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Dick Allen Major League Baseball player
Dick Allen, known as the Wampum Walloper, was once again denied entry into Cooperstown. Courtesy photo
ColumnsInside Information

Once again, MLB fails legendary Phillies star Dick Allen

Legendary Phillies star Dick Allen is not in the Hall of the Fame. And that’s an injustice.

Allen, the Wampum Walloper, long ago captured the hearts and minds of a generation of Philadelphia Phillies fans.

As an 11-year-old, I remember thinking it was so cool a professional baseball player grew up just five minutes away from my hometown of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. In high school, Allen was nicknamed “Sleepy” because he always looked tired.

But Allen, along with his brothers Hank and Ronnie, led their high school to three consecutive state basketball championships. Everybody back home rooted for Allen.

In 1964, Allen, a third baseman for the Phillies, won the National League Rookie of the Year award. After that, he became an instant folk hero in the City of Brotherly Love. Carrying a massive 40-ounce bag to the plate, taking aggressive swings and launching majestic home runs into the night.

Allen played 15 years in the MLB and his career stats were Hall of Fame worthy — then and now. The Walloper, a seven-time All Star, hit for a career average of .292 with 351 HRs and 1,119 RBIs. In 1972, Allen was traded to the Chicago White Sox and was named MVP after leading the league in home runs and RBIs.

Hall-of-Fame pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage said he’s never seen a player have a year as Allen had in ’72.

“Every time we needed a hit, Allen delivered,” said Gossage.

Willie Mays said Allen hit a ball harder than anyone he’d ever seen. Allen cleared Connie Mack Stadium’s grandstands and scoreboard several times.

Only three players in baseball history have hit 10 walk-off home runs and seven inside the park home runs — Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Allen — and he is one of two players in baseball history to hit two inside the park homers in the same game.

Allen’s .534 career slugging percentage ranks him 46th all-time, ahead of Willie Stargell (56th), Willie McCovey (79th) and Harmon Killebrew (92nd). From 1964-74, Allen had a 68.5 in wins above replacement, or WAR, which sums up a player’s total contributions to a team — easily the best of any player of the dead-ball era.

In 2014, Allen appeared for the first time as a candidate on the Golden Days Era ballot for consideration into the Hall of Fame class of 2015. Allen was notified by a phone call in Tampa, Florida, to be ready to fly to San Diego for the announcement.

But “Crash Helmet” finished ONE VOTE SHORT of the 12 votes needed for induction. A second phone call never came. Allen died on Dec. 7, 2020, at his home in Wampum. He was 78 years old.

Just this week, Allen again finished one vote shy of entering baseball’s highest fraternity. That’s just plain wrong.

The MLB and Hall of Fame had a chance to get it right this month, but they blew it. Allen worked his way up from a little farm town in Western Pennsylvania to MVP of the big leagues. The Wampum “Walloper,” deserves a resting place in Cooperstown.

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