Thursday, April 20, 2017
no. 650 - rich allen
Who is the man: This is "Rich" Allen's first and only Topps flagship card picturing him with the Dodgers. He does appear on a few oddball issues from the time in a Dodger uniform (such as 1970 Topps Super and 1971 Dell Stamps).
Can ya dig it: One of the finest Los Angeles Dodger cards for my money. There is a nice view of Dodger Stadium in the background as Allen poses on the on-deck circle (or as if he's on the on-deck circle). What appears to be the knee of the photographer is at lower left.
Right on: This is the second of three Topps card in which Allen is referred to as "Rich," which is what his signature read at the time. Despite that, Topps called him "Richie" from 1964-69. He became "Dick Allen" on Topps cards in the 1973 set. (Allen complained about being called "Richie" as early as his rookie year).
You see that cat Allen is a bad mother: Allen won the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year Award with the Phillies and the 1972 American League MVP award in his first year with the White Sox.
Shut your mouth: Allen was involved in an ugly incident with teammate Frank Thomas in 1965 that started the friction with Philadelphia fans that lasted until he was traded four years later. Allen objected to a remark that Thomas made during batting practice and words led to Allen punching Thomas and Thomas hitting Allen with a bat. Thomas was waived after the game, angering Phillies fans, who blamed Allen for the incident. Five days after the blow-up, Allen hit his first career grand slam, a blast off of a 75-foot high scoreboard at Connie Mack Stadium. The same fans who booed him during the game gave him a standing ovation.
No one understands him but his woman: In September of 1974, a year in which Allen led the AL in home runs, he announced his retirement to his teammates. But Allen never filed the proper paperwork. The White Sox traded him to Atlanta in December, but Allen refused to play there and was traded from the Braves back to the Phillies.
(A word about the back): I'm thinking that's an earlier photo of Allen. He's not wearing the mustache he displays on the front of the card.