IT WAS an event not to be missed at the Wachovia Center last night: The Return of Allen II.
The Return of Allen I - which took place a mere 34 1/2 years ago and a few hundred yards due north - marked that of Dick Allen to the Phillies.
Excerpts from the Daily News that week:
* Stan Hochman (May 7):
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and prodigal sons. Slap a $3 head tax on prodigal sons and they could pay for the airport improvements.
Richard Anthony Allen is coming home. Rejoice with me, for Ruly Carpenter has found his sheep which was lost . . .
Carpenter has said bringing Allen back is a calculated risk. So is lighting a match to see how much gas you've got in the tank. It can be exciting, but you'd prefer to watch from a distance.
* Bill Conlin (May 13):
Forgive. It is 1975 and we have seen the agony of Vietnam and the disgrace of Watergate. Dick Allen didn't send anybody to slaughter but a few dozen pitchers. His behavior has been felonious only within baseball's narrow code . . .
At 7:35 tomorrow night he will go out to play first base. Shortly thereafter he will once again step in as baseball's most awesome power hitter.
We will start to write a new chapter in the Dick Allen Story and my notebook is clean.
* Hochman (May 15):
In the first inning, Dick Allen came to bat, awash in wave of cheers, Irvin Chew, a bartender in Super Box 426, studied the television monitor intently. "I hope he makes me a liar," Chew said, "but I think he might demoralize the team."
Allen singles, the crowd exults. Chew smiles. "Gets all three outs in the first inning and a hit first time up. You can't beat that with a brick."
Allen appears at a mass press conference in handsome civilian clothes, a brown leisure suit with leather inserts. "It was just plain terrific," he says of the reception. "You don't know what it means to me. It's a different atmosphere altogether."
- Bob Vetrone Jr.