SAN DIEGO - The Phillies might or might not make any trades or acquire any free agents on the first day of baseball's winter meetings.
And they might or might not get a Hall of Famer.
At 2 p.m. today, former Phillies slugger Dick Allen will find out if he's been voted into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown by way of the veterans committee. Allen, one of the best hitters in franchise history but an underappreciated hitter in the game at large, is among 10 candidates on the Golden Era ballot.
A 16-member panel of Hall of Famers, which includes acting Phillies president Pat Gillick and former Phillies teammates Jim Bunning and Ferguson Jenkins, voted over the weekend. Each successful candidate must be on 75 percent of the ballots (the easy math: they must be voted on by at least 12 of the 16 voters).
Along with Allen, Gil Hodges, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, Maury Wills and former Reds general manager Bob Howsam are on the ballot. Allen, 72, might have the best credentials of the bunch, and thus, a very real shot at achieving baseball immortality this afternoon.
Allen hit .292 with a .912 OPS, 351 home runs and 1,119 RBI in 1,749 games. Allen was voted the American League MVP in 1972 while with the White Sox, when he led the league in home runs (37), RBI (113), walks (99), OBP (.420), slugging percentage (.603), OPS (1.023) and OPS-plus (199).
Allen spent nine of his 15 big-league seasons with the Phillies, during which he hit .290 with a .902 OPS, 204 home runs, 64 triples and 204 doubles in 1,070 games. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1964.
Allen was far from a media darling during his playing career. But as the first African-American star in Phillies history, life was far from easy for Allen.
He endure not only boos but also threats during a turbulent time when racism was still very real throughout the country's ballparks.
Allen gave a rare interview to USA Today last week. "This is kind of overwhelming," he said of his Hall of Fame candidacy. "I'm not even sure how this works, but you're almost embarrassed by it. I was booed my whole life, and now to actually have a chance to be in the Hall of Fame, you're humbled . . . This would mean a lot to so many people."
The sheer statistics would make it seem like Allen is a slam dunk - and would lead you to wonder why or how he wasn't voted in decades ago.
During the 11-year run of 1964-74, when he was a seven-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year and an MVP, Allen was clearly one of the best players in the game. And this was during a time when the likes of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Pete Rose were all active.
During that 11-year period, Allen hit .299 (which ranked fifth in all of baseball) with a .386 OBP (fifth), 319 home runs (fifth), 3,005 total bases (fifth) and 775 walks (ninth). Only Aaron (391 home runs, with 283 more plate appearances), Harmon Killebrew, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey had more home runs; only Billy Williams, Aaron, Lou Brock and Rose had more total bases.
Allen's .940 OPS was the second best in MLB during that run (only Aaron's .941 was better). Allen had more stolen bases (110) than both Mays and Rose during that 11-year stretch.
From 1964-74, Allen's OPS-plus (a sabermetric statistic that adjusts for league and ballpark effects) was the best in the game. Allen's 165 OPS-plus topped Hall of Famers McCovey (161), Aaron (159), Frank Robinson (159), Stargell (153), Roberto Clemente (151), Killebrew (148) and Mays (148).
The best 11-year stretch of Allen's career compares favorably to the best 11-year stretch of the man regarded as the best player in Phillies history.
From 1977 to 1987, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt hit .276 with a .389 OBP, .939 OPS, 154 OPS-plus, 399 home runs, 276 doubles and 3,134 total bases. Schmidt had a longer run of dominance - about three more high-production seasons, along with five more All-Star appearances and two more MVP trophies - but Allen surely looks like a strong candidate to join Michael Jack and Richie Ashburn among the Phillies' greatest hitters to be recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.