Seven-time Major League Baseball All-Star Dick Allen has passed away at the age of 78. The baseball star played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies during his 15-year career. Allen earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1964, Most Valuable Player honors in 1972 and seven MLB All-Star Game appearances.
"The Phillies are heartbroken over the passing today of our dear friend and co-worker, Dick Allen," the Phillies stated
"Dick will be remembered as not just one of the greatest and most popular players in our franchise's history, but also as a courageous warrior who had to overcome far too many obstacles to reach the level he did. Dick's iconic status will resonate for generations of baseball fans to come as one of the all-time greats to play America's pastime."
In addition to issuing a statement, the Phillies have decided to honor Allen by retiring his jersey. He will become the first player in the team's history to have his number retired without being inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Dick was a sensitive Black man who refused to be treated as a second-class citizen. He played in front of home fans that were products of that racist era [with] racist teammates and different rules for whites and Blacks," his former teammate Mike Schmidt said.
"Fans threw stuff at him, and thus Dick wore a batting helmet throughout the whole game. They yelled degrading racial slurs. They dumped trash in his front yard at his home. In general, he was tormented, and it came from all directions. And Dick rebelled."
Schmidt has campaigned for Allen's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The former American League MVP finished one vote shy of being inducted in 2014. He will have another shot at next year when the voting committee reconvenes.
Away from the field, Allen had a successful career as a musician. He leaves behind his wife, Willa, and will be reunited with his late daughter, Terri.
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