Late to integration
From the small town of Wampum, PA, Richard “Dick” Allen endured the front lines of integration as the first black ballplayer on the Arkansas Travelers, the Phillies Triple-A team.
In Philadelphia, he found a city known for racists attitudes towards black ballplayers.
When Jackie Robinson came to Philadelphia during his rookie season in 1947, Phillies General Manager Herb Pencock tried to prevent Jackie from playing at Shibe Park. Once on the field, Robinson was taunted mercilessly by Phillies manager Ben Chapman and his players. Chapman later offered an awkward public apology as a photo-op.
Hall of Fame career
Dick Allen exploded into the league by winning the 1964 Rookie of the Year award and was soon dazzling fans with his mammoth home runs.
Richard Allen and his unique personality forced Philadelphians to confront their own racial stereotypes in the 1960s. Some fans responded by booing and throwing smoke bombs. Others cheered the slugger’s heroic contributions on the field.
He was often at odds with the media (similar to his protege, Mike Schmidt). Due to these awkward feelings, he remains outside the Hall of Fame, despite a more-than-worthy career.
Over 15 seasons, Dick Allen finished with: 351 home runs, 1,119 RBI, .292 batting average, 58.7 wins-above-replacement and the 1972 AL MVP.