Last week the National Baseball Hall of Fame released the latest "Golden Era Ballot" calling out eight former players and two former team execs from 1947-’72 era to be considered at winter meetings on December 5th.
Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Allie Reynolds, Ron Santo and Luis Tiant were the former players named while Buzzie Bavasi and Charlie Finley were included for their contributions as executives. Each candidate is now has a "second chance" and is eligible for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2012. Kaat, Minoso, Oliva and Tiant are the only nominees still living.
From this point, any of these candidates that receives 12 votes (75%) from the 16 member Golden Era Committee (members include Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal, and DA's former White Sox GM Roland Hemond) will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I have no issues with any of the nominees listed above and under consideration. Each of them were wonderful players and strong executives. Reading through their very impressive resumes warms my heart and reminds me I fell in love with this game during a great era. My intent is not to argue against or prevent someone from appropriately getting recognized.
My issue is there is one name conspicuously missing from this list. The name is Dick Allen. Despite being a seven time all star and one of the most dominant hitters in baseball during his 15-year career. Despite leading the league home runs twice, on-base percentage twice, slugging percentage three times, and OPS+ three times. Despite hitting 351 career home runs and driving in 1119 runs in an era notably dominated by pitching. Despite winning the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year Award and the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1972. Despite the fact he a career 156 OPS+ ranking him 19th all-time, ahead of Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, and Mel Ott. The committee decided to leave him off the list of players that should be considered. Amazing.
If find it interesting, the nominating committee charge with determining the "golden ballot" choices is comprised of 11 veteran sportswriters. Sportswriters. This is the same pack of wolves that fanned the flames of racist hatred in Philly in the 1960s. This is the same group that ensnared Dick Allen in controversy after controversy during his playing years. This is the same group of folks that utterly failed to recognize him during his past Hall of Fame opportunities. During the 15 years on the "regular ballot" Dick Allen never received more than 18.9 percent in a given year. Shameful.
At this point, I think the only way that Dick Allen is ever going to get elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is if the voting process (from start to finish) falls into the hands of living Hall of Famers. It is only going to happen if he can judged and elected by the players he played with and against. Only then will his accomplishments on the field be more important than any myth, any reputation or any of the things written about him outside the lines.