Just hours before the Philadelphia Phillies retired his No. 15 jersey, Dick Allen picked up a vocal backer for his Hall-of-Fame credentials in manager Joe Girardi.
The first-year skipper fulfilled his end of the bargain that he would look into Allen’s career stats whether to ascertain if he should be a Hall of Famer or not.
The endorsement was clear.
“He’s a Hall of Famer for me,” Girardi said (h/t Philadelphia Inquirer). “He hit 351 home runs. He was rookie of the year and MVP. You know I looked at some of his years, like the year he went to St. Louis and hit 34 home runs and they had one other guy hit 21 — Joe Torre — and then three guys in the teens and nobody hit more than that. So you’re talking about a dead era and you’re talking about a pitcher’s ballpark.”
Allen spent nine of his 15 MLB seasons with the Phillies, hitting 204 of those 351 home runs and making three of his seven career All-Star appearances while in Philadelphia.
He was one of the premier players of his time from 1963-1977, yet the call to Cooperstown has long alluded him. Eighteen times his name appeared on Hall-of-Fame ballots, 18 years he did not get the nod.
It’s a decision that Girardi now finds egregious thanks to some in-depth research.
“I looked something up and from 1964 to 1974, he had a higher wins-above-replacement (WAR) than Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, and Carl Yastrzemski, and we all know how good all of those guys are and they are all Hall of Famers and rightfully so,” Girardi said. “But for 10 years, Dick, Allen was a pretty dominant player, and to have an OPS in your career over .900, I believe that’s a Hall of Famer.”
Allen did, in fact, have a career OPS over .900. His mark of .912 ranks 54th in MLB history and of the 53 in front of him, 33 are in the Hall of Fame, five are active, seven were linked to steroids, and one (Shoeless Joe Jackson) has been banned from baseball for 100 years.
A player who posts 162-game averages of .292 with 33 home runs and 104 RBI should have a pretty good shot to get the call, even if the wait has been excruciatingly drawn out.
“Maybe he doesn’t have 500 home runs and maybe he doesn’t have 1,500 RBIs, but the man hit .300 seven times, he was an All-Star, he was an MVP, he was a Rookie of the Year — I would vote for him,” Girardi said. “And his first game [in the big leagues] was on my daughter’s birthday, so he’s a good guy.”