Dick Allen, unplugged

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Another not-so-secret benefit of having the MLB Network: Bob Costas’ hour-long interview shows.

Today, it’s Dick Allen , at 5, 8 and 11 p.m.

Or is it Richie Allen.

When he played for the Dodgers that one year — 1971 — it was Richard Anthony Allen known as …

Rich? (That’s how he autographed the team-issued photo)

“All through the ’60′s, we were a pretty radical bunch,” Allen says in the Costas interview. “They were marching everywhere, and the next thing I know, my name is ‘Richie,’ not Dick here. Now it’s Richie, we’re at war at Vietnam, we got the hippies and we got the love people. We were a pretty radical bunch.

“The point of it is here, unless some of those rules change and we’re wearing the same uniform, that’s a team, hey, we’re going to act like a team, let the rules be the same of all of them. So, in defiance, I’m trying to get out of there and maybe people just look at here, he’s a troublemaker, I’m looking out for my own benefit.”

He was a three-time NL All Star for the Phillies between ’63 and ’69. He had another All Star year with St. Louis in ’70, but was traded to the Dodgers in ’71. That season, he hit 23 homers, drove in 90 runs and hit .295 in 155 games, playing third base, first base, left field and right field.

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Which made his trade to the Chicago White Sox the next season (for Tommy John) seem all that more strange. Especially when he was named AL MVP in ’72.

Ask the late Walter Alston about that one — wanting someone who probably easier to manage, like Frank Robinson, whom the Dodgers picked up the next year.

“I think the good thing was my mind was always in the ballgame,” Allen says. “Win or lose, the happiest time for me was between the lines. Outside the lines were tough.”

The MLB Network recently did a “Prime Nine” show on the nine players who should be in the Hall of Fame. Allen was No. 4 on the list:

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  • Alex Yamach

    Grew up in the 60′s attended some Phillies game. Saw Allen hit a homer one handed into the left field bleachers. He was fooled on the pitch and just reached out and flicked his bat at the ball letting go with his right hand. The ball just floated as a low line drive right into the lower bleachers. Never thought it would reach the bleachers because it wasn’t hit like a bullet, it just kept floating and carrying. That’s how strong he was.