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Crash: The Life and Times of Dick Allen Hardcover – April, 1989

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Allen was baseball's enfant terrible in the 1960s and '70s, characterized by the press as temperamental, undependable and generally unpleasant. In this autobiography, written with PhillySport magazine editor Whitaker, he gives his side of the story. Raised in Pennsylvania and a star athlete in an integrated school, Allen was unlike most of the other black pioneers in his sport, who came from the segregated Deep South. He was sent to Little Rock, the first black player there, and was traumatized by the experience. When he got to the big leagues, he wanted to play his sport, not talk to newsmen, and so alienated them. But his talent was undeniable (he was voted the American League's most valuable player when he was with Chicago) and he left the game with considerable bitterness. The controversial Allen's viewpoint as presented is convincing, his memoir informative.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Ticknor & Fields; 1st edition (April 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899196578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899196572
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Being an avid Dick Allen fan in the 60's and 70's, I thought I was the expert on this great slugger. "Crash" showed me how little I really knew about this warm and introspective man. The book is a real "page turner", discussing Allen's athletic exploits as a youth and throughout his exciting and turbulent career. As one would expect, many entertaining baseball stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes are contained in these pages. But probably the most important and engrossing feature of "Crash" is the portrait it paints of the climate of race relations in the '60's, both in baseball and society. Readers who remember Allen's days in Philadelphia will truly gain a new enlightened perspective of this athlete and his career, a view which often contradicts the media reports and stories which circulated at that time. "Crash" is enjoyable reading for the baseball fan, but could also be of merit in the classroom.
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Format: Hardcover
Baseball, pre-steroid era was a far less complicated time. The authentic sluggers in the 1970's did not put up the numbers we see today. Bill Melton led the American League in Home Runs in 1971 with 33.

The White sox were a struggling franchise in the late 1960's. Gone were the Go-Go Sox of Minnie Minoso, Nellie Fox and Louie Aparicio. The great pitching of Tommy John, Joel Horlen, Gary Peters and Hoyt Wilhelm had mostly been traded away. I remember one ballgame when the announced attendance was 613. The Northside Cubs had a better, more charismatic and more talented product.

The White Sox hired Chuck Tanner as manager, and everything took on a new complexion. Tanner was the eternal optimist, and Rollie Hemond was a classy and shrewd General Manager.

Richie Allen was a gifted, but enigmatic ballplayer. He was a sensitive soul, and had been in some clubhouse scuffles with a redneck teammate in Philadelphia involving racial namecalling. He had acquired the tag "difficult", and was traded to the White Sox.

His meteoric stay with the Sox was electrifying. There was a doubleheader when he hit walk-off home runs in both games. The second as a pinch hitter. There was another game when he hit two inside the park home runs. He was strong, could steal a base, and was very articulate. He would step up to plate and wave his 37 ounce piece of lumber. Briefly, he flirted with adulation and superstardom.

However, he was moody and mercurial. Chuck Tanner claimed he could manage anyone, and he certainly brought the best out in Allen. But Allen told the media he wanted to be called "Dick", and the Chicago media complied. He told the White Sox that he wanted his far less talented brother Hank on the team, and the White Sox complied.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dick Allen tells his side in this revealing 1989 biography. A rebellious star that often didn't see eye-to-eye with managers, writers, and fans, Allen endured racist abuse while integrating the minors in Little Rock in 1963. Arriving with a bang in Philadelphia in 1964, this rookie-of-the-year's 29 homers and .318 average nearly grabbed the Pennant. Then all began to unravel. Allen describes how things started after a fight with a teammate, escalating to fines, suspensions, boo's, racial abuse, and trade requests. Finally sent to St. Louis after 1969 for Curt Flood (who then sued baseball), Allen was again traded to LA and then the White Sox. Allen admits being well-treated in Chicago, responding with a superb 1972-MVP season that probably saved the franchise. He describes quitting baseball before the 1974 season ended, returning to play for Philadelphia (and it's now nicer fans) and Oakland, then quitting for good in mid-season 1977. Allen provides an intelligent, introspective view, demonstrating his love for his mother, the Lord, baseball, raising horses, and his native western Pennsylvania.

This is an interesting look by a troubled star who preferred solitude to the spotlight. We Sox fans loved him for his superb play, plus his tossing foul balls to the crowd - accepting the $50 fine and helping end that idiotic rule. Still, Allen's many antics (missed practices, pre-game beers, vanishing acts) added up, and readers expecting fewer justifications and a slightly more responsible approach may be dissapointed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good read for those even unfamiliar with "The Ballplayer"'s exploits. A tremendous character study for sociologists, as well as history buffs-baseball is almost secondary to Dick's (don't call him Richie!) tale. Worth the money!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I read Dick's book long before meeting Dick through one of my dearest friends Johnny (Muffy) Callison God rest his soul.I was honored to spend time and talk about things from growing up, baseball, family, friends but above all speaking with Dick at Johnny's reqiuiem at citzens park . I was overtaken by a man that could express his feelings and I am sure the feelings of many otthers as well and from the heart that resulted in a standing ovation and a tear from more than one attending the service. Dick wherever you are or go I wish you the best

Dave Corbett
dfc2328@aol.com
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