When the name of Dick Allen is mentioned the first thing that comes to peoples minds is his raw slugging power. You will always hear a comment like “I was there when he hit it off the Coke sign” or “I remember when he hit two over the roof.”
Well, believe it or not, there is a gentleman by the name of Bill Jenkinson who became fascinated by Dick Allen’s incredibly long home runs and went on to become a Baseball Historian, with a speciality in home runs and how far they traveled. Mr. Jenkinson has documentation of every home run ever hit in the history of the game. He is the author of several books including “The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs” and another called “Baseball’s Ultimate Power” and has also worked for ESPN and the MLB Network.
In “Baseball’s Ultimate Power,” published in 2010 he ranked Dick Allen 5th in All-Time Power, behind such greats as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, and Frank Howard. But after more research, he bumped Dick Allen up to 2nd, since the others had more at bats. He also called Allen “the greatest slugger in the last half century.”
WOW! What an incredible statement.
Mr. Jenkinson won’t officially say that Dick Allen stands alone as the 2nd all-time greatest slugger. He says the four sluggers are so close that it is basically a four-way tie. I say otherwise.
To me, Dick Allen is a freak of nature. He was an All-American high school basketball player and was offered 103 Division One scholarships. In high school he stood only about five feet, nine inches tall but was able to dunk the ball with relative ease.
In baseball, he swung a 42-ounce bat while growing to only five feet, 10 inches tall and 175 pounds (with a 27-inch waist) and was able to hit a baseball consistently over 500 feet.
In other sports, such physical specimens are rewarded for the ability to do one thing really well. There was the speed of Bob Hayes in football. Dion Sanders in baseball and football. Bo Jackson’s strength in two sports. Allen Iverson’s amazing accomplishments in the high school football and later in the NBA, despite his relative small stature (he was listed as 6-1 but I stood next to him and he was no more than 5-9!).
What does all of this have to do with Dick Allen?
My answer is two-fold. First, let’s start with the other hitters Jenkinson said that Allen was tied with and lets revisit their other sports. Mickey Mantle played football and was offered just one scholarship to the University of Oklahoma. Frank Howard was All-American in both baseball and basketball at Ohio Sate, but because of his height of 6’8 or 9 that gave him an advantage in both sports. He was big and strong and so it was only natural that his homers traveled a long way and, of course, in hoops we know how helpful height advantage is.
As for Jimmy Foxx, he got injured playing football at 17 years of age and just played baseball. So as you can see, Dick Allen was a better athlete than the three other players and because of his size should be ranked second and Jenkinson said that “perhaps’ Babe Ruth hit them further than Allen,” he is not 100 percent sure.
So in summation, lets say Ruth was number 1 and Allen number 2, but still the best of the last half century. I have pleaded with many to please comprehend what Jenkinson has said. Not Willie Mays. Not Willie McCovey. Not Harmon Killebrew and not Mickey Mantle.
But Richard Anthony Dick “Crash” Allen as the second greatest slugger or most powerful Hitter in the history of baseball. The Dick Allen Hall of Fame Campaign Committee will be introducing the dynamic of POWER for Hall of Fame criteria or at least consideration when talking about Dick Allen and the Hall of Fame.
Jenkinson calls power an “Athletic Art” that people come to the ballpark to see. Well, if power is an “Athletic Art” then Dick Allen is the “Picasso” of the Long Ball and a freak of nature who should be rewarded with induction into Cooperstown.