[Marxism] [SUSPICIOUS MESSAGE] Re: Dick Allen: a baseball player who would not put up with racism

michael perelman michael.perelman3 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 8 09:52:23 MST 2014


Lou, as a distinguished cinematic critic, you should be aware that Dick
Allen was born in tiny village of Wampum Pennsylvania a couple miles
outside of New Castle, where I grew up.

One of America's most distinguished films, the Day of the Dead was filmed
in the mines of wampum.  They are now shooting Scenes for "The Last Witch
Hunter" -- starring Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood and "Game of Thrones" co-star
Rose Leslie.

On Sun, Dec 7, 2014 at 8:13 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> NY Times, Dec. 7 2014
> Weighing the Complexity of a Hall Candidate, and His Times
> By WILLIAM C. RHODEN
>
> Dick Allen may be one of the greatest players not enshrined in the
> Baseball Hall of Fame.
>
> He played 15 seasons with the Phillies, the Cardinals, the Dodgers, the
> White Sox and the Athletics. He won the National League rookie of the year
> award in 1964 for his .318 batting average, 29 homers and 91 runs batted
> in. Over the next seven years, he batted over .300 three times, averaging
> almost 30 homers and more than 90 R.B.I. Then, in 1972, he was the American
> League most valuable player with the White Sox, with 37 homers, 113 R.B.I.
> and a .308 average.
>
> Allen is one of 10 finalists on this year's Golden Era ballot. A 16-person
> committee will announce its decision Monday at baseball's winter meetings
> in San Diego.
>
> "I'm humbled, and I'm embarrassed," Allen said last week in a phone
> interview. "Baseball is a team sport, and for me to go out in the forefront
> is a little embarrassing. Where are the other guys, and what do they get?
> It takes all nine of us to be successful. It's all of us or none of us."
>
> I went through high school thinking that Dick Allen was a sports villain.
> He was often portrayed as surly and combative, though the complexity of the
> man was rarely acknowledged. I had not yet learned to be skeptical of what
> I read and to consider the source before forming an opinion.
>
> "He was his own man, and you weren't supposed to be your own man if you
> were black back in those days," said the Hall of Fame second baseman Joe
> Morgan, one of the 16 members who will vote.
>
> "I played against him a lot," Morgan said. "I was always impressed with
> him. He could hit. He could really hit. It's a hard thing, though, because
> as you know, he wasn't a favorite of the writers. He didn't talk to them a
> lot."
>
> Allen established a defiant tone to his career in 1963 when he was
> assigned to play for the Phillies' Class AAA farm team in Little Rock, Ark.
> He was 21, and the South was an especially brutal place. Allen was
> unprepared for what awaited him.
>
> On opening night, 7,000 fans squeezed into Little Rock's Ray Winder Field
> to watch Allen become the first black player for the Arkansas Travelers.
> There were all kinds of unwelcoming signs outside the stadium. One said,
> "Don't Negro-ize Baseball." The first pitch was thrown out by Gov. Orval
> Faubus, who in 1957 tried to bar black teenagers from attending Little
> Rock's Central High School.
>
> For a young man from Chewton, Pa., the experience was terrifying and
> overwhelming. Allen wanted to go home. But when he made the collect call to
> his mother, she was having none of it.
>
> "She said: 'Put that phone to your ear. Can you hear me?' " Allen
> recalled. " 'God's given you a talent and a place to show it. If you don't
> use it, you're not being disobedient to me; you're being disobedient to
> God.' " Allen said she told him, "Don't you let them drive you out."
>
> During the next two days, Allen took extra batting practice and worked on
> hitting from both sides of the plate. He discovered a resolve that would
> sustain him for the rest of his career.
>
> "If I'm going to die, why not die doing what God gave me a gift to do?" he
> said he vowed in Little Rock. "I'll die right there in that batter's box
> without any fear."
>
> From then on, hostile fans -- in Arkansas and in Philadelphia -- had no
> chance. Allen would not be broken. He would march to the beat of his own
> drummer, convention be damned.
>
> By the end of his stay in Arkansas, fans voted Allen the Travelers' most
> popular player. In 1964, with the Phillies, he was named rookie of the
> year. But during the next few seasons, he battled the Philadelphia news
> media, his weapon of choice being silence.
>
> There were incidents -- a fight involving Allen and a popular white player
> that led to the other player's dismissal. He outlasted two managers. He
> insisted on doing things his way. He was late to games. There were times he
> would have a beer -- or two -- before he played. He dressed in his own area,
> away from the team.
>
> The fans, fueled by the news media, turned on Allen, going so far as to
> throw objects at him in the outfield. Allen made it known that he wanted
> out of Philadelphia. He conducted a two-year campaign to force a trade,
> including waging a 26-day strike that prompted a message from President
> Nixon saying that he should get back to work. Allen said he sent a telegram
> to the president, essentially advising him to stick to running the White
> House. Nothing worked. Allen was too valuable.
>
> A week after the 1969 season, Allen finally got his wish. He was sent to
> the Cardinals in a package deal in which center fielder Curt Flood was to
> head to the Phillies. Flood refused to report to Philadelphia, landing the
> first major blow against baseball's reserve clause.
>
> After an All-Star season in St. Louis and a solid year with the Dodgers in
> 1971, Allen joined the White Sox and had his M.V.P. year.
>
> In 1974, when he was the American League's highest-paid player, Allen
> abruptly left the White Sox in September and announced his retirement but
> still led the league in home runs. The White Sox sold his contract to the
> Atlanta Braves, but Allen refused to report. He was dealt to the Phillies
> in May 1975.
>
> "I could have handled things a little better," Allen said. "But I wouldn't
> have changed a thing. I said what I said, did what I did, meant what I
> meant -- and I'll stand behind every bit of it. "
>
> The Dick Allen story has never been solely about statistics, but about
> perception and forgiveness. Allen said he had long ago forgiven those fans
> in Little Rock and Philadelphia for the insults and epithets.
>
> The members voting in San Diego should follow suit. Let bygones be
> bygones, and give a worthy candidate a long-overdue salute.
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-- 
Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA
95929

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