SAN DIEGO - When the news was announced, the only thing missing was a sound Dick Allen was more than familiar with a half-century ago, the verbal calling card of Philadelphia sports fans.
Baseball's winter meetings began yesterday when officials from the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that no one among the 10 candidates had been elected by the Golden Era Committee this year.
One supporter hollered out "No!" when the results were read aloud during a late-morning press conference. Another sighed throughout the explanations that followed.
No matter what was said after the fact, they couldn't erase the words that held the most weight yesterday. Allen, the former Phillies slugger who was a seven-time All-Star, came one vote shy of punching a permanent ticket to Cooperstown.
"It was numbing," said his son, Richard Allen Jr., who was among a contingent that came to San Diego hoping to receive good news. "I thought he really, really had a good shot. But I guess not. I guess there are some things he's missing."
Allen, 72, and nine other players from baseball's Golden Era (1947-72) were considered by a 16-member Hall of Fame panel that included Phillies interim president (and Hall of Fame executive) Pat Gillick. 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 were on the ballot.
To be elected, a candidate needed to be named on 75 percent of the ballots (12 of 16). Each voter could list no more than four candidates on his ballot.
Allen and Oliva each received 11 votes, one vote shy of election.
"It shows how difficult it is to earn a plaque in Cooperstown," Gillick said.
"From most deserving that's not in, to one vote," the younger Allen said. "It's a disappointment."
Allen will have to wait another 3 years, when the Golden Era ballot is revisited. Next year, the Pre-Integration candidates (pre-1947) will be considered; in 2 years, the Expansion Era, from 1973 on, will get its turn with the Hall's appointed committee.
This was the first time Allen's name appeared on a veterans committee ballot.
"That's something, but you know, by then there might be another candidate that comes along that trumps that," Allen's son said of getting another shot in 2017. "Three years, he might miss by three [votes]. You get in when you can get in. This was a good shot.
"Maybe in the next 3 years, people will see things they didn't already know. There was some things that I didn't know that I've found out in the last month."
Allen won National League Rookie of the Year honors in 1964 with the Phillies, with whom he spent nine of his 15 seasons. As a Phillie, he was a three-time All-Star and batted .290 with a .902 OPS, 204 home runs, 64 triples and 204 doubles in 1,070 games.
He was voted the American League MVP in 1972, while with the White Sox, when he led the league in home runs (37) and RBI (113). Overall, Allen hit .292 with a .912 OPS, 351 home runs and 1,119 RBI in 1,749 career games.
During an 11-year stretch from 1964 to '74, Allen was easily one of the top players in baseball. During that stretch, he hit .299 with 319 home runs, fifth in each category over that time. Allen's .940 OPS during that 11-year run was second only to Hank Aaron (.941) and his 165 OPS-plus (a sabermetric statistic that adjusts for league and ballpark effects) was the best in the game.
Allen is considered my many - including former Phillies groundskeeper Mark "Frog" Carfagno, who helped spearhead the Allen Hall of Fame campaign - as the best living player who doesn't have a plaque in Cooperstown.
"To me, he's the next man in," said Carfagno, decked out in a Phillies throwback Dick Allen jersey. At one point yesterday, Carfagno broke down and walked away from reporters.
Allen's productivity on the field and worthiness for Hall consideration is easy to see. Just glance at the back of his baseball card.
But he was a polarizing figure. Allen wasn't shy with his temper during his playing days in Philadelphia.
Then again, he played during a time when racism was prevalent in big-league ballparks - including his own.
"A lot of people overlook that and say all players dealt with something," Allen's son said yesterday. "But I've always said not too many players had to deal with it at home where you had to where a helmet [in the field]. You would think that treatment would be on the road, but at home?"
Despite the disconcerting distractions, Allen continued to perform at a high level. Perhaps one day, he will be enshrined with the game's greatest players.
But that day wasn't yesterday, when he came a crushing one vote shy of induction.
"I really thought we'd get one or two [new Hall of Famers] for sure," said Gillick, who along with former Allen teammates Jim Bunning and Ferguson Jenkins were among committee's 16 members with Phillies ties. "But let me say this, I wasn't disappointed in the discussion. I wasn't disappointed with the process. I wasn't disappointed in the professional manner the committee approached this.
"As you know, this is the first time Dick was on the ballot and he got 11 votes, so I think if anybody had any concern about any [bad] press was associated with Dick, I think that was not a concern."
Meanwhile, while Allen stays out of the process and quietly goes about his life, his friends and family will rally to his support in 3 more years.
"When the All-Star Game was in Baltimore [in 1993], they honored the Negro Leaguers," his son said. "I'll never forget, we walked through the lobby, and [Ted] Double Duty Radcliffe, he yelled, said, 'Come here, come here!' and my father went over and shook his hand. Radcliffe went on to say, 'You know what, you could have played with us.'
"After that, [my dad] turned to me and said, 'Hall of Fame, I don't need it. That right there, something from him, that I could have played with them? I'm good.' "