Dick Allen, Seven-Time All-Star and 1972 American League MVP, Dies at 78

Dick Allen, one of the most fearsome and accomplished hitters of his era, died Monday at the age of 78. Allen’s family and the Philadelphia Phillies, the team with which he spent the most time in the major leagues, announced his death on Twitter. Allen spent parts of 15 seasons in the majors, from 1963-1977, hitting 351 home runs.

“The Phillies are heartbroken over the passing today of our dear friend and co-worker, Dick Allen,” the Phillies tweeted. “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.”

Allen, who spent nine of his 15 MLB seasons with the Phillies and another three with the White Sox, was a seven-time All-Star. He won 1972 American League MVP honors with Chicago and the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year Award with Philadelphia. Allen also suited up for the CardinalsDodgers and Athletics.

Despite a strong Hall of Fame case, Allen never managed more than 18.9% support in 14 years on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot. He fell off the ballot in 1997. Earlier this year, Allen’s No. 15 was retired by the Phillies.

A native of Wampum, Pennsylvania, Allen was a standout basketball player in high school but wound up signing with the Phillies out of high school because of the sure signing bonus. Allen produced at a high level despite the pitching-friendly nature of the 1960s and despite the searing discrimination he faced throughout his career — most notably during a roiling minor-league season in Little Rock, Arkansas, and in his early years with the Phillies.

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SOURCE: CBS News, Dayn Perry