I have grown up and spent my entire life as a born and bred Phillies fan. I think my Father tried lots of times to make my first words Richie Ashburn needs to be in the Hall of Fame. But that is my team good or bad, rich or poor, pretty or ugly……That’s the girl I went to the prom with and that’s who I’m leaving with………even though they are really really really bad this year……but thats another topic.
I thought it would be a good idea since you know just a little background on me as a fan to start with a team that is close to my heart and I chose this one because the subject has always been a lightning rod to comments and controversy no matter what town he played in……. so without further ado……today’s book is……..
CRASH: The Life and Times of Dick Allen
By Dick Allen and Tim Whitaker (1989)
If I hadn’t mentioned before I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and being a Phillies fan you always heard the Dick-Don’t call me Richie-Allen stories. Now his first tour of duty with the Phils was a little before my time but I do remember the second tour in 75 & 76. As with most things in life as time goes by the stories grow grander and the acts more outlandish. But the overall impression I got with this book is Dick Allen just wanted to be left alone to play Baseball.
The story seems to be told to Tim Whitaker in sort of a third person format with visits with Dick and family members and friends. As the book progresses you feel the stories from Dick coming forth a little easier and him being more open about what he wanted when he played from management and the owners to the people around him in his everyday life. This format seems to work good for this book because its flows better than I think Dick trying to explain this in a first person account.
The book is only 189 pages and moves very quickly from chapter to chapter in nice tidy little nuggets. It starts with The Frank Thomas Incident (fight) with the Phillies, to his time in the minors dealing with racial issues, back to the Phillies and dealing with the press and the team, to being traded several times to back to the Phillies for Round 2 to his life after Baseball. Like I said it moves very quickly and has very tidy chapters leaving no loose ends.
As far as a biography goes its a very easy read I did it in two nights on the couch. The end result of this book for me was that I came away feeling that Dick Allen is not the A$$-h*le that the media had portrayed him as while I was growing up. He came across as thoughtful and insightful and just an everyday person who was thrust in to the spotlight that really didn’t want to be. By the end of the book you see Dick as a guy who is just living an average everyday life working on his horse farm and enjoying what he is doing. He seems to have no career regrets except maybe he just wishes he was left alone to play the game he loved.
In the end this book changed my perception of Dick Allen for the positive. He wasn’t out to change the world or fight the system or raise awareness to his cause…..He just wanted to be left alone to play. So if you have any interest in Dick Allen this may be a worthwhile read for you. I have met many former Phillies players through the years but have not met him but even though its contradictory to the whole premise of the book and his aversion to stardom I would now like to meet him and shake his hand,
And just a little note if you are as big Phillies fans as me and my wife are……….of course we have a cat name Phillie !!!!
Hopefully these posts will be a little better as I go along but hopefully its not to bad for the first review and it makes some sense