Dick Allen is one of the biggest Hall of Fame oversights of all time. Despite a career OPS of .912 and an OPS+ of 156 while playing in an era skewed heavily in favor of pitching, Allen never got as much as 19% of the vote. He’s since been overlooked by the Veteran’s Committee as well.
Allen has made few if any public comments about this. But his son is beating the drum to get the Veteran’s Committee to put him on the Golden Era ballot this December. From Philly.com:
“It’s difficult because he doesn’t want to be attached to any campaign,” Allen Jr. said last night. “He feels it’s a bad thing to stand there pounding his shoe on the desk saying, ‘Let me in, let me in.’ “
Junior feels otherwise and is trying to get his father’s name on this year’s Golden Era ballot.
“It’s a last shot for him,” Allen Jr. said. “From what I understand, he’ll have exhausted his options.”
Allen Jr. is working with Mark “Frog” Carfagno to promote the cause. They even have a Facebook page – “Dick Allen Belongs in the Hall of Fame.”
It’s a nice gesture by his son, but I doubt it’ll do much good. Allen’s case was already a tough one given that (a) his career was shorter than a lot of Hall of Famers’; (b) his value is heavily weighted in favor of rate stats as opposed to counting stats and those guys always fare relatively poorly; and (c) he was viewed as a contentious personality in his day and was not well-liked by reporters to say the least. I’d vote for him in a second, but I doubt a lot of others would even if he made it back to the Veteran’s Committee ballot.
Oh, biggest takeaway from that article: the allegedly contentious Allen now works in public relations for the Phillies. So either he’s mellowed with age or else what reporters thought about him in the 60s and 70s isn’t all that representative of the man.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.