A Uni Watch Look at Dick Allen

For most of today’s photos, you can click to enlarge

Former MLB great Dick Allen (shown above at a Phillies game in 2017) died yesterday at the age of 78. History will record that he was the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year, the 1972 American League MVP, a seven-time All-Star, and arguably the greatest player not to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But the record should also show that Allen was an unusually robust character in the realm of athletics aesthetics, with a slew of uni-notable distinctions to his credit. Let’s go through them one at a time:

1. He wore his high school graduating class as his NOB and number

After wearing No. 15 for the majority of his career, Allen switched to No. 60 when he joined the A’s in 1977 for what would turn out to be his final season. He also wore “Wampum” as his NOB. The number/NOB combo referred to him being a member of the Class of 1960 at Wampum High School in Pennsylvania. (Allen was at his Wampum home when he died yesterday.)

2. He wore eyeglasses

Wearing specs on the field wasn’t quite as rare in Allen’s era as it is today, but it was still fairly unusual. He originally went with the horn-rimmed style before switching to wire frames. Has any other glasses-clad player ever won the MVP? I can’t think of another one off the top of my head. Anyone..? (Update: Reader/commenters Tom Pachuta and Dootie Bubble note that Jim Konstanty and Reggie Jackson are also in the ranks of bespectacled MVPs. And now that I think of it, so was Zoilo Versailles. So Allen was not unique in that regard, but his specs still stood out.)

3. He wore a batting helmet in the field

Embed from Getty Images

Long before John Olerud became known for going hard-hatted while playing first base, Allen had already made that style one of his visual signatures. He began doing it in the 1960s while playing for the Phillies, because the local fans often threw ice, batteries, and other projectiles at him, and he continued doing it for the rest of his career.

4. He created his own memorial armband — for his agent

I didn’t know about this one myself until yesterday. I was doing photo research for this blog entry and came across the photo shown above (dated Sept. 15, 1976), which shows Allen wearing a black armband while teammates Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt are armband-free. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I tweeted it and tagged my Allen biographer Mitch Nathanson, who quickly responded, “He had that affixed himself to commemorate the death of his agent, Clem Capozzoli. A member of the Veterans Stadium grounds crew sewed that on.”

Capozzoli, who was one of Allen’s close friends in addition to being his agent, died prior to the start of the 1976 regular season, on March 28, but Allen apparently didn’t add the armband until midway through the season. He wasn’t wearing it on April 10 or June 10, for example, and the earliest instance of him wearing it that I could find was on July 23. (Footnote: As of Aug. 11, the Phillies had no idea why he was wearing it! Different times.)

Again, I didn’t know about this armband story until yesterday. Fascinating.

5. He wore zippered jerseys in both leagues

Only a handful of MLB teams have worn zippered jerseys. Allen played for two of them in the 1970s: the White Sox and the Phillies. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!

6. He wore white shoes in both leagues

Only a handful of MLB teams have used white as their official shoe color (back where there was such a thing as having an official team shoe color). Allen played for two of them toward end of his career: the 1975 Phillies (who went white-shod as a one-season experiment that was quietly abandoned the following year) and, of course, the A’s.

7. He wore chain-stitching with three different teams

Only a handful of MLB teams have used chain-stitching on their jerseys. Allen played for three of them: the Phillies, the Cardinals, and the White Sox. (The Sox stitching is harder to see because it’s just the white “White Sox” lettering on the tail underneath the script. You can see the texture of the stitching more clearly on this game-used jersey.)

8. He always went long-undersleeved

If you look at the photos of Allen scattered throughout this piece, you’ll see that they all show him wearing long sleeves. “He did that regardless of the weather,” says Mitch Nathanson (the biographer who filled me in regarding the black armband). “He said he needed to work up a sweat, so he’d always wear a shirt or even a jacket under his uniform. There are very few pics of Allen where you can see his arms.”

9. He wrote messages in the infield dirt

I’ll let this blogger tell the story:

By 1969, Dick Allen had basically reached the end of his rope with the Phillies — and the Phillies with him. In August he wrote “Oct 2” into the dirt by first base, which happened to be the last day of the National League season, and the day he would be “free” from the Phils. The next day he scratched “Coke” in the dirt, later explaining that the nearby home-team fans were “getting on me and I wanted to hit a home run over the Coca-Cola sign to shut them up…” The next night he scratched “Boo,” and of course the Phillies fans obliged him. He continued to scratch messages over the next six games. MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn told him to stop, prompting Allen to scratch “Why?” and “No” into the dirt. The next day, an umpire stopped the game and told him to stop, and erased the message and played on. [Allen later responded] with “Mom,” because she was “the only one that could tell me what to do…”

10. He smoked in the dugout (and on the cover of Sports Illustrated!)

I certainly don’t mean to make light of a serious public health hazard, but that SI photo is arguably the greatest cover in the magazine’s storied history. I also like this shot of Allen smoking while wearing a batting glove:

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Now that’s what I call a very uni-notable career!

And there’s more: While working on this piece, I came across some additional photos of interest. Let’s start with these, which show Allen on his high school hoops team at Wampum High:

Then there’s this one, which shows him in the early 1960s with the minor league Elmira Pioneers — his first pro team:

Here’s another minor league shot, this time from 1963, when Allen was with the Arkansas Travelers:

There’s a lot to parse in that photo. For starters, the helmet appears to be flocked. Second, the helmet logo is clearly the Athletics’ Gothic “A,” even though the Travelers were a Phillies farm team. (Then again, the A’s had been a Philly-based team less than a decade earlier, so maybe the Travelers were intentionally trying to evoke that semi-recent Philly connection.) And third, Allen’s undershirt is blue at the collar but red at the sleeves! He must have been wearing a dickie, but it’s odd that the colors didn’t match (or maybe this was a colorized black-and-white photo and the colorization was inconsistent). So many uni-notable details in a single photo!

Finally, there’s this really nice photo of Allen posing with his 1964 Topps All-Star Rookie trophy:

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The Phillies retired Allen’s No. 15 earlier this year, and lots of fans and former players have been beating the drum for his Cooperstown induction for many years now. His stats surely merit that honor — here’s hoping it finally happens. R.I.P.

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Click to slightly enlarge

A new way to “wear” a uniform: The Rockets released this photo of point guard John Wall, who was acquired in a trade last week. If you look at his upper arms, you can see that he has tattoos of the various jerseys he’s worn. Gotta like that!

(Thanks to Chris Hopkins for this one.)

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Masking (video)tape: The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, which governs the state’s high school sports, announced last week that all high school basketball personnel — players, officials, coaches, etc. — would be required to wear masks, and that teams will receive two additional timeouts per game “to alleviate concerns regarding fatigue due to masking.” You can see how a fully masked game looks in the highlight video above, which is from Sunday’s game between Brookfield Central and Arrowhead.

I realize other states or school districts may have similar rules, but this is the first time I’ve seen game footage where everyone was masked up.

(My thanks to Chris Hopkins and Jason Collins for this one.)

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie
    

Great googly moogly, will you look at this. There’s a bunch of history behind this one, so I’ll let the seller explain it:

[This is] a 1950s NFL official’s jacket that was worn by a member of the chain-gang at Wrigley Field. This 100% wool beauty was made by ‘May and Halas’ and is a size 44. Free from any rips and/or tears, this baby has just a touch of wear on the collar of the jacket. On the NFL patch, there are some missing stitches between the blue and silver portion of the patch. The jacket has been perfectly stored and came from a family whose father and grandfather were members of the crew. It is an awesome and seldom seen jacket.

Amazing, right?

That’s a hard one to top, but here are the rest of this week’s picks:

 • Staying with the 1950s Bears, the Monsters of the Midway (Rick Casares, No. 35) were featured on the cover of the December 1957 issue of Sport Magazine. Stories include “The Celtics Look Better Than Ever,” “Why Yogi Wins and Newk Loses,” and “Everybody Likes the Bears.”

 • Here’s an ad (going to say 1930 for this) for Louisville Slugger bats. It refers to Rogers Hornsby being named “the most ‘useful’ player in the National League in 1929.” Mr. Hornsby did have a most useful season in ’29 as these numbers indicate!

 • The auction for this 1980s Cleveland Browns Shoe Duffle Bag ends tonight, so move fast if you’re interested. Notice the front-facing helmet on the side; never seen that view on retail merch before.

 • San Francisco’s Greens Sports Bar offered this Monday Night Football mug back in 1988. The seller indicates it was for a 49ers game against the Bears, which would make it Oct. 24th. The Bears won that one, but the Niners would get their revenge in the NFC title game and go on to win the Supe. Meanwhile, Greens is still in business!

 • Here’s a set of 1972 World Series Commemorative Envelopes featuring the winning Oakland A’s and their NL opposition, the Cincinnati Reds.

 • Here’s a promo football for the late-1990s first-generation CBS Sportsline website.

 • Brooklyn Dodgers fans would stick this window decal on their cars back in the 1950s.

 • Can’t leave out New York Baseball Giants fans of the same era. They’d collect stamps of their favorite players like Willie Mays in this Golden Stamp Book.   

 • The same artwork design was used for the covers of these 1974 Detroit Wheels and Chicago Fire WFL programs.

• And from reader Will Scheibler, what’s not to like about this WLAF poster, showing all of the league’s teams?

Got an item to include on Collector’s Corner? Tweet submissions to @brinkeguthrie.

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ITEM! Magnet raffle: Uni Watch Winged Stirrup Magnets are now sold out. But reader Matt Mosca purchased five of them me to raffle off, and reader Rich Picardini tossed in another one, so I have six to give away.

This will be a one day raffle. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email with your mailing address to the raffle in-box by 8pm Eastern tonight. I’ll announce the six winners tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the winners of yesterday’s membership raffle are Ray Schaefer and Patrick Raven. Congrats to them, and thanks to Erik Papke and Kristopher Stahr for sponsoring this one.

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IMPORTANT “Collect ’em all!” reminder: If you’ve collected all 12 of this year’s monthly Uni Watch Pin Club pins, you’re eligible to get our 2020 All-Star pin as a free bonus.

If you qualify, you must claim your prize by emailing me with (a) your mailing address and (b) some combination of photographic evidence and/or receipts to prove that you’ve purchased all 12 pins. For example, if you order the December pin today (there are 33 of them remaining as of this morning), you could send me a photo of the 11 pins you’ve already received plus your email from Teespring confirming that you ordered the December pin. Or you could wait until the December pin arrives and take a photo of all 12 pins. Or you can simply go to “My Purchases” in your Teespring account and take a screen shot of that. As long as you can prove that you collected ’em all, that’s what I’m looking for, okay? Okay!

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: The Triple-A Syracuse Mets are selling customized bricks that will be placed outside their stadium (from Timmy Donahue).
 

Pro Football News: Washington RB Peyton Barber lost the “4” on his helmet last night (from @leaaves). … Speaking of Washington, they went mono-white yesterday and teased the move throughout the morning and afternoon on Twitter. The first letter of their first nine tweets of the day spelled out “ALLWHITES.” According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, it was their first mono-white game since 2009 (from our own Jamie Rathjen and Dylan Hecox). … Speaking of Washington, ABC News mistakenly used the team’s old nickname in a Ticker graphic yesterday (from Jon Gates and Bryan C.). … Jags DE Dawuane Smoot (No. 94) is the latest NFL player to wear a jersey with the updated Nike tailoring template in a game (good spot by John Thome). … Many Rams defenders have been wearing those custom Tredcal thigh pads this season. Apparently, DT Michael Brockers got those for his teammates as a gift (from Denis Costello). … Speaking of the Rams, a St. Louis hotel still has a Rams-themed Coke vending machine (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … This article breaks down the best uniforms in the history of each CFL franchise (from Wade Heidt). … A Home Alone-themed graphic during last night’s Bills/49ers game showed a Patriots player wearing the team’s current navy home jersey but old silver/grey pants (from Adam Femino).

College Football News: It appears that Oklahoma will be wearing their alternate jerseys this weekend (from Sam McKinley). … Also this weekend, BYU will be going BFBS (from Stephen Freeman). …  The ACC Tracker has been updated to reflect the weekend’s games.

Hockey News: We have our first look at the Flyers’ full Reverse Retro uni on the ice. … CCM has released the pad designs for goalies of many of the teams who will compete in the World Juniors Championships (from Wade Heidt and @OlegKvasha). … When G Patrick Roy played his first game for the Avalanche in 1995, he wore a blank mask and his old Canadiens pads (from Moe Khan). … According to Paul, Northern Michigan’s green-and-gold look makes for a “perfect Uni Watch hockey uniform” (from @artofscorebug).

Basketball News: For the latest in NBA number assignments, check out Etienne Catalan’s Twitter account. … Speaking of uni numbers, the Blazers haven’t given out No. 7 since SG Brandon Roy wore it in 2011, but Roy has given his blessing for Carmelo Anthony to wear that number this season (from Shane Bua). … For good luck, and to bring a bit of Canada to the Raptors’ new temporary home in Tampa, team exec Masai Ujiri placed a toonie — that’s a Canadian $2 coin — under the floorboards of the team’s new training facility (from Andreas Papadopoulos). … Rutgers will be wearing throwback uniforms tonight against Syracuse.

Soccer News: In 2017, the NWSL’s FC Kansas City moved to Salt Lake City and became Utah Royals FC. Now, they’re moving back to Kansas City but will likely select a new nickname because they have new owners. Our own Jamie Rathjen says the team will not play in Sporting Kansas City’s stadium, but will instead play at either Arrowhead or a local minor league stadium. … New logo for Pyramids F.C. of the Egyptian Premier League (from Kary Klismet).

Grab Bag: InsideHook has a piece about an amazing trove of deadstock 1990s caps that just hit eBay. … Too cute: Remington, the medical alert assistance dog for an employee in North Carolina’s athletic training staff, has a plush toy of himself! The toy is also available on Etsy (from James Gilbert). … Rugby union club Toulouse has a new uniform that commemorates French astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s upcoming mission to the International Space Station (from Josh Gardner). … Break dancing will become an Olympic sport in 2024. I would imagine that could make for some interesting uniforms.

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64 comments to A Uni Watch Look at Dick Allen

  • Tom Pachuta | December 8, 2020 at 8:34 am |

    Jim Konstanty of the Phillies wore glasses and was the 1950 NL MVP. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Konstanty

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 8:53 am |

      Good one! Will add to text.

  • Anthony Verna | December 8, 2020 at 8:35 am |

    There’s even a best song about Dick Allen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpgJVDXajQ8

  • Dootie Bubble | December 8, 2020 at 8:40 am |

    Reggie Jackson won MVP.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 8:52 am |

      Ah, yes — good call! Will add to text.

  • gashouseILM | December 8, 2020 at 8:54 am |

    Ellwood City is near Wampum. I remember being in the Wampum gym as a kid. Reminds me of the small intimate gyms in the movie Hoosiers.

    The Ellwood City Ledger had this article on Dick Allen: https://www.ellwoodcityledger.com/story/sports/2020/12/08/death-philadelphia-phillies-great-dick-allen-stirs-up-memories/6478933002/

    Really enjoyed today content on UniWatch.

  • Tom | December 8, 2020 at 9:12 am |

    The A on his Arkansas Travelers helmet is worn by the University of Arkansas baseball team. That could be the connection to the Travelers.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 9:22 am |

      Interesting! Thanks for that.

    • BvK | December 8, 2020 at 11:06 am |

      “The A on his Arkansas Travelers helmet is worn by the University of Arkansas baseball team. That could be the connection to the Travelers.”

      Indeed. Arkansas has used that Old English-style “A” as far back as the early 1930s. The baseball team has worn it on their caps since at least the mid-1980s, and it’s still in use today.

      With the color scheme being basically identical to the Razorbacks’, I’d say the Travelers were piggybacking on the local college team for fan support. Heck, I’m curious if maybe the uniforms are hand-me-downs, since I know that minor league teams, eternally operating on tight budgets, for decades repurposed used uniforms. Those usually came from their Major League parent clubs, but I suppose it’s not impossible to grab the surplus from the athletic department of a nearby university.

      • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 11:08 am |

        Great info. Thanks!

  • Jay | December 8, 2020 at 9:34 am |

    As a Wizards fan (yes, we exist, all 12 of us) I’d never seen those jerseys tatts. Wall must’ve gotten those while injured, which makes him being traded before he ever got the chance to return to Washington even more awful. Clearly the man loves his city.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 10:44 am |

      He usually wears a compression sleeve on his right arm, so it’s understandable that you wouldn’t have seen the tattoos on that side. But as for the other side….

  • Mark Graban | December 8, 2020 at 9:40 am |

    What’s the point of “wearing” masks during the game if they’re going to so often be down exposing the nose and also sometimes the mouth? If you’re going to require masks, maybe require masks that fit?

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 10:12 am |

      I agree it would be better if 100% of the players were wearing the masks properly. But if 70% of them are, that’s still a whole lot better than 0%. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      • Paul Lee | December 8, 2020 at 2:17 pm |

        Agreed, but then it could be argued that it becomes an unfair advantage, like getting more oxygen than their opponents. Take away their additional timeouts for violations and make it a technical foul for each subsequent violation?

        Don’t distance runners and tennis players get penalized or suspended by the governing bodies for taking supplements or drugs accidentally or intentionally tainted with substances that increase oxygen levels?

        But yes, totally agree: it is better than nothing. If only the NFL would do something similar on and off the field then they wouldn’t be losing players every week. Give them extra time outs or longer play clocks or something.

        • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 2:45 pm |

          I was answering Mark’s question. His question was, “What’s the point?” My answer was, “Some masking is good, even if it’s not 100% perfect.” That’s the point.

  • Matt D | December 8, 2020 at 9:44 am |

    Interesting to see that two of three masks in the viideo cover still photo collage aren’t being used properly. Not player blaming. Just thinking outloud about the letter of the requirement versus the reality of what mask wearing during a game might actually be.

    Also have noticed what seems to be a trend of sports-related news story teaser photos showing ineffective mask wearing. For instance, on Twitter, I’ve seen a number of stories about CBB programs halting basketball activity and the photo included as a teaser with the Tweet shows a coach wearing a mask ineffectively.

    • Paul Lee | December 8, 2020 at 2:21 pm |

      How much does the NFL fine their coaches and players? $10k? That won’t even cover a hospital stay from COVID, much less lost wages and salaries but at least it hurts their pocketbook and sends a message. Now let’s talk about injuries…

  • Brian | December 8, 2020 at 9:44 am |

    Great piece on Dick Allen. As a Phillies fan, I’m sad and ashamed that he received so much sh!t from the Philly fans. It was great seeing his number retired this year, and I truly hope he ends up in the HOF soon. RIP…

  • Kevin Kurz | December 8, 2020 at 10:45 am |

    As a Flyers fan and UniWatcher, it bugs me that the Flyers reversed colors on the jersey but not on the socks. The sock striping is the same as what they wore in the 80s-90s (https://cms.nhl.bamgrid.com/images/photos/285875548/1024×576/cut.jpg)

  • Nathan | December 8, 2020 at 11:00 am |

    I think Washington’s white-on-white combo is their best look with the current helmets. It’s obviously a bit generic, but it seems more consistent

    • Rob Z. | December 8, 2020 at 11:25 am |

      I agree with you. I wasn’t a fan of the all-white unis several years back; but Washington’s new stripped down look goes great white-on-white.

  • Chance Michaels | December 8, 2020 at 11:14 am |

    That cap article…

    Among the treasures he came away with are a pair of hats for the Milwaukee Does, the first women’s professional basketball team, which was founded in 1979. “I have two hats from home and away of those in mint condition,” 5fivebitz says. “You will never find hats like these in the shape [they’re] in.”

    Wow. I remember going to Does games as a kid, but don’t remember any merchandise.

  • Elvira from Elmira | December 8, 2020 at 11:17 am |

    Re: Dick Allen’s minor-league uniform.

    I’d love to see a full-frontal of this. Does this jersey actually say “Phillies Pioneers?” And how is the Pioneers wordmark on the uniform? Is it silk-screened, tackle-twill, or did the Phillies’ organization pay to chain-stich it?

    • Chance Michaels | December 8, 2020 at 2:46 pm |

      Looks like they got hand-me-down uniforms, as so many minor league clubs did at the time. But chain-stitching is harder to remove than felt, so they probably just slapped the team name right below the “Phillies” wordmark.

  • Terbacky | December 8, 2020 at 11:19 am |

    The World League had such tremendous ambition, but I’m amazed that the U.S. franchises did not lead to actual NFL teams locating there; the closest is the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte (a couple of hours south of Raleigh and Durham.

    Loved the R-D Skyhawks logo, though!

  • TJB | December 8, 2020 at 11:28 am |

    Great tribute, he deserved HOF honors during his lifetime. Nice that the Phillies honored him last summer.

  • BvK | December 8, 2020 at 11:53 am |

    Paul, I echo the many voices this morning that have given you kudos on the great uni retrospective on Dick Allen. Fascinating stuff!

    Most of this information was new to me. As a baseball fan, I’ve long been aware of Dick Allen but have been largely unfamiliar with just how great of a ballplayer he really was. Based on what I’d seen written about him, I’d honestly thought of him in the same vein as Dave Kingman, Don Baylor, and George Foster – guys who had some nice seasons and impressive power numbers in their primes, but maybe who didn’t produce at quite a high enough level for long enough to be Hall of Famers.

    I’m as much to blame as anyone for not digging deeper on his career. But I can’t help but wonder if the media bias Allen experienced during his playing career didn’t have a longer-lasting effect that influenced how many of us in the generation that’s just a little too young to remember him in his prime view him. Seeing now how favorably his production compares to his contemporaries in the offense-challenged era of the late ’60s and ’70s, he definitely deserved more recognition from press than he got.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 12:38 pm |

      Fair points, Kary. But to be fair on the other side, the press votes for the ROY and MVP awards — both of which Allen won during his career!

      In any event, glad you enjoyed today’s piece. I greatly enjoyed putting it together — and as noted in the text, I learned a bit myself along the way!

      • BvK | December 8, 2020 at 2:10 pm |

        Excellent counterpoints, Paul, and it’s a good reminder that Allen did receive recognition in his career. Rereading my comments, I feel like they come across as “blame the media!” more than I intended. Perhaps the better target would be the underlying systemic issues with racial bias (often unconscious in nature, but sometimes most decidedly conscious) that affected much of society at the time, including certain individuals in the media.

    • Nate | December 8, 2020 at 1:05 pm |

      I think his biggest problem for his Hall of Fame candidacy is that his offensive peak came in an era of very suppressed offense. He also didn’t play for all that long. So, his counting stats are below where you might expect an offense-first Hall of Famer. However, his stats with respect to the rest of the league at the time he played certainly make him an excellent candidate.

      • RS Rogers | December 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm |

        All good points, and it makes me wonder whether second thoughts about Allen played into Kirby Puckett’s election in 2001. Similar story of a player whose shorter career meant relatively low cumulative stats, but excellent ratio stats and favorable comparison to active peers in the years he did play.

        • BvK | December 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm |

          I thought of Kirby in connection with Dick Allen’s candidacy, too. I wonder how much it mattered that Kirby was highly popular during his playing days, not only with the home fans, but far beyond Minnesota as well. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that he won two Word Series titles and had an infectious smile and an ebullient personality.

          Dick Allen, on the other hand, came up during an era when the public at large was still adjusting to the idea of racial integration in Major League Baseball and when civil rights were a significant flashpoint for the country. It was threatening to certain members of a less racially enlightened society to have a Black man stand his ground and demand to be treated with decency and respect, like Allen did.

          Despite being universally well-regarded by his teammates, I wonder how much of Allen’s personality to push back against those expectations of him in the prevailing culture affected how he was viewed by the public. And in turn, how that might have affected attitudes toward him by Hall of Fame voters. I’ll admit that my perception of him was of something of a malcontent, based on what I’d read, before I did my own research. And we certainly know that perceptions of a player’s personality can affect can affect Hall of Fame voting when the candidate might not otherwise be an obvious first-ballot inductee.

        • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 7:27 pm |

          I generally agree with all this, Kary.

          But in the interests of accuracy/fairness/etc.: He was apparently not “universally well-regarded by his teammates.” While researching today’s piece, I found some articles indicating that some players on the 1976 Phillies (Tug McGraw is the only name I specifically remember) had beefs with him.

          I think it would probably be fair to say that he was a complicated man, playing during complicated times, and prompting complicated reactions.

    • TJB | December 8, 2020 at 1:13 pm |

      Another thing to remember about Allen is that he played much of his career in pitcher friendly ballparks (Busch, Comiskey, Oakland Colisseum, Veterans…) which makes his power numbers even more impressive.

      • marchingkazoo | December 8, 2020 at 3:30 pm |

        I’m not sure you can blame Busch Memorial Stadium The First for Allen’s lack of eye popping numbers. In his only year here, he hit 34 home runs, drove in 101 runs with only 128 hits and a .279 average. Look, he didn’t like us and we didn’t like that he wasn’t Curt Flood. But his production here was respectable, which I’m inclined to conclude was true of his production elsewhere. Your mileage may vary.

  • Bob P | December 8, 2020 at 11:56 am |

    Dick Allen photo #3 above was taken on Sunday, August 29, 1971. That was the only Dodgers-Mets day game at Shea in 1971 where Allen played first base.

    The umpire is Ed Sudol, and I’m pretty confident the Mets’ runner is young Ken Singleton, who was 3-for-3 wit a walk in the game. The Mets won the game, 4-3, on a walk-off pinch-single by Tommie Agee.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 12:40 pm |

      Good sleuthing!

      • Norm | December 8, 2020 at 5:13 pm |

        That is the first time I can recall seine the Dodgers road unis with the shoulder stripe. I can only track this down to 1971.

        • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 5:20 pm |

          Correct!

  • Chris Weber | December 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm |

    How in the world did Wampum and other teams ever play in that gym?! Total phone booth. -C.

  • Jim Vilk | December 8, 2020 at 12:08 pm |

    I certainly don’t mean to make light of a serious public health hazard, but that SI photo is arguably the greatest cover in the magazine’s storied history.

    Not even close.

    Ain’t nuthin’ cool about smoking, kids. Nuthin’.

    One of the things I don’t miss about Twitter…mention Dick Allen or Dave Parker and several people Pavlovianly post photos of them smoking in the dugout. As Paul has pointed out today, there’s so much more to Mr. Allen (or Mr. Parker) than that.

  • Dan Pfeifer | December 8, 2020 at 12:43 pm |

    You know it’s a great day when your high school alma mater (Brookfield Central) makes it into Uni Watch.

    That gave me a smile.

    • Dan | December 9, 2020 at 3:24 pm |

      Home of Joe Thomas. I played Joe in an AAU basketball game in 8th grade. Friggin HUGE. Had another guy his size too. They were already about 6-2 and bulky.

      • Dan Pfeifer | December 9, 2020 at 8:26 pm |

        I was a senior when Thomas was a freshman.

        The first time I saw him, I was going into the phys. ed. locker room and he was leaving. My first thought? “Oh, we got a new strength and conditioning coach.” Nope, just Thomas as a freshman in high school.

        They just renamed the football stadium there after him and another famous alum, long jumper Kenny Harrison, who went to school at Central when my sister was going there.

  • Eriq Jaffe | December 8, 2020 at 4:43 pm |

    Dick Allen is smoking and juggling on that SI cover, which may well be the coolest photograph of all time.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 5:07 pm |

      Eriq! Great to see you commenting. Been a long time!! Hope you’re well.

  • C. Brady | December 8, 2020 at 5:48 pm |

    Thought it might be worth noting that Dick Allen was the first African-American professional baseball player in Arkansas.

    Relevant to this site, he also pioneered the wearing of batting gloves, in part to help rehab a hand that he severely cut in an accident in ’67.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 7:23 pm |

      I did not know he was a batting glove pioneer! Will look into that for more info!!

    • Tom | December 8, 2020 at 10:36 pm |

      While playing in Arkansas, he was subjected to unrelenting racist epithets and attacks that, predictably and completely understandably scarred his perspective in Philly, which had only very shortly before permitted their first black player in the major league roster. In his first stint in Philly, he suffered being attached to many of the ridiculous stereotypes held at that time. In Allen’s rookie season, the Phillies brought in reinforcements in their (failed) pennant drive and those players wreaked havoc with Allen and the clubhouse.

  • Valjean | December 8, 2020 at 6:03 pm |

    Is is it just me, or is there something strange about the publication of this article? I checked uni-watch.com several times through the day, but today’s entry never appeared… and still hasn’t. Then I went to look at your Twitter account, Paul, worrying that something was the matter, only to find a functional link here!

    • Valjean | December 8, 2020 at 6:04 pm |

      …and no sooner do I comment, than the issue appears to resolve itself. Was it a weird cache issue on my part?

  • Jerry | December 8, 2020 at 6:21 pm |

    Dick Allen was a true force, particularly with the White Sox. I enjoyed watching him; really enjoyed the City, particularly compared to his experience in Phila.

    But – – if he belongs in the HOF, so does Fred McGriff. Check the stats.

  • Scott | December 8, 2020 at 6:31 pm |

    The first player I remember wearing a helmet playing first base was George Scott. Other ballplayers who always wear or wore longsleeves include Freddie Freeman and Kenny Lofton. Interesting Allen isn’t wearing longsleeves on his 1971 Topps card.

    • Paul Lukas | December 8, 2020 at 7:22 pm |

      Interesting! Watched him play for many years but didn’t realize that about him.

  • Tim | December 8, 2020 at 7:44 pm |

    I never noticed that the SOX on the helmet and the SOX on the uniform the White Sox wore in their “Red” days didn’t match. The squiggly coming off of the O on the jersey isn’t there on the helmet.

    • Tjb | December 8, 2020 at 8:58 pm |

      I can’t find proof or this but somebody told me the S in the cap logo was shaped like a shower head as a promotion for a plumbing company. If you look closely you can sort of see it

  • Patrick in MI | December 8, 2020 at 7:53 pm |

    Great article about Dick Allen today. When I heard he had passed, I was saddened. But then I thought about how Paul would surely have a lead story about him and his uni quirks.

    I like that the ACC tracker included the games final scores on the uniforms!

    At the risk of sounding old, I didn’t know breakdancing was still a thing. It hasn’t been on my radar in 30 years.

  • Tom | December 8, 2020 at 10:44 pm |

    Enjoyed the article about Dick Allen. Nice research. Don’t you get tired of including every bad mark against Philly fans into each incident? Batteries were unfortunate, but they occurred once, in response to JD Drew, having spurned the Phillies in the draft and signed the following year with the Cardinals, in his first game in Philly. If you found articles detailing batteries at Dick Allen, you were probably reading some revisionist version. After that, I was waiting to read Philly fans booed Allen thinking he was Santa Claus.

  • Joshua | December 8, 2020 at 11:10 pm |

    Interesting quirk on that WLAF poster. It shows 11 teams, including both the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks, who only played the 1991 season, and the Ohio Glory, who replaced the Skyhawks in 1992. Weird that both teams are on the poster.

  • Dan | December 8, 2020 at 11:27 pm |

    In the last photo of Allen, with the ROY award, his left eye brow appears to have a scar running through it. I have never noticed that before.

  • Paul | December 9, 2020 at 10:41 am |

    Would like to see Dick Allen AND Tony Oliva in the Hall of Fame. If Baines made it, they both should IMHO.