It's nearly induction time again in Cooperstown, which means the whole of Red Sox nation — past and present — must once again band together and cry their baseless, yet admittedly passionate, argument for Jim Rice's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. While it is very tempting to write yet another piece on how the Hall should be reserved for the very best and how statistically Jim Rice just doesn't fit that standard, I've decided to take a more positive spin on this issue. You wanted a temperamental outfielder, shunned by voters because of his rigid persona, despite his obvious Hall of Fame credentials, and I've brought you one. None other than the often overlooked and generally forgotten.....Dick "Richie" Allen.
Every time a new class is to be inducted into the Hall, the debate ceaselessly rages on as to what qualifies a player to be worthy of baseball's ultimate honor. While athletes like Rice and Ron Santo enjoy volleys of support from both the press and their respective fan bases, Dick Allen receives scarcely a mention despite the towering evidence his statistics present in showing that he is possibly the most Hall-worthy player still unable to obtain admission.
First lets compare the basic career statistics of Santo, Rice, and Allen:
* Santo and Allen must be elected by the post-1942 veterans committee while Rice is on the main ballot of the last time this year.
Jim Rice: .298 BA, 382 hr, 1451 RBI, .352 OBP, .854 OPS (8225 at bats)
Ron Santo: .277 BA, 342 hr, 1331 RBI, .362 OBP, .826 OPS (8143 at bats)
Dick Allen: .292, 351 hr, 1119 RBI, .378 OBP, .912 OPS (6332 at bats)
Analyzing these stats, traditionalists and sabermatricians alike, can agree it is clear that Allen is easily more deserving of induction than his two more popular counterparts. In nearly two thousand less at bats, Allen slugged eleven more home runs than Santo and only thirty one less than Rice. His RBI total also compares favorably considering his smaller sampling of at bats. Taking the analysis of power production a step further, what really sets Allen apart in this comparison is his very good .OPS (on base plus slugging percentage).