By The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Fans of former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Dick Allen are urging the team to retire his iconic number 15. As Philadelphia’s first African American superstar and one of the game’s greatest power hitters, Allen deserves to have his number displayed along with Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Jim Bunning and Richie Ashburn.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Mark “Frog” Carfagno, who has been leading a three-year campaign to get Allen elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Mr. Allen has waited a long time to have his incredible accomplishments properly recognized.”
Carfagno, founder of the “Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame” campaign, u ed fans to flood the Phillies front office with requests to waive its policy that only players who have been elected to the Hall of Fame can have their number retired.
Allen fell one vote short of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2015. He is not due to be reconsidered until 2020, when he will be 78 years old.
Carfagno says the Hall of Fame is doing Allen a disservice by placing him on the Golden Days ballot for players whose careers occurred between 1950 and 1969 rather than the Modern Baseball ballot for players who appeared from 1970-1987. Allen’s career accomplishments equally spanned the two eras, says Carfagno.
“Making him wait until 2020 to be even considered is plain unfair,” says Carfagno.
By retiring Allen’s number now, the Phillies would be giving him long overdue acknowledgement while boosting his case for being considered for the Hall of Fame sooner than 2020, said Carfagno.
Since spearheading the campaign, Carfagno has convinced both Philadelphia City Council and the New Jersey legislature to pass resolutions in support of Allen’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Several national authors and baseball historians, including William Kashatus, Mitchell Nathanson, and Bill Jenkinson have written articles and books supporting Allen’s case.
During his 15-year major league career, Allen slugged 351 homeruns and drove in 1,119 runs. From 1964 to 1973 he was arguably the game’s most feared slugger. His OPS+ of 165 (an advanced measure of offensive greatness not available at the time) was higher than 11 Hall of Famers who played during the same time.
Beyond the number, however, was Allen’s incredible power. He hit 20 home runs in his career that traveled more than 500 feet, including 12 at Connie Mack Stadium, leading Jenkinson to rank him the second most powerful hitter of all time behind only Base Ruth.
“This is a perfect opportunity for the Phillies to do something special to honor a player who holds a unique place in team history and in the hearts of fans,.” said Carfagno.