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The Naming of The Twins: Nov. 26, 1960

On this day 54 years ago, Calvin Griffith announced his decision to name the new Minnesota franchise that was relocating to the Minneapo...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Twins Killers, Vol. #1: Dick Allen Hits Two Inside The Park Homers (With Video!) At The Met

TWINS KILLERS will be a semi-regular series, profiling the greatest performances AGAINST our Minnesota Twins. One day performances, career logs (See Jim Thome) will be fodder for posts. If you have suggestions, the Editorial Politburo would love to hear 'em - leave thoughts in "Comments." Special thanks to our friends at that humdinger of a site,  Dick Allen HOof F,  for great photos, and the accompanying Vimeo video.

Book excerpt link added, Friday, January 3, 2014

On July 31, 1972 (BBRef Box). Dick Allen accomplished the feat of hitting two inside-the-park homeruns in one game at Met Stadiumsomething that has occured only one other time since in baseball history (by a Twins infielder named "Greg," by the way). He had long been thought by the MLB establishment as being among the most talented players and hitters of his generation. An iconoclast. A man who marched to his own drum (code language for "he's could be kind of an odd duck - or "dick," if you'll pardon the pun). Being an individual was one of the fastest ways a player could make himself suspect, and subject himself to scrutiny. Now, we can live with players like Nyjer Morgan, Cliff Lee, Ichiro Suzuki - players who march to their own beat - and nobody thinks much about it. Not so for players in the 60's and 70's, however! 

 "See Dick run. Run, Dick, run (for another tater)."

The truth was complicated: while many believed he was a polarizing figure in the locker room (disputed by "brawl" link, below), who often punched the time clock late, he was also a gentle, soft-spoken man who was far more comfortable in the company of his horses than with general managers, and some of his team mates (see "Frank Thomas" and  "1965 brawl with Allen") who didn't cotton to his brand of individuality.  And he was arriving in Chicago not long after the Curt Flood verdict, a further signpost of the impasse and power imbalance between owners and players.

 It was the era of bad-ass anti-heroes. For us little, ten year-old boys from the midwest, he was a Clint Eastwood, or more accurately, a Richard Roundtree "Shaft" come to life with a 40-ounce bat. He had been the NL Rookie of The Year in 1964, and after another seven stormy years with the Phils, Cardinals, and Dodgers, he was in the midst of an MVP, career year with the Chicago White Sox. He had changed leagues at a time when players rarely did. Not only had Allen joined the Junior Circuit, but Nolan Ryan had also come over that season from the Mets, incidentally. You'd see these National League studs only in the All-Star Game*, or the Game of The Week, on Saturday afternoons. And, without a doubt, he sure added excitement to the previously static, and more white-faced American League in 1972. A new book on Allen and the White Sox, "October, '72" is out, go to the link for an excerpt.

* - See Tony Oliva playing centerfield on hit, Dean Chance pitching! Check out this 1972 AS Game footage too!

It was just after the players strike, and MLB was in need of some positive press. He was a perfect athlete, a multistar athlete back in his hometown of Waumpum, PA, possessing incredible, compact power for a man a hair under six feet, and less than 200 pounds. Just watch the swing he puts on his second HR, waving that 38-40 oz. bat like a wand.

Did Glenn Borgmann have an alternate nickname..."Lynn?"

The 1972 White Sox hit 107 homeruns, total. Dick Allen? 37. Yup, over 1/3 by himself...MVP!

The video pretty much tells the story! Watching the backhanded play by Bobby Darwin, and you're liable to conclude he was a fielder with terrible instincts. He really wasn't! For 1972, in particular, he was just a shade under the league average, fielding percentage-wise, as an outfielder (see averages at CF and RF, where he received most of his innings). This article the next day helps explains Darwin's dilemna:

(ABOVE) An all-round, excellent ballplayer, baserunner
- Photo courtesy Dick Allen HOF site-

That season, the Commiskey Park organist played
"Jesus Christ, Superstar" whenever Allen came to bat.
- Photo courtesy Dick Allen HOF site-

Allen Splits - 1972 G AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
Minnesota Twins 11 43 3 10 2 10 1 14 .233 .250 .395 .645 17
Generated 7/31/2013. 

And there you have it...the sum total of long balls Allen generated versus the Twins for the entire '72 season! The Twins pitching staff and Bert Blyleven could at least brag he never took them over the wall! Check the fine table of inside-the-park homeruns at Baseball Almanac.

To quote the great Herb Carneal: "So long, everybody."

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