The Dick Allen T-Shirt Project

In the fall of 2016, a group of supporters from the Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame campaign staff met with administrators from both the Philadelphia Public and Parochial School Systems. The premise of our meeting was to point out that most high school students in the Philadelphia area certainly know what the number 42 represents in Major League Baseball, that, of course, being the number worn by Jackie Robinson, the first African American ever to play in the Major Leagues.

As a result of his courage and the rough road he had to endure, Robinson’s number 42 was retired by Major League Baseball.  Also, a movie “42” was made in honor of this black hero.

However what the students did not know was that the City of Philadelphia had their own version of Jackie Robinson in Dick (then called) Richie Allen in the early to mid-1960’s. In the spring of 1963, the Philadelphia Phillies organization sent Allen to Little Rock, Arkansas to play for their Triple A team. At the time, Little Rock was considered by many people to be the most racist city in the most racist state in the country.

Allen was the only African American player on the team and was subject to death threats, vandalism and verbal abuse and was not allowed to stay in the same hotel as his teammates. Somehow, he persevered and finished the 1963 season as the Arkansas Travelers MVP.

The following year, Allen became the first African American baseball superstar to play for the Phillies. The city of was also going through bad racial times and Allen was not treated very nicely by the mostly white fans of Philadelphia, Yet again, he excelled on the field and was named the 1964 National League Rookie Of The Year.

In 1965, Allen was involved in a fight with a white teammate Frank Thomas after Thomas continued to bait his black teammates with racial epithets. Allen had enough; when he approached Thomas he was held back by teammates. Suddenly, Thomas took a bat and hit the defenseless Allen on the shoulder.

The Phillies immediately released Thomas, who was an aging veteran, and kept Allen, who was ordered by the Phillies organization to keep his mouth shut or he would be fined heavily. Unfortunately, Thomas was very popular in Philadelphia and had his own radio show. The next day he went on the air and blasted Dick Allen.

Not surprisingly, many white fans simply looked at it as keeping the black guy and getting rid of the white guy. For it a city already suffering from racial tensions, it was a turning fans point in Allen’s’ career. From that day, Allen had a huge target on his back.

Fans booed him unmercifully at every home game. They threw objects at him, which is why he began wearing a battlinghelment while playing defense. One day, someone even threw a smoke bomb at him while playing third base at old Connie Mack Stadium.

Despite all these distractions,  Allen continued to play at Hall of Fame level. He eventually was traded in to the St. Louis Cardinals and played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox (where he was AL MVP in 1973) before returning to the Phillies in 1975, helping them win the 1976 National League East Championship.

Allen finished his career as a seven-time All-Star, 1964 Rookie of the Year and 1972 AL MVP.

Today, with the benefit of modern statistical analysis, many people feel that Dick Allen belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. However, his refusal to speak to the media during his career and walk to the beat of a different drummer have hindered his chances.

Moving forward,  both the public and parochial school systems liked what we had to offer and allowed us into their classrooms to speak to and educate students about an African American player who we feel is a hero and pioneer who led the way for other minorities to perform in Philadelphia. In the spring of 2019, with the help of former Phillies pitcher Larry Christenson and Allen teammate, more than 1,000 t-shirts will be donated to every high school baseball player in one of three leagues in Philadelphia: Public, Catholic and Inter Academic.

Our hope is to introduce the t-shirt donation to the media during a press conference at a site and date to be determined. We hope that all three school systems can participate in this press conference and promote it within their own boundaries.

The front of the t-shirt reads “CRASH COURSE IN THE CLASSROOM Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame”. The word CRASH is in reference to the helmet Allen was forced to wear, when he was known as “Crash Allen.”

Wearing these shirts will accomplish two goals. One is revisiting what Allen went through in the 1960’s by educating High School Students and the other is to affirm that Dick Allen Belongs In the Hall of Fame.

Sincerely
Mark “Frog” Carfagno
Contact Info: markcarf@verizon.net

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Educating Students About Dick Allen

Dan Baker speaking to high school studentsPhiilles Public Address Announcer Dan Baker educates high school students in Philadelphia about Dick Allen’s career and why he belong in the baseball Hall of Fame. This is our third year of going into the classrooms making our  #DickAllenBelongsInTheHOF presentation.

Next Wednesday (October 31) we will make our first college presentation at Immaculata University in Malvern, PA.

The past three years have been quite an experience for us presenters. We start off by saying that most students in the classroom know what the number 42 represents. However, what they don’t know was that right here in Philadelphia Dick Allen faced a similar situation.

We are very excited to say that next spring a huge announcement will be made and this high school educational lesson will be taken to another level. Stay tuned for an
announcement in the very near future.

Dick Allen To Receive Philadelphia Legacy Portrait Award

This Sunday September 30th at the Victorian Ballroom in the Germantown section of Philadelphia Dick Allen along with several other African American Pioneers will receive the Philadelphia Legacy Portrait Award.  Richard Allen Jr, the oldest son of Allen will accept the award on behalf of his father who is struggling with some minor health issues. However Dick will make a speech live via Skype.  According to the Legacy website the award is given to people who were Trailblazers who represent a time in Philadelphia history that has been transformed though fortitude and leadership.

Others being awarded is the late Acel Moore, who started as a copyboy at the Inquirer and became one of four Black reporters, including William K. Marimow, now editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer who worked closely with Mr. Moore beginning in 1972.  Trudy Haynes the first Philadelphia Black newscaster brought a face into rooms across Philadelphia. When asked about her motivation in landing such a position, Haynes stated that “because of the lack of Black reporters in the industry. I was never influenced by anyone. My growth and simply brashness on my part.”  Both Acel and Trudy transformed  Philadelphia through their craft and through their influence on their craft.  Tina Sloan Green was the first African American Lacrosse coach and led Temple to 11 NCAA Final Fours and won 3 National Championships and is now in the NCAA Hall of Fame.

Dick Allen was the Phillies first African American superstar. The Phillies had been the last National League team to integrate. Being a Trailblazer Allen had a love hate relationship with Philadelphia. His accomplishments and lasting impact cannot be denied.  Allen hit some of the longest home runs since Babe Ruth and used the heaviest bat in baseball.  Allen finished his career with a .292 lifetime batting average which was extremely high for a power hitter. In spite of the horrid racism he faced in the minor leagues, especially in Little Rock, Arkansas he continued to play at an optimum and now what is being called a Hall of Fame Level. Ironically, Acel Moore was one of the few writers that Dick Allen ever spoke to.

 

Allen Headlines Fifth Class of Negro Leagues Baseball Museum “Hall of Game”

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 1, 2018) – In honor of its fifth induction class, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) has selected five baseball legends to be inducted into its “Hall of Game.” The announcement was made during a press conference held at the NLBM today.

This year’s class includes 1972 AL MVP Dick Allen, multi-year All-Star and Gold Glove honorees Kenny Lofton and Eddie Murray, and electrifying pitchers James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant and James Rodney “J.R.” Richard. The five Major League Baseball (MLB) greats will be inducted into the NLBM Hall of Game during ceremonies at the Gem Theater on Saturday, June 9, at 8 p.m. Hy-Vee, Inc. will be the presenting sponsor for the fifth consecutive year.

Established by the NLBM in 2014, the Hall of Game annually honors former MLB greats who competed with the same passion, determination, skill and flair exhibited by the heroes of the Negro Leagues. The 2018 inductees will join baseball greats from the previous induction classes, which have included legends such as Roberto Clemente, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson, Ozzie Smith and more. In addition to the induction ceremony, Hall of Game honorees also will receive permanent recognition as part of the future Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center being developed by the NLBM at the site of the Paseo YMCA, the birthplace of the Negro Leagues.

“We’re thrilled to honor five former MLB greats this year in honor of our fifth Hall of Game anniversary,” said Bob Kendrick, who has served as the NLBM President since 2011. “These men were truly captivating to watch every time they took the field, and they played with the same spirit, passion and hustle as the men who made the Negro Leagues so special. ”

In one of baseball’s least offensively productive eras, Dick Allen stood out as one of the most dynamic players of the 1960s and early 1970s. Spending time with five teams between 1963 and 1977, Allen twice led the American League in home runs and slugging percentage and once in on-base percentage, while also leading the National League in slugging percentage and on-base percentage for one season each. The 1964 NL Rookie of the Year, Allen earned seven All-Star appearances in 15 seasons, including his unmatched 1972 AL MVP season in which he led the league in home runs (37), RBI (113), walks (99), on-base percentage (.422), slugging average (.603) and OPS (1.023). The first player in the modern era of baseball to hit two inside-the-park home runs in a single game, Allen was added to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park in 1994.

The first black pitcher to both win 20 games in a season in the American League and to win a World Series game for the AL, James “Mudcat” Grant spent 14 seasons as a Major League pitcher, racking up a 145-119 win–loss record and pitching in 571 total games. Earning All-Star nods in both 1963 and 1965, Grant was named The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year in 1965 after going 21-7 for the Twins and helping lead the team to the World Series. Following his retirement from Major League Baseball, Grant dedicated himself to studying and promoting blacks in baseball, releasing his book The Black Aces, Baseball’s Only Black Twenty-Game Winners in 2006 and receiving subsequent recognition from President George W. Bush at the White House in 2007.

Six-time All-Star Kenny Lofton was a dynamic crowd favorite from the start. During his first full MLB season in 1992 he stole 66 bases for the Cleveland Indians, breaking the all-time record for an American League rookie. Playing for 11 franchises in his 17-year career, Lofton spent the most seasons with the Indians, helping the organization win six division titles in his 9.5 seasons. Known as a smart, complete player, Lofton complimented his six All-Star appearances with four Gold Glove Awards (1993-1996) and led the American League in stolen bases five times (1992-1996). Making 11 total postseason appearances, Lofton appeared in two World Series, earning a trip to the Fall Classic in 1995 with the Indians and 2002 with the San Francisco Giants.

Considered one of the best first basemen to play the game, “Steady” Eddie Murray played 21 MLB seasons, predominantly for the Baltimore Orioles. As a mainstay in the Orioles lineup from 1977 to 1981, Murray earned three Gold Gloves, two of his three Silver Slugger Awards and seven of his eight total All-Star appearances. Helping the O’s to a World Series victory in 1983, Murray had his jersey retired by the team in 1998 and was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame a year later in 1999. Just the third player in history to reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits following Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, Murray was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2003.

After making his MLB debut as a September call-up for the Astros in 1971, James Rodney “J.R.” Richard would develop into one of the League’s premier pitchers. Between 1976 and 1980, Richard was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball, striking out an Astros franchise record 313 batters in 1979. Leading the NL in strikeouts in both 1978 and 1979 and in ERA in 1979, Richard won at least 18 games in each season between 1976 and 1979. After starting the 1980 season virtually unhittable, Richard earned his first and only All-Star selection before suffering a career-ending stroke on July 30. Regarded as one of the great talents of his era, Richard was named by two-time National League MVPs Johnny Bench and Dale Murphy as the toughest pitcher they ever faced.

“Each of these players were phenomenal athletes who achieved remarkable stats and records,” Kendrick said. “Buck O’Neil once said of the Negro Leagues that fans couldn’t go to the concession stands because they were afraid they’d miss something they’d never seen before. That’s how these guys played. Fans couldn’t take their eyes off them because they might miss an incredible play. This year’s honorees embody that wonderful Negro Leagues spirit, and we are delighted to welcome as our fifth induction class of our Hall of Game.”

In addition to the Hall of Game inductions, the NLBM also will be presenting the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award for “career excellence in the face of adversity” to the award namesake’s daughter, Sharon Robinson. Just 7 years old when her father retired from baseball, Robinson grew up watching the iconic barrier-breaker embrace key roles in the Civil Rights Movement. Following in his difference-making footsteps, Robinson now serves as the educational consultant for Major League Baseball and manages Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life, a baseball-themed national character education curriculum that helps empower students to face obstacles in their lives.

“There’s no one we would rather honor on this special anniversary year than Sharon Robinson,” said Kendrick. “She’s been a phenomenal voice and champion for diversity in sports and is carrying on her father’s legacy in a powerful and effective way. She has continued to make a positive difference not only in the sport of baseball but also in American culture as a whole. It’s our honor to present her with this award.”

The establishment of the Hall of Game and its annual celebration event holds two purposes: 1) to provide an avenue for the NLBM to continue garnering attention for one of the greatest stories in American history, and 2) to serve as a significant fundraiser to increase the NLBM’s ability to stay relevant with technology and community programming, and to complete the Buck O’Neil Education Center.

“Hy-Vee continues to be a proud presenting sponsor of the NLBM’s Hall of Game induction ceremonies,” said Drew Holmes, senior regional vice president for Hy-Vee’s Kansas City market/southwest region. “We congratulate each of the players for this well-deserved honor.”

The June 9 induction event will include a full day of activities including a press conference, VIP meet-and-greet, reception and dinner at the NLBM followed by the Hall of Game ceremonies at the Gem Theater. The event will be produced by Kansas City-based sports agency Premier Sports Management.

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THE NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL MUSEUM
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and illuminating the rich history of black baseball. The museum, built in conjunction with the adjacent American Jazz Museum at the famous 18th & Vine Jazz District, has become an iconic piece of Kansas City’s social and entertainment culture. The NLBM is a privately funded, 501c3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1990. The museum’s inception brought together the vision of a group of Kansas City business leaders, historians and former baseball players, headed by the legendary John “Buck” O‘Neil. For more information, visit http://www.nlbm.com, and follow the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Twitter @nlbmprez.

This Year’s Inductees:

Dick Allen
• 1972 AL MVP
• 1964 NL Rookie of the Year
• 7-time MLB All-Star (1965-1967, 1970, 1972-1974)
• 2-time AL home runs and on-base percentage leader
• 1972 AL RBI leader
• Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame honoree (1994)

James Timothy “Mudcat” Grant
• First black pitcher to win 20 games in a season in the AL (1965)
• First black pitcher to win a World Series game in the AL (1965)
• 2-time MLB All-Star (1963, 1965)
• AL wins leader (1965)
• The Sporting News 1965 AL Pitcher of the Year
• Founder of the “Black Aces”

Kenny Lofton
• 6-time All-Star (1994-1999)
• 4-time Gold Glove Award winner (1993–1996)
• 5-time AL stolen base leader (1992–1996)
• 1994 AL hits leader
• American League rookie record for stolen bases in a season (66, 1992)
• MLB record for stolen bases in a postseason (33, 2007)
• Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame inductee (2010)

Eddie Murray
• 8-time MLB All-Star (1978, 1981-86, 1991)
• AL Rookie of the Year (1977)
• 3-time Gold Glove Award winner (1982-1984)
• 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983, 1984, 1990)
• AL home run and RBI leader (1981)
• Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame member
• Baseball Hall of Fame inductee (2003, first ballot)

James Rodney “J.R.” Richard
• 2-time NL strikeout leader (1978, 1979)
• 1979 NL ERA leader (2.71)
• 1980 MLB All-Star
• Holds Astros franchise record for strikeouts in a season (313)
• Selected No. 2 overall in the first round of the 1969 MLB amateur draft
• Member of the Black Aces

Allen Joins Ted Williams Museum

Back in February, Dick Allen was among the Class of 2018 Inductees in the Ted Williams Museum. Other inductees included Tony Perez, Ron Guidry, J.R. Richard and Charlie Manuel.

WATCH DICK’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

The Williams Hall of Fame was founded in February 1994 and is housed inside the Rays’ home ballpark, Tropicana Field, in St. Petersburg. Additionally, the Pitching Wall of Great Achievement was renamed in honor of former Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay.

This is another great honor for Dick Allen on his way to the Bajor League Baseball Hall of Fame!