stephenson, Newcombe, Tartabull, Dizzy Dean, Trosky, Guidry, Joss

Strangely we've heard very little from Tommy about Guidry's rankings here.

In another series of articles on this site last year, looking at seasons in which a player was among the best pitchers in his league, I concluded that Ron Guidry was above the Hall of Fame lines. It is nice when my different methods of studying something converge, and it is a pain in the rear when they don’t, but. . .sometimes they don’t. As this system sees it—dueling methods—Guidry was among the best pitchers in the American League consistently in his era mostly because the league in that era didn’t have many very good pitchers. After all, Cy Young Awards were given in Guidry’s career to Steve Stone, Pete Vuckovich and Guillermo Hernandez, not to mention the Fat Felon LaMarr Hoyt. You couldn’t find another league with a string of “Cy Young” winners like that.


And

He was an extremely good pitcher, but he doesn’t meet any of the three tests of a Hall of Famer in this nalysis.
   273. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 29, 2010 at 04:29 PM (#3545741)
Dick Allen is nearly the best player of the ones I don't support for the Hall of Fame. And as I have stated any number of times it's because outside of the batters box Allen started strong and then evolved into mediocrity. Toss in the nonsense and he doesn't make the cut.

This is neither difficult nor complex.
   274. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 29, 2010 at 05:01 PM (#3545754)
Why can't I bookmark this page?
   275. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 29, 2010 at 05:49 PM (#3545764)
By the way HOMers, the HOM got a little tiny pimp job in the Phila. Inquirer earlier this week. A paragraph mention at the bottom of some daily notes column.
   276. Ron J Posted: May 29, 2010 at 06:42 PM (#3545780)
#273, I can understand a voter who won't support Allen. I don't much care about the shape of his career arc -- most specifically that he lost the ability to handle third in 1967 (while still playing the position for a few more years)

To be consistent you'd have to be a straight career value over replacement voter. I'm not and never will be. If you take the last ~3100 plate appearances of Ernie Banks and tack them on to Allen's career, You end up with a career line of something close to .282/.357/.506. OPS+ of 141, 474 home runs.

If you'd support this hypothetical player and not Allen then what you're really saying is that 6 years of a first-baseman who was nothing special with the glove and puts up an OPS+ of 106 (SLG heavy at that) is the difference between a hall of fame career. And that just feels nutty to me. Bulk filler means nothing to me.
   277. fra paolo Posted: May 30, 2010 at 09:28 AM (#3546104)
Well, let's construct a possibility of what all this might really be about.

a) James argues that Allen's statistical accomplishments as an individual need a downward adjustment because of his negative impact as a 'team player'/for chemistry.
b) James spends decades arguing this subjective case.
c) The 'Steroids Era' creates a whole generation of players whose statistical accomplishments many argue need a downward adjustment.
d) James writes an article arguing that eventually everybody will use drugs to improve performance, so we have to take the statistics from that era as read.
e) Wait a minute, what was he saying about Allen earlier?

Sadly, I won't have internet access for the next week, so I can't follow this up in case I'm torn to ribbons with my implication here, which is that James' new attitude to Dick Allen is largely a product of his view about the 'Steroids Era'.
   278. Sunday silence Posted: June 08, 2010 at 03:19 AM (#3553274)
James' pt is perhaps different w/ respect to Allen because he might say that Allen the individual hurt the team chemistry whereas these players of the roid era were just hurting themselves.

The thing with the PED era is that reality is apparently, that PEDs are here to stay and chemists will continue to stay one step ahead of the detection agencies. If this situation continues for 30, 40 50 years then at some pt. people will say "I dont get what the people of year 2010 were arguing about they had greenies in the 1960s and stuff before that. It's just the reality of the situation." I think James is just trying to be utterly realistic about it, that PEDs are here to stay.

That said, I agree with many of the criticisms of James' take on Dick Allen. Bill James is great when he sticks to the objective measures of ball players; many of which he created. But as soon he enters the realm of subjectivity: whether he is using MVP voting to figure out a player's value, or Dick Allen being traded means "X"; or his contemporaries said..." As soon as he begins down that road you know this is not going to end up logical or pretty. But that's just how it goes, he's mortal like any of us.
   279. Paul Wendt Posted: June 22, 2010 at 04:29 PM (#3566613)
275. Quiet Flows the Don Taussig Avenger (Edmundo) Posted: May 29, 2010 at 01:49 PM (#3545764)
>>
By the way HOMers, the HOM got a little tiny pimp job in the Phila. Inquirer earlier this week. A paragraph mention at the bottom of some daily notes column.
<<

The daily notes column in a major newspaper is worth a mention here. I'm not sure where is the best place to mention it.
   280. Paul Wendt Posted: June 22, 2010 at 04:41 PM (#3566628)
277. fra paolo Posted: May 30, 2010 at 05:28 AM (#3546104)
>>...
Sadly, I won't have internet access for the next week, so I can't follow this up in case I'm torn to ribbons with my implication here


This is a safe place, late in the spring.


272. Ron J Posted: May 29, 2010 at 12:12 PM (#3545737)
The piece DA quotes comes from a series of 6 articles on short career players -- using techniques designed to focus on what you could call extended prime.

... now he looks at the short career players and gets Allen ahead of everybody but Joe DiMaggio (well he drops to #3 with a different method of sorting the results. Doesn't exactly hurt you when Shoeless Joe Jackson moves past you) and he has to ask himself something like, Do you really have to move him? And if so do you have to settle for pennies on the dollar?"

The whole list is fascinating.

His first cut was:


The first two I think of are Elmer Flick and Earl Averill. They don't make the first cut.


Strangely we've heard very little from Tommy about Guidry's rankings here.

Tommy?

I don't think of Guidry but I understand that someone from another time and place might think first of Guidry, Gooden, Strawberry, and Mattingly. maybe Dave Righetti too.
   281. Ron Johnson Posted: June 22, 2010 at 05:33 PM (#3566695)
#280 Neither Flick nor Averill were covered (though Averill is mentioned as a comp for Wally Berger. As is Hack Wilson. "The irony is that I believe Berger was probably the best player of the three. [...]" ) The articles weren't meant to be exhaustive, they were intended to build broad categories to see where the interesting cases (like Allen) came up. Easy enough to expand the list though, since the method is given.

Tommy is a Guidry obsessive. We heard a great deal about how well Guidry did on another of James' new methods. Quoting James now: "In another series of articles on this site last year, looking at seasons in which a player was among the best pitchers in his league, I concluded that Ron Guidry was above the Hall of Fame lines. It is nice when my different methods of studying something converge, and it is a pain in the rear when they don’t, but. . .sometimes they don’t. As this system sees it—dueling methods—Guidry was among the best pitchers in the American League consistently in his era mostly because the league in that era didn’t have many very good pitchers. After all, Cy Young Awards were given in Guidry’s career to Steve Stone, Pete Vuckovich and Guillermo Hernandez, not to mention the Fat Felon LaMarr Hoyt. You couldn’t find another league with a string of “Cy Young” winners like that."
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