Richie Allen swept into Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium in 1964, and before his 14-year career with five teams was over, he had wreaked havoc on opposing pitchers (351 homers) and his own managers (the Phillies fired both Gene Mauch and Bob Skinner, in part because neither could control Allen).
Two decades later Dick Allen Jr. has swept into Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, wreaking havoc on errant pies and dirty AstroTurf. More accurately, the 20-year-old outfielder at Bowie (Md.) State, who batted .293 for the Bulldogs this spring as a centerfielder, sweeps the Vet itself as a summer member of the Phillies' grounds crew. "Before the game I take off the screen, put the bases in. sweep the dirt off the turf," Dick Jr. says. "The other night I had to clean up a pie-eating contest." Otherwise, Allen has time for more fulfilling pursuits. "I go up by the batting cage and watch the players hit," he says. "Sometimes I watch the game from the tunnel behind home plate or the visiting dugout, where the television cameras are."
Dick Jr. was a small child when his father tested the boundaries of Brotherly Love with antics such as arriving late for games or missing them altogether. He never did like batting practice, and once when Skinner chastised him for missing BP, Allen got into the cage and knocked 15 straight balls over the fence. His relationship with the fans reached a nadir in 1969 when he began scratching messages in the dirt with his toe. He wrote BOO one time, and the fans accommodated him. When he asked for a trade, the Phillies accommodated him too, sending him to St. Louis.
Allen, now a horse breeder living in Los Angeles, has no objections to his son's working in Philadelphia. "He didn't really say anything," Dick Jr. says. "I thought being around here might help me. He figured it would be O.K." Dick Sr. visited Philadelphia last week to see his family and some old friends. He even had lunch with Jim Kaat, his former teammate and now the pitching coach at Cincinnati. "I stayed up talking with my father until four in the morning," Dick Jr. says.
Philly fans actually warmed up to Dick Sr. when he returned to the Phils in the mid-'70s, and the fans have yet to visit the sins of the father upon the son. "I'm hoping that people look at me differently," Dick Jr. says. "People are yelling my name, but they just yell to say 'Hi.' "
Junior drops a line from one of Pop's old haunts.