Hello again all!
As we prepare to watch the seventh game of the World Series, I thought I would share an interesting story with you all. If you’ve ever been over to our old blog home of DBF, you might remember Stacie and I have a dedication at the top of the main page. Part of the dedication is to Mark Landers. You might ask, who is Mark Landers? Mark is our Uncle, and responsible for taking us to hundreds of Dodger games during our childhood while teaching us what it was to be true Dodger fans.
Mark has had quite a tenure as a Dodger fan, attending an unreal four no-hitters. His first Dodger game ever was Sandy Koufax’s first no-hitter against the Mets on June 30, 1962. As a 13 year old paper boy, Mark saved up his paper route money to go see a Dodger game and sit in the bleachers. That night was September 9, 1965. Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. Mark saw two more no-hitters in person. Bill Singer’s no-no in 1970, and many years later, Kevin Gross’ no-hitter in 1992.
A few weeks ago just before the start of the postseason, I was talking to my Uncle over the phone. We can talk Baseball and the Dodgers for hours, I swear. Normally this time of year, we make our usual postseason predictions. Afterwards the conversation turned to Dodgers of yesteryear. As we traded stories from season’s past, my Uncle shared an interesting story with me.
Controversial players have been part of the game for many years, since the beginning of Baseball, Dating all the way back to the early 1900’s. Heck Even Babe Ruth himself was full of controversy. As for controversial Dodgers, there have been quite a few over the years. Yes there has even been Dodgers more controversial than Manny Ramirez.
One such Dodger was Richie (Dick) Allen. Now Allen only played for the Dodgers for one year, but certainly carved himself a reputation that no one will ever forget.
Allen was a right handed hitting slugger that played for five teams from 1963-1977. Allen played for the Phillies, Cardinals, White Sox, Athletics, as well as the Dodgers. Allen who started his career with the Phillies, was a 7 time all-star, winning the 1964 NL rookie of the year award. Allen also ended up winning the 1972 AL MVP award as well, going on to hit 351 home runs and winning two league home run titles.
Allen definitely had talent, but he was also a very controversial player, often times fighting with teammates, drawing messages in the dirt with his cleats, and betting on horse races. Allen many times didn’t take batting practice and once even completely missed a game, forgetting what the start time was.
Allen who was a first baseman, and outfielder primarily, played only one season for the Dodgers in 1971, batting .295 while hitting 23 homeruns.
My Uncle had a run in with him outside Dodger stadium in the players parking lot. Back in those days the players parked just outside the Lodge section. My Uncle at the time had collected almost every single autograph of the current Dodgers. One of the only Dodgers he did not have in his collection was Dick Allen.
While waiting around after a game one day in 1971, Mark was hoping to get the final piece to his autograph collection. After waiting for a an uncertain amount of time Mark and his friend were ready to give up and go home, when they saw Allen walking towards them, probably walking to his car.
My Uncle described him as built like a “brick house” Indeed Allen was a large man. As the big slugger walked towards my uncle and his friend, they spotted him and walked up to him with their pens at the ready. Eagerly reaching for their souvenir’s, they stopped Allen.
Mark while holding out his pen asked Allen for his autograph. He explained to Allen that he had collected all of the current Dodger’s autographs, and he was the only Dodger remaining he did not have to complete the set. Allen put his hand up and signaled for Mark to put his Pen away.
Allen only muttered one sentence to my Uncle, and he told me he would never forget what he said to him. He told my Uncle with a deadpan expression…… “I’m no Dodger”. With that Allen turned and walked away. My Uncle never saw Allen again, and after the 1971 season Allen was traded to the White Sox, for starting pitcher Tommy John.
My Uncle never got to complete his autograph set. Some Dodgers make a forever impression, none more so then former Dodger Dick Allen. So if you thought Manny was the most controversial Dodger, think again!
*UPDATE* To Follow up the Kuo post from the other day, the Dodgers are reporting that after being examined by head doctor Neal Alltrache, that “loose bodies” were found in Kuo’s elbow. Team doctors are recommending surgery for Kuo on Friday. This would be his 5th elbow surgery. Recovery time is reported to be six to eight weeks. His agent however, is telling the Dodgers that Kuo is still thinking about returning to play. So we may just yet see the Kuo stare return in Dodger Blue. Or will we? Stick around to find out. GO BLUE