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PHILLY (Loosely Related to The Philadelphia Phillies)



  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    He was only 55 too. I just assumed he was about that age back when I watched him in DNL like 15-20 years ago. 
  • cutzcutz Posts: 10,127
    Stark: Remembering the greatness of Dick Allen, and what might have been

    By Jayson Stark Dec 7, 2020

    A great baseball player, and a thoroughly misunderstood human being, died Monday. What makes his passing especially heartbreaking is that Monday should have been one of the most beautiful days of his lifetime.

    Dick Allen was 78 when he died of cancer in Wampum, Pa., the town where he was born. It was hard not to think of what might have been.

    Sunday was supposed to be election day for the players on baseball’s Golden Era Committee ballot. Which meant Dick Allen almost certainly would have been voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame that day.

    He was one vote short of election six years ago, the last time that committee voted. So unless something strange happened, this would have been his time, his year, his day.

    And that meant Monday would have been the day of his Hall of Fame press conference — a day which, perhaps, could have melted away some of the many years of pain for a player whose unique ability to crush a baseball is only now beginning to be fully understood.

    But this, of course, was the year the world spun backward. So there was no Golden Era election. Because of the pandemic, it was postponed until next December.

    Is there a way to make sense of how sad it is that Dick Allen will never know the joy of that election day which feels so inevitable now? If there is, I haven’t been able to make my mind grasp it.

    So I’m writing this tribute now because Dick Allen was more than just my favorite player as a kid. He was the first favorite player I ever had.

    He’s a big reason I fell in love with baseball. And I guess that means he had a lot to do with the path that led me to write about baseball for all these years. I’m just sorry I never had a chance to tell him thank you.

    For us kids who grew up in Philadelphia in the 1960s, Dick Allen was a force of nature, a magnetic larger-than-life attraction who was to us then what LeBron or Patrick Mahomes is now to the kids of the 21st century. Except it was in a different sort of way, because it was such a different time.

    So on Monday afternoon, I called my friend, filmmaker Mike Tollin, because no one I know was as close to Dick Allen as he was. We shared some laughs. We shared some tears. We shared so many memories.

    “I don’t know if kids have heroes like that anymore,” he said. “Sports is so ephemeral now. Guys get traded. We know too much. Social media creates a closeness on one hand, but it also takes away that aura of fan to hero, that blind devotion.”

    As kids, the two of us mostly weren’t aware of the racism and ugliness Dick Allen spent those years battling. We didn’t understand the forces that were gradually turning the cheers to that sound that Philadelphians have become so famous for.

    Me & you, we never booed Richie Allen
    I never understood why people did
    He hit a homer every time he stepped up to the plate
    That’s what I remember as a kid
    –  From “Letters in the Dirt,” by singer-songwriter Chuck Brodsky.

    All we knew was that Dick Allen had a gift we’d never experienced before in our young lives. We had a certain idea of what was possible for any human being to do with a baseball bat in his hands … and then this guy came along to show us we had no idea what was truly possible, at least for men as gifted and strong as Dick Allen was.

    So on Monday afternoon, Mike Tollin and I tried to remember all the superhuman feats, all the places we remember Dick Allen hitting all those baseballs that may still be flying for all we know. We conjured up the image of old Connie Mack Stadium that still lives on in our memory banks. Then we brought those monstrous home runs back to life.

    Over the Coca-Cola sign and the Philco sign and every other sign attached to the distant roof above the left-field stands … over the massive tin wall that extended beyond the 447-foot sign in dead center … over the clock atop the towering Ballantine Beer scoreboard in right-center … off the top of what we would describe now as the Phillies’ version of the Fenway green monster, except that it was in right field, not left, and it was a faded silver-blue, not green.

    “He had that aura,” Tollin reminisced. “He created that expectation that the impossible was possible.”

    He was the first athlete of my lifetime, in any sport, who made me interrupt whatever dumb stuff I was otherwise doing, just to watch him swing a bat. I wasn’t the only one.

    “In the days before DVRs,” Tollin said, “he was that guy who, when your mom called you, you said, ‘I’ll be right in … I’ve got to watch this at-bat.’”

    “There was something regal about him,” Tollin went on, “that got me fixated and mesmerized every time he came to bat … That big wool uniform. The number 15. That 41-ounce war club he swung. The way he stood at home plate. The demeanor. The way he chopped wood when he swung.”

    Yep, we remembered it all. We could see it in our mind’s Tivo, so many years later. Dick Allen, man. What couldn’t he do?

    Me & you, we never booed Richie Allen
    No, we’d pound our mitts & we’d yell, “We want a hit”
    How could they call a guy a bum after he’d just hit a home run?
    That didn’t make any sense to a kid

    It didn’t end well. It’s Philadelphia. It almost never does. No need to recap it all here. But it ended messily, with Allen scrawling messages in the dirt around first base: BOO … FREE … NO … WHY? He was a man begging to be traded. In October 1969, the Phillies granted his wish.

    He would bounce to the Cardinals, then the Dodgers, then the White Sox, where he would win an MVP award in 1972, the signature season of his career. Ultimately, he would return to Philadelphia in 1975 and 1976, where he would leave his mark on a core group that would go on to win a World Series four years after he exited — again.

    But it would be more than four decades before all was finally forgiven. This past summer, Phillies managing general partner John Middleton broke with his team’s long-standing tradition and announced that, for the first time, it was retiring the number of a player who was not in the Hall of Fame (yet).

    That player was Dick Allen. That number was 15.

    There were no fans in the seats of Citizen Bank Park that day, sadly. But those who were there could still feel the love — especially No. 15 and the owner who made this moment possible.

    “I told Mike Tollin and Mike Schmidt that day is one of the two most special moments in my 25-plus years of being an owner,” Middleton said Monday. “The other, of course, is the day we won the World Series (in 2008).

    “I also told them,” Middleton said, “that if I were forced to choose just one of those days to experience and forgo the other, I would probably choose Dick’s retirement ceremony.”

    That is a remarkable sentiment to express, in a city that has seen just two World Series champions in 138 seasons of Major League Baseball. But that’s how powerful that day was for a player who never thought he would live to feel that sort of affection and respect from a city that had pushed him away in the prime of his career.

    “Seeing and feeling the impact retiring his jersey had on him and his family is humbling,” Middleton said.

    “Dick felt so alive that day,” said Tollin, who has spent two decades working on a Dick Allen film that was supposed to culminate in his Hall of Fame election. “He had such a sparkle in his eye that day. It felt like the day that (the pain) all went away. There was no bitterness. No animosity. Just appreciation. There was so much outpouring of love, it was truly overwhelming.

    “Then afterward,” Tollin continued, “we sat in the conference room, just him and me. There weren’t a lot of words. Finally, he shook his head and said, ‘Man, I can’t believe this.’ He kept shaking his head. He was so grateful. I really did feel like that was his Hall of Fame day.”

    In a decade and a half on the BBWAA’s Hall of Fame Ballot, Dick Allen never received more than 18.9 percent of the vote. I’ll admit I was one of the 81 percent who never checked his name.

    Back in the ’90s, a player’s counting numbers mattered a lot more than they do now. And because Allen missed so many games — for many complicated reasons — his counting numbers weren’t enough to meet the Hall of Fame standards so many of us had drawn in our minds.

    He never reached 2,000 hits. He was well short of 400 home runs. And voters deducted points for all those games he didn’t play. But we were looking at his career through a prism of that time, not this time.

    Now, we have different views, different standards, different ways to evaluate a player. So now, we hone in on Dick Allen’s staggering 11-year peak (1964-74) and see this:

    BEST OPS, 1964-74

    Hank Aaron: .941
    Dick Allen: .940
    Willie McCovey: .937

    BEST SLUGGING PCT., 1964-74

    Hank Aaron: .561
    Dick Allen: .554
    Willie Stargell: .541

    BEST OPS+, 1964-74

    Dick Allen: 165
    Willie McCovey: 164
    Hank Aaron: 159
    Frank Robinson: 159

    And now, we have Hall of Fame comps for Dick Allen that suggest it’s these metrics, not the counting numbers of yesteryear, that should take precedence. We look at Edgar Martinez, who was elected with “only” 2,247 hits and 309 homers. We look at Larry Walker (2,160 hits, 383 homers). We see the times have changed.

    So when you look at those numbers above, it seems obvious that Cooperstown was finally getting ready to wrap its arms around Dick Allen.

    But a few years ago, the Hall of Fame revamped its Veterans Committees and their timetables. So instead of Allen’s next chance arriving in December 2017, the Golden Era panel was shuffled back another three years to December 2020. Then this year, it was shuffled back one extra year, because COVID-19 was going to make it impossible for that committee to meet in person.

    Sure, it could have met via Zoom, the way the rest of us meet these days. But that wasn’t how it turned out.

    “So in 2014, he missed by one vote — and then, instead of three years … they postponed his next shot three additional years,” Tollin said. “If he’d been up for election in 2017, three years after missing by one vote, there’s a pretty good chance he gets in, right?

    “And then,” Mike Tollin said softly, “he would have had his day.”

    Well, Dick Allen will never have that day. But he did have Sept. 3 at Citizens Bank Park. And the meaning of that moment only grew Monday, for those who had hoped back then it was just the prelude to that next great day in Cooperstown.

    “What is most extraordinary about Dick,” Middleton said, “is, having endured the bigotry and racism he did, it would have been understandable for him to be bitter and angry. Instead, he was filled with love and forgiveness. … His detractors for the Hall of Fame cite his 20-something attitude and behavior, ignoring the unconscionable behavior of too many teammates, reporters and fans, but fail to see that how he lived his post-baseball life is worthy of being honored and praised.

    “He was at peace with himself and his place in the world,” Middleton said. “And if Sept. 3, 2020, gave him more peace, then I am pleased to have played a small part in doing so.”

    Yet we can’t help but think of what these last couple of days could have represented for a man who endured so much. A vote he’d waited six years for. An honor he’d waited a lifetime for. It could have been a day of elation and celebration. Instead, we got a day of tears, a day of mourning and one more day of wondering about what might have been.

  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    Hell yeah - feel like I haven't heard from Gelb in years. Yeah, man, this team is a complete shit show right now.
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    Dave dombrowski 
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    edited December 2020
    So this tells me they are still trying to be in win now mode. Maybe they're not just gonna let JT walk now?
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    So this tells me they are still trying to be in win now mode. Maybe they're not just gonna let JT walk now?
    1. How can you be in win now mode while crying poor due to Covid?

    2. Upside is there's not much of a farm system for Dombrowski to drop an atomic bomb on?
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    The Birds and Phils are completely fucked right now. Thank god for the Morey signing and the Sixers. 
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    edited December 2020
    So this tells me they are still trying to be in win now mode. Maybe they're not just gonna let JT walk now?
    1. How can you be in win now mode while crying poor due to Covid?

    2. Upside is there's not much of a farm system for Dombrowski to drop an atomic bomb on?
    Well that is my point.  You don't bring in a guy like him if you are going to tear down and rebuild, right? Perhaps they are not going down the path we previously thought. 
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    They were never going to tear it down but his skill set to build does not mildly translate to the Phillies situation. I hate it. He guts farms, which they don’t have. Signs big names, which they can’t really afford according to them and even if they could are more than a couple players away and can’t build a bullpen which they need. 

    This organization is lost
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    Never good when the smart guys turn you down so you turn to the old guy
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    I think bringing Dombrowski in tells me perhaps they've had a change of heart in spending department. I don't know why else they'd bring someone like him in if they were not trying to win now. And, yeah, the farm system isn't good anymore so they're only option is to spend, spend, spend. Step it up, Johnny Cigar. 
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    I think bringing Dombrowski in tells me perhaps they've had a change of heart in spending department. I don't know why else they'd bring someone like him in if they were not trying to win now. And, yeah, the farm system isn't good anymore so they're only option is to spend, spend, spend. Step it up, Johnny Cigar. 
    This is what I'm saying. This is more hope, wishful thinking. There were whispers of them trading Wheeler to begin with, they don't have the prospects to trade to bring in even highly paid, talented players from other teams. It's the worst of both worlds - devalue your farm system while signing overpriced guys to be left hanging on the books in future years. There's not a lot of options, and Dombrowski would jam a square peg into a round hole to put a winner on the field this year, maybe. Which for this year would be fine.  But at the cost of nearly everything in the future. I don't like that. 

    And Middleton has not been resembling this 2nd coming of Steinbrenner so I'm not holding my breath.
  • WobbieWobbie Posts: 26,669
    one of the greatest SI covers, ever:

    If I had known then what I know now...

    Vegas 93, Vegas 98, Vegas 00 (10 year show), Vegas 03, Vegas 06
    VIC 07
    EV LA1 08
    Seattle1 09, Seattle2 09, Salt Lake 09, LA4 09
    Columbus 10
    EV LA 11
    Vancouver 11
    Missoula 12
    Portland 13, Spokane 13
    St. Paul 14, Denver 14
    Philly I & II, 16
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    Oh my...first answer to the first question...what was the sales pitch?

    My other job fell through.
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    Ohhhhh now I like the idea of Fuld as GM. Doesn't make up for Dombrowski calling all the shots though.
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    HA. That shitty annoying Rays outfielder for like 5 minutes is the Phillies GM?  Didn't know he was still alive.  Probably pretty smart though, cause he sucked at baseball.
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    I'm two years older than the Phils GM. Fucking crazy. lol
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    Well....actually I was 1 year older than the previous gm. hahah

    These young whippersnappers...
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    Welp. They're at least talking to JT's agent. Better than not talking, I guess. At least the Mets are out of the running. 
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    edited December 2020
    I bet they get him on a decent deal. Economics are so bad right now, whether they actually are or not, and no one likes paying big bucks for a catcher to begin with.
    Post edited by Cliffy6745 on
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    Yeah, from the Gelb article I read they're basically doing the opposite of the Harper attempt - they can't build the pieces around the outside then get the main piece by showing the effort they put in to bring guys in. JT knows all this now, and they can't do anything until they do or do not sign him (the main piece). 

    This has always been my thing - I hate, hate, hate, hate paying or giving up anything for a catcher. I never liked the trade. But at this point that's beside the point.  He's a beast. If they don't re-sign him then it was all for nothing.
  • Jearlpam0925Jearlpam0925 Deep South PhillyPosts: 13,599
    Hey merry Christmas ya filthy animals.
  • F Me In The BrainF Me In The Brain this knows everybody from other commetsPosts: 24,245
    Absolutely guys - hope everyone had a great day.
    The love he receives is the love that is saved
  • Cliffy6745Cliffy6745 Posts: 31,494
    Yes sir yes sir ya sons of bitches
  • eeriepadaveeeriepadave West Chester, PAPosts: 35,091
    Yes sir yes sir ya sons of bitches

    8/28/98- Camden, NJ
    10/31/09- Philly
    5/21/10- NYC
    9/2/12- Philly, PA
    7/19/13- Wrigley
    10/19/13- Brooklyn, NY
    10/21/13- Philly, PA
    10/22/13- Philly, PA
    10/27/13- Baltimore, MD
    Tres Mts.- 3/23/11- Philly
    Eddie Vedder- 6/25/11- Philly
  • The JugglerThe Juggler Behind that bush over there.Posts: 40,009
    I was gifted this beauty of a pint glass yesterday 

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