Dear Mr. Idelson,
I am sending this email in hope that you will read it and then forward it to the members of the various voting and nominating committees for the “2014 Golden Era Ballot.”
I was a former groundskeeper for the Philadelphia Phillies at Veteran’s Stadium for 33 years. I also have been friends with Dick Allen and his entire family for over 40 years.
Around February 2013 I received a phone call from Dick Allen Jr., who asked me to get in touch with Dr. David Fletcher, who is the Chairman or President of the Chicago Baseball Museum. He mentioned that Dr. Fletcher and the Chicago Baseball Museum, who supported Ron Santo and Minnie Minoso on the 2011 Golden Era Ballot, would in fact support his father Dick Allen in 2014.
I contacted Dr. Fletcher and he did say his Museum would support or campaign for Dick Allen. In fact, he sent me a well-laid out plan with specific details on how he would help Dick Allen. The heading of his newsletter read “Strategic Plan To Get Dick Allen Into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.” It was a very impressive piece of literature.
I mentioned to Dr. Fletcher that I had tried in the past to campaign for Dick Allen but mostly on an individual basis. I told him that Dick Allen Jr. had told me to call him and see if he needed assistance from some Philadelphia people, including myself. He assured me that his people would do most of the work and he would contact me if he needed me. He thanked me for showing interest in Dick Allen, since Dick Allen was and still is highly regarded in the city of Chicago.
After hearing all of this from Dr. Fletcher, Dick Allen Jr. and myself were extremely excited. Now fast forward to late January or early February 2014. I receive another call from Dick Allen Jr. asking me to contact the Museum people to see how they were progressing on the project. Again I send an email to Dr. Fletcher asking about the progress of his Dick Allen Campaign.
He told me that Dick Allen did not want a campaign, so therefore they would do NOTHING to support Dick Allen. As you know Dick Allen is still employed by the Phillies, so they would not go against Dick’s wishes and they too would not support Dick Allen Jr’s dad.
The son became somewhat upset and explained to me that he was tired of his son, Richard Allen 3rd (or Tre as he is called) of having to often hear comments, that yes your grandfather was a very good ballplayer, but not a nice person. In fact, they said, he was a bad teammate and a cancer to all the teams he played on.
He told me that his main objective was to clear his father’s image and that his past reputation was often held against him when it came to the Hall of Fame voting. He felt that his father does have the numbers for the Hall of Fame, especially with the new scientific methods used today such as OPS+.
Now having the support of no one Dick Allen Jr., who is somewhat shy, asked for my help. He knew that by me being involved in baseball for such a long time that I had some contacts of people who could help out.
I was reluctant at first, since I knew his dad wanted nothing to do with a campaign and he would be a little upset if he knew what we were doing. He also knew that if anyone could go out of the box a little that it was me.
I first met Dick Allen when he played with the Dodgers in 1971. When he returned to the Phillies in 1975 he knew that I had lost both my parents at a very young age and that I was on my own after my older sister got married and I was trying to get a college degree. He said to me like a father to his son, “If you ever need anything, don’t be ashamed to ask me.”
Yes, there were times when I was financially strapped and Dick Allen did help me out and for that I am extremely grateful and will never forget. He likes to tell people that I raised that kid, meaning me. I often stayed at his farm in Perkasie, Pa. and spent many days and nights with his three children, his wife Barbara.
Still hesitant to help out, I asked Dick Allen Jr. if he ever saw his father play at the old Connie Mack Stadium. He said that he did, but he was very young at the time. He did say, the one thing he remembered the most was when his older sister Terri said to her mother and grandmother: “Why are they booing daddy like that? Why are they saying those bad curse words?”
Well, I was around for those games and the names the Philly fans called him, the racial connotations and vulgar language was horrific. No man should have been subject to that. How he performed at such a high level in spite of all of that was truly incredible.
Ater hearing that story from Dick Allen Jr. how could I say no? He then asked me to check out a page on Facebook called “Dick Allen Belongs In The Hall Of Fame.” I did in fact look at the page and the total number of people who joined the page or group was about 40 or 50. Needless to say there was not much activity on that page.
For about a month I had talked to some people but nothing was really developing, until an article appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News on March 19 that Richard Allen 3rd, who was a point guard on a high school basketball team in Williamsport, was going to play a team from Philly in a state semi-final playoff game. The story also mentioned that Dick Allen was an All-State player himself at Wampum High School, in Western Pennsylvania and led his team to a state championship.
The article also mentioned that Dick Allen Jr was pushing for his dad’s inclusion into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. It also mentioned the Facebook page and myself.
Almost immediately, the Facebook page, my phone and email account all exploded with people asking to help out. The Facebook page now has close to 2,000 people.
The rest you can say is history as I am sure all of the Historical Overview Committee have received information that was compiled all on a volunteer basis and put together by a PR firm who also volunteered their services.
There is one issue I would like to clear up in closing that may have caused some confusion. The people helping out were told that for Dick Allen to get on the ballot he had to first get nominated by the Overview Committee. We were also told that it was our responsibility to get the names and email addresses for the Committee members. We did in fact have some email addresses, but to make sure they were correct I was told to contact one of the members to see that we did have the correct addresses.
Don’t you think it only made sense to make sure the addresses were correct before we proceeded? The responses from some of the committee members made it seem like I was trying to influence the group in some way. I was not and if you took it that way I apologize, but I never actually spoke to any of the committee just corresponded via email. I would ask that you would not hold that brief correspondence against Dick Allen.
Finally, since we are talking about Dick Allen and the Hall of Fame, let me say, that I do not need to throw numbers at the committee or voters. They have them in front of them and also hopefully have read the wonderful testimonials on behalf of Dick Allen. When people bring up Dick Allen, the first thing that is always mentioned is his tremendous power and rightfully so. I am sure you have heard like I have quotes like “I was there when he hit it over the roof at Connie Mack Stadium” or “I was there when he hit one off of Marichal to dead centerfield.”
The stories of his power go on and on. In our presentation, we included information from baseball historian Bill Jenkinson, who is an expert on home runs and how far they traveled and also has documentation of every Home Run that was ever hit in the history of the game. When he was speaking at a recent press conference he said that Dick Allen was the second greatest slugger in the history of the game,behind only Babe Ruth.
I ask you to please comprehend that statement. Not Willie Mays, not Hank Aaron, not Mickey Mantle and not Jimmy Foxx, but Richard Anthony Dick “Crash” Allen is the second greatest power hitting in this beautiful game that we all love.
The best part of Jenkinson’s press conference was when he said to those people or media in attendance, “If you don’t believe it, you are more than welcome to come up and look into my folder where everything is documented.”
Yes, the dynamic of power perhaps should be included when talking about the Hall of Fame and especially Dick Allen.
Thank you for your valuable time.
Sincerely Mark A. Carfagno.