City council lobbies for Dick Allen to join Hall of Fame

Philadelphia Phillies baseball star, Richie Allen, in uniform, smoking a cigarette. Credit: Charles Bonnay/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.
Philadelphia Phillies baseball star Richie Allen was named Rookie of the Year in his first season. Credit: Charles Bonnay/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

The city council passed a resolution Thursday advocating for former Phillies great Dick Allen to be admitted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The resolution urges the Hall of Fame’s Golden Era Committee, which votes to enshrine retirees who have long been considered but have not yet been honored, to elect Allen as part of the 2015 class.

Councilman Jim Kenney called Allen, a controversial figure who played for The Fightins from 1963 until 1969, and again from 1975 until 1976, “our Jackie Robinson.”

“He played in an era that was ugly,” Kenney said, “and I think he played in an era that retarded his ability to get into the Hall of Fame because of the social aspects of the time, and not the baseball aspects.”

Allen was a lightning rod for racial prejudice despite his stellar performance on the field. The slugger, who was named National League Rookie of the Year after his first season with the Phillies in 1964, was involved in an altercation with Frank Thomas, a veteran white player, the following year. The team released Thomas because of the incident, and Allen became the typical target of racially motivated attacks, both physical and verbal.

He was traded to the Cardinals in 1969 and would go on to win the 1972 American League MVP as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

“If he were here in the league today, I think he would be an awesome superstar,” Kenney said.

The committee will announce nominees in the fall and will vote in December. Honorees are enshrined in July.

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