Hall of Fame vote today for former Arkansas Traveler Dick Allen | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hall of Fame vote today for former Arkansas Traveler Dick Allen

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 6:49 AM

click to enlarge IN THE BEGINNING: Dick Allen as a Traveler. - ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARKANSAS
  • Encyclopedia of Arkansas
  • IN THE BEGINNING: Dick Allen as a Traveler.
The Golden Era committee will announce today whether former major league baseball star Dick Allen will make the Baseball Hall of Fame.

UPDATE: He fell one vote short of entering the hall.

As the New York Times writes, Allen has a complicated history . And no story about Allen is complete without a retelling of his arrival in professional baseball, in Little Rock, as the first black player for the Arkansas Travelers. It was not a happy time — as Jim Bailey has written about eloquently in the past — and Allen says today he's past it. But history does live on. Writes William Rhoden:

On opening night, 7,000 fans squeezed into Little Rock’s Ray Winder Field to watch Allen become the first black player for the Arkansas Travelers. There were all kinds of unwelcoming signs outside the stadium. One said, “Don’t Negro-ize Baseball.” The first pitch was thrown out by Gov. Orval Faubus, who in 1957 tried to bar black teenagers from attending Little Rock’s Central High School.

For a young man from Chewton, Pa., the experience was terrifying and overwhelming. Allen wanted to go home. But when he made the collect call to his mother, she was having none of it.

“She said: ‘Put that phone to your ear. Can you hear me?’ ” Allen recalled. “ ‘God’s given you a talent and a place to show it. If you don’t use it, you’re not being disobedient to me; you’re being disobedient to God.’ ” Allen said she told him, “Don’t you let them drive you out.”

Did Little Rock alone explain the silent and unpopular player he would become? Hard to say. The article does note that Little Rock fans voted him the most popular Traveler.

Fuller details of Allen's tumultuous start in baseball can be found at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. It writes of events leading up to his first game, which included a fielding mistake by Allen and two doubles:

Little Rock sportswriters made passing reference during spring training to Allen’s race as they wrote about the upcoming season, but the fact that Allen would be the first black Traveler was never reported. Jim Bailey, an Arkansas Gazette baseball writer, confirmed years later that Gazette editors told reporters not to mention that Allen would be the first black Traveler. The newspaper had suffered economically for its stand in support of Central High’s desegregation and adopted a different approach to the integration of the Travelers. “The editors decided we’d be better off not getting things all stirred up again,” Bailey said. The Arkansas Democrat adopted a similar approach. In pre-season articles, his race was mentioned occasionally but not his being the Travelers’ first black player.
…...

Allen was the last player to leave the park that night. He found a note on his car’s windshield that read, “Don’t come back again, nigger.”

Allen led a life separate from his teammates during his season in Little Rock. He lived with a black family in a black section of town (Little Rock’s neighborhoods were segregated). He ate in restaurants only when accompanied by white teammates. He received threatening notes and letters throughout the season.

Even during the games, Allen heard racial slurs from the grandstand as he returned to the dugout between innings. Despite this, he led the team in hitting at .290 and the league in home runs (thirty-three), runs batted in (ninety-seven), and triples (twelve). His thirty-three homers by a right-handed hitter remained a Traveler record for nearly forty years. Fans voted Allen the team’s most valuable player at season’s end.

click to enlarge WELCOME TO LITTLE ROCK: Flyer distributed at Allen's first game. - ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARKANSAS
  • Encyclopedia of Arkansas
  • WELCOME TO LITTLE ROCK: Flyer distributed at Allen's first game.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Two more get prison for feeding program fraud

    Two more people got prison sentences today for defrauding the state-run program that uses federal money to provide meals to poor children.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • Friday's open line

    Here's today's video. And it is the open line.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • Steve Bannon leaving White House

    The odious Steve Bannon, right-wing nationalist, is departing his White House job as strategist for Donald Trump.  Alas, Trump is still there.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016
  • Mitch Landrieu on the removal of Confederate tributes in New Orleans

    You want to hear the words of a strong mayor? Read the speech delivered by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the removal of the last of four Lost Cause tributes in the city. THIS is a strong mayor. Brilliant.
    • May 22, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

People who saved…

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: What's your Big Idea for Arkansas?

    • Do you need an urgent loan to start up business, debt loan? buy a car…

    • on August 19, 2017
  • Re: Friday's open line

    • Cato, you could see where Glibbus was going immediately in prelude to his "dramatic" one-liner…

    • on August 18, 2017
  • Re: Friday's open line

    • Keith Olbermann highlights a column written by Art Buchwald in 1973 of what Republicans should…

    • on August 18, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation