One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime

By John Florio; Ouisie Shapiro | Go to book overview

18

The day after the National League Championship Series ended, the Phillies traded Dick Allen to the Cardinals for Curt Flood. It was a seven-player swap: Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas also went to the Cardinals while Tim McCarver, Byron Browne, and Joe Hoerner went to the Phillies.

Allen packed his bags without a moment’s hesitation. Since the day he and Frank Thomas had come to blows, his relationship with Philadelphia—the team, the writers, and the fans— had been contentious. To his detractors, he was a malcontent. To his supporters, he was unfairly maligned.

Two years earlier, in 1967, he’d cut a pair of tendons and a nerve in his right hand and missed the last five weeks of the season. (He claimed he’d accidentally pushed his palm through the headlight of his car; the press suspected he’d been in a bar fight.)

In 1968 he’d begun showing up late for batting practice, a habit that he apparently found hard to break. In May of ’69, he’d arrived late for a game and was hit with a thousand-dollar fine. A month later, he did it again. This time, he was suspended indefinitely—and the terms were left up to him. In July, Allen was still mulling it over.

When the ’69 All-Star game at RFK Stadium was rained out, President Nixon invited the players to the White House. Nixon made his way over to lefty pitcher Grant Jackson, the sole Phillies player on the All- Star team (Allen hadn’t been elected). The president spoke directly into the pitcher’s ear. Naturally, his topic was Jackson’s teammate.

“You tell Richie Allen to get back on the job,” Nixon said, alluding to Allen’s recent suspension. “You tell Richie it’s not for the good of the Phillies, or the good of the fans, but for the good of Richie Allen that he get back.”

-164-

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One Nation under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword Bob Costas vii
  • A Note to the Reader ix
  • 1 1
  • 2 8
  • 3 23
  • 4 31
  • 5 43
  • 6 51
  • 7 58
  • 8 65
  • 9 72
  • 10 86
  • 11 100
  • 12 111
  • 13 126
  • 14 129
  • 15 138
  • 16 150
  • 17 156
  • 18 164
  • 19 173
  • 20 180
  • 21 192
  • Epilogue- 1975 201
  • Acknowledgments 203
  • Bibliography 205
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