PHILADELPHIA – Dick Allen’s No. 15 was retired by the Philadelphia Phillies in a ceremony Thursday, a long overdue honor for one of the franchise’s greatest players who fought against racism during a tumultuous period with the team in the 1960s.
The 78-year-old Allen thanked Phillies managing partner John Middleton, who broke from the team’s longstanding “unwritten” policy of only retiring the number of players who are in the Hall of Fame.
“I thank the city of Philadelphia. Even though it was rough, I’ve made some friends along the way,” Allen said.
Mike Schmidt, a Hall of Fame third baseman who helped lure Allen out of retirement to return to Philadelphia for a second stint with the team in 1975, called him “an amazing mentor” who was wrongly labeled a “bad teammate” and “troublemaker.”
“Dick was a sensitive Black man who refused to be treated as a second-class citizen,” Schmidt said in a speech.
Schmidt then unfurled a red banner revealing the No. 15 hanging on a brick wall behind the left-field stands at Citizens Bank Park, before the Phillies hosted Washington.
“He played in front of home fans that were products of that racist era (with) racist teammates and different rules for whites and Blacks. Fans threw stuff at him and thus Dick wore a batting helmet throughout the whole game. They yelled degrading racial slurs. They dumped trash in his front yard at his home. In general, he was tormented and it came from all directions. And Dick rebelled.”
Schmidt pointed out Allen didn’t have a negative reputation playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.