By Rich D’Ambrosio
The Philadelphia Phillies’ first black superstar, Dick Allen was one of the most feared hitters in baseball in the 1960s. In an era dominated by pitching, he slugged some of the most prodigious home runs and quickly become one of the most exciting players in the game, though he was soon shrouded in controversy.
The Phillies had high hopes as they gathered in Clearwater, Florida, for spring training in 1964. They had acquired a bona-fide ace pitcher in Jim Bunning, were coming off an impressive close to the year before, in which they had the best record in all of baseball in September, and were stocked with bright young stars. All eyes, however, were fixed on a young slugger from a tiny hamlet in western Pennsylvania with the broad shoulders and narrow waist of a Greek Olympian. He did not disappoint.