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How good was Dick Allen?

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  • How good was Dick Allen?

    I wanted to get people's view on Dick Allen's baseball talent. I'm not asking how valuable he was over his career or how good his career wise. I'm asking was Dick Allen one of the top 15 most talented baseball players in major league history. A few weeks ago Rob Neyer mentioned on his ESPN blog that he considers A-Rod one of the dozen or so most talented ballplayers ever. I got to thinking as to what does that really mean? A-Rod's peak, while certainly HoF level, is not really a historic peak on par with Ruth, Cobb, Williams, Foxx, Dimaggio, etc. I suppose Neyer is referring to baseball talent as opposed to actual baseball performance. So this got me to thinking about Dick Allen. In the BJHBA, James talks about Allen having baseball talent on par with Joe DiMaggio and even approaching Willie Mays. Allen's rookie season is probably one of the 10 greatest rookie seasons according to James. So how much baseball talent did Allen have? I'm too young to have seen Allen. He retired when I was just eight years old.

    Dick Allen, Phillies' 3B, 1963-69----BB Reference


    Dick Allen, Phillies' 3B, 1964-69--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dick Allen, Phillies' 1B, 1975------------Phillies' 3B, 1963-69
    41
    Yes
    17.07%
    7
    No
    82.93%
    34
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-14-2014, 07:30 AM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    Dick Allen was a very talented player, he started off really well, his rookie season was amazing. He was one of the greatest power hitters in the 60's, when he connected with the ball it went very far.

    But has everyone knows he wasn't liked in Philadelphia got into a couple of fights and he got into trouble with the law several times.

    He had the potential to be one of the top 15 talents to ever play, but because of his behavior and his lack of commitment to his teamates and his organization he isn't in my opinion.

    He's a perfect player where you say What If?

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    • #3
      --Top 15 is a pretty tough crowd. I don't know if Allen was quite in that group, but he was at least close to the best in talent. So, a definate maybe.

      Comment


      • #4
        Definitely one of the most powerful hitters that ever lived. Hit balls over 500' as a teenager, even then being tremendously strong. Said to have been built much like Mantle, and able to hit historic distances close to Mickey's range, as well.

        I've heard from two Baseball insiders who know him very well that he's a friendly guy on a personal level, but just never had great commitment to playing ball, a trait which helped fuel his problems with fans and media.

        Some people believe he hit as hard as anyone ever has, though not lofting them for longer and more majestic home runs.

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        • #5
          He talent was strictly as a hitter though. I dont think he was the classic five tool player to be a "top talent" of the game.
          Another person who comes to mind is Cesar Cedeno.
          Sometimes talent is just a euphemism for unrealized potential.
          http://soundbounder.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            babe ruth
            lou gehrig
            mickey mantle
            yogi berra
            joe dimaggio
            alex rodriguez
            derek jeter
            bill dickey


            i can think of 8 YANKEES who had more "talent" than Dick Allen lol

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by blackout805 View Post
              babe ruth
              lou gehrig
              mickey mantle
              yogi berra
              joe dimaggio
              alex rodriguez
              derek jeter
              bill dickey


              i can think of 8 YANKEES who had more "talent" than Dick Allen lol
              How old are you, Tupac?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by blackout805 View Post
                babe ruth
                lou gehrig
                mickey mantle
                yogi berra
                joe dimaggio
                alex rodriguez
                derek jeter
                bill dickey


                i can think of 8 YANKEES who had more "talent" than Dick Allen lol
                Come on.

                I'd like to see Berra, Jeter, or Dickey put up a 199 OPS+. Give Dick Allen a little credit. At his peak, he hit as well as DiMaggio.

                Dick Allen wasn't one of the 15 best talents ever. He was very good, but the top 15 is sacred ground. Almost all of Dick's talent was as a hitter. That being said, he'd have to have hit like Williams or Gehrig to be considered top 15. He wasn't on the same level as those guys.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Otis Nixon's Bodyguard View Post
                  Come on.

                  I'd like to see Berra, Jeter, or Dickey put up a 199 OPS+. Give Dick Allen a little credit. At his peak, he hit as well as DiMaggio.

                  Dick Allen wasn't one of the 15 best talents ever. He was very good, but the top 15 is sacred ground. Almost all of Dick's talent was as a hitter. That being said, he'd have to have hit like Williams or Gehrig to be considered top 15. He wasn't on the same level as those guys.
                  well sure I'd like to see 2 catchers and a shortstop do that too.

                  but when we're talking about physical talents, i'll take those 3 over DA

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Otis Nixon's Bodyguard View Post
                    Come on.

                    I'd like to see Berra, Jeter, or Dickey put up a 199 OPS+. Give Dick Allen a little credit. At his peak, he hit as well as DiMaggio.

                    Dick Allen wasn't one of the 15 best talents ever. He was very good, but the top 15 is sacred ground. Almost all of Dick's talent was as a hitter. That being said, he'd have to have hit like Williams or Gehrig to be considered top 15. He wasn't on the same level as those guys.
                    I don't think there are 13 other players that hit like Williams and Gehrig.
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I found this video gem of Dick Allen's Phillie years. Enjoy.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoP0OZ8mZX4
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        --I think what he means is that since Allen's talent was strictly as a hitter he'd have to hit like Williams or Gehrig to be a top 15 talent. That isn't really true though. Allen had very good speed and was a terrific athlete. He wasn't the most focused defender, but he had the talent to be a very good one. He was the kind of guy who would make a highlight reel play one inning and boot an easy one the next.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                          --I think what he means is that since Allen's talent was strictly as a hitter he'd have to hit like Williams or Gehrig to be a top 15 talent. That isn't really true though. Allen had very good speed and was a terrific athlete. He wasn't the most focused defender, but he had the talent to be a very good one. He was the kind of guy who would make a highlight reel play one inning and boot an easy one the next.
                          I agree 100%. Allen's great athleticism is very underrated IMO.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                            I don't think there are 13 other players that hit like Williams and Gehrig.
                            There certainly aren't. I consider Williams the second best hitter ever and Gehrig is in the top 5. What I meant was that, while Allen was a very good hitter, he wasn't a good enough hitter for that alone to make him a top 15 player.

                            If he was a better baserunner and fielder than I thought, then I stand corrected. I've never heard much about him doing either of those things, so I've always been under the impression that he was somewhat one-dimensional (but a heck of a good hitter). He retired before I was born, so I never saw him play. Regardless, I wouldn't put him in the top 15 in terms of talent/ability.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Dick Allen was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, a fact that is obscured by his playing in the most pitcher-friendly environment since the spitball was banned. He wasn't quite at the level of Mantle, Mays, or Aaron, but he was pretty darned close. He was Reggie Jackson with a better batting average. Injuries and personal demons kept him from having a great career (if we define greatness as being a first-ballot Hall of Fame player).

                              Allen's skills were similar to Mickey Mantle, and they shared many of the same tendencies. Both were fast, although Mantle was faster. Both were tremendously strong although not exceptionally large. Both began their professional careers as shortstops. Both had a history of injuries and alcohol abuse.

                              Before his 1967 hand injury Allen was arguably the most productive hitter in baseball. He led the NL in slugging in 1966, then led in OBP in 1967. He led the NL in OPS both seasons. At the time he was just 25, presumably with his peak years still ahead of him. But in August of 1967 while pushing a car he put his right hand through the headlight, severing tendons and nerves. Surgery was able to repair the tendons, but the nerve damage was permanent. Allen played the rest of his career unable to throw a baseball straight because the numbness interfered with his grip. This is what forced him into becoming a firstbaseman.

                              I got to see Allen play for the White Sox. His 1972 MVP season was awesome, nearly taking the triple crown. He did things that few players in history did, blasting homeruns onto the roof and into the centerfield bleachers at old Comiskey Park. In a game vs. the Twins he hit a pair of inside the park homers. Allen had joined a team that was below.500 in 1971 and nearly carried the White Sox to a division title, finishing at 87-67.

                              Allen was a legitimately great player, at least for a while. At his best, in 1966, 1967, and 1972, he was probably the best player in his league. If circumstances were different he could have been a 500-HR hitter easily. To be sure, Allen himself was part of the problem. Sometimes it seemed he would just rather be at the horse track than the ballpark.

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