Dick Allen died Monday just days after the Baseball Hall of Fame was scheduled to vote on his candidacy. This year, many thought, would finally be the year that Allen reached Cooperstown.
But the Hall of Fame announced in August that they could not hold their in-person vote because of the coronavirus pandemic. A virtual vote, they said, was not sufficient. So they pushed it to December of 2021. Allen has many backers, but Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt — the greatest player in Phillies history — might be his most prominent supporter.
“A great man passed away this morning, much too soon,” Schmidt said in a statement. “We lost a friend, a teammate and a mentor. Thanks to John Middleton and the Phillies, Dick’s career has been acknowledged as one of the best of all time. Appropriately, no one will ever wear No. 15 again. He will always hold a special place in my career, from watching him in college, then being a teammate, and finally being a part of his number retirement ceremony. Hopefully, Dick’s career will soon be honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Here’s how other Phillies players, executives, and even a Hollywood producer remembered Allen after his death on Monday:
“My dad thought Dick was one of the greatest athletes he ever played with and, up until Mike Schmidt came along, was the best third baseman he had ever seen on both sides of the ball. On a personal level, I remember being in the clubhouse in Veterans Stadium when Dick was playing first base and meeting him and thinking this is the biggest human being on the planet with the biggest hands ever! As I got to work with Dick in the Phillies front office, I started to understand how misunderstood he was when he was in his prime. I offer my condolences to Willa and the rest of the Allen family. He will be joining some very special people in Phillies Heaven.” — Ruben Amaro Jr.
“A lot of people didn’t really know Dick the way me and the guys in the ’70s knew him. We had read all the stuff about how he wasn’t a good guy, but we never saw any of that. Dick was a great teammate and a great tutor for us. He couldn’t have been more open with us as young players and was actually the complete opposite of everything we had read. I’ll really miss him.” — Larry Bowa
» READ MORE: Phillies legend Dick Allen dies at 78
“Dick was one of the greatest power hitters ever. He combined the type of strength and quickness in his hands and wrists that doesn’t come along too often. We will always remember the monster home runs he hit at Connie Mack Stadium. I always enjoyed being in Dick’s company and sharing some laughs with him.” — Former Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter
“Dick was one of those hitters that you wanted to make sure you were in your seat when he was coming to bat because he could hit a baseball so hard and so far. On a personal note, he hit the first home run ever hit in the Astrodome in 1965 when I was running the scoreboard in Houston. Dick’s two-run home run over the center-field fence provided the offense for the Phillies to shut out Houston, 2-0.” — Former Phillies president Bill Giles
“Dick and I were competitors in the minor leagues, but even the opposing players recognized that Dick was a special talent and someone who would go on to become one of the best offensive players of the ’60s and ’70s. He was an excellent competitor and one of the toughest outs in a clutch situation. Every year at the Phillies Wall of Fame ceremony, we visited and Dick always spoke about how much he enjoyed playing for the fans in Philadelphia and how special it was to be an honored member of the Wall. He will be missed.” — Hall of Famer Pat Gillick
“I met Dick when I was 18 years old and have many great memories of him. He was one of the best players of his era and, as such, I don’t think he got the recognition he deserved. There’s no question in my mind that Dick Allen should be in the Hall of Fame! Jean and I send our condolences to the Allen family.” — Greg Luzinski
“I was very sad to hear the news that Richie passed away. I played against the Allen brothers in the minor leagues and I considered Richie a good friend. During my years managing the Phillies, he would sometimes show up during spring training in Clearwater or during the summer at Citizens Bank Park, and it was always great seeing him. Richie and I would sit around and talk baseball and I’ll miss those talks. The Phillies have done a great job at keeping their legendary players around the ballpark, and Richie was someone who always felt comfortable popping his head into the clubhouse to say hello. Missy and I send our condolences to Willa and the family.” — Charlie Manuel
“I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Dick Allen, but the moments spent with him were always life lessons! He came to see me a number of times before I made it to the majors, but you would only notice him if you looked way up in the corner of the ballpark, where you would see a shadow of a man in a sweat suit, a hat and some shades on! That’s when I first learned who he was and about HIS story. Always gracious and always willing to answer any question you had, but if you turned away for even one minute, he’d be gone. Dick never seemed to want any attention, he’d just go see the people he wanted to see and talk to the ones he wanted to talk to and then return to wherever he came from. I am honored to have always been part of that select group of people that he decided he wanted to see and have a conversation with. Rest easy, my friend.” — Jimmy Rollins
“Dick Allen was one of most talented athletes to wear a Phillies uniform. He had prodigious power, tremendous instincts and was driven to win. RIP, my friend.” — Former Phillies vice president of public relations Larry Shenk
“What can I say about this great man? He was like a father figure to me and one of the most misunderstood Phillies ever. I think by now everyone knows he was a tremendous talent and a great player. When I was a coach in the Phillies minor league system, Dick, Pods (Johnny Podres) and Andy Seminick would come to the Carpenter Complex and work with the young kids. These were legends of the game spreading their knowledge to future generations of the Phillies. Dick played a big part in teaching me how to coach and how to handle young prospects coming up.” — Milt Thompson
“It’s a very, very sad day for me. It’s always too soon when you lose a dear friend, but I am going to focus on that beautiful day three months ago when the Phillies retired his number and gave Dick the tribute he deserved. That was Dick’s Hall of Fame moment. I will always be grateful for that day and for the love we shared. I’m gonna miss ya, Old Timer.” — Film producer Mike Tollin
“I feel so fortunate to have idolized Dick Allen as a teenager and then have the opportunity to get to know him as a person. From afar he was larger than life. When my buddies and I went to Connie Mack Stadium, we never left a game when Dick — or Richie as we knew him then — had another at-bat. We didn’t want to miss the chance to see one of his legendary missiles disappear into the North Philadelphia night. He was a warm, gracious, complex man with a photographic memory. Many times we would talk and laugh about some of those memories from the ’60s. And when you got to know him, two things always stuck out: his wonderful laugh and huge hands that propelled his 40-ounce bat. Dick has a wonderful family, and, thankfully, had made his peace with the Philadelphia fans. And, yes, the man was a Hall of Fame baseball player. Someday that needs to be made official.” — Chris Wheeler