Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 11, 1970: Dick Allen Walks Off Against Philly

     On May 11, 1970, Dick Allen broke up a pitching duel between Cardinals hurler Steve Carlton, and Philadelphia's Jim Bunning by smashing a three-run walkoff shot at Busch in the bottom of the ninth to propel the Cardinals to a 3-0 victory over the Phillies. The pitching duel marked a battle of two future Hall of Famers, and they lived up to their reputations by posting zeroes straight across the board until that ninth inning that saw the Cardinals walk away victorious. Bunning struck out five men though eight, and Carlton struck out 10.

      The bomb by Allen was his tenth of the season, and it was an important one to him. He had been a member of the Phillies from 1963 to 1969, before being shipped to the Cardinals in what has become a famous trade that was supposed to include Curt Flood. After Flood refused to play in Philadelphia the Cardinals sent Willie Montanez in his place to complete the deal. While Flood was fighting his court battle Allen settled into the St. Louis lineup, and that day when he smashed the walkoff against his former club.

     One of the primary reasons Flood refused the trade to Philadelphia was he considered it to be a racist city. It was the exact reason why Allen was happy to get out of there, and he relished the moment that he walked off against his former club.

     That bottom of the ninth began with a leadoff double by Leron Lee. Bunning then issued a free pass to Lou Brock with Allen on deck. The 38-year-old hurler had tied Allen up twice and was sure he could do it again, and it looked like he had him right where he wanted him with Allen falling behind 0-2 quickly. The next pitch was up and away, but Allen put a cut on it anyway, and that cut proved to be the game decider as it sailed over the wall in right center. When he talked to a reporter from the Associated Press after the game Allen said "That one right there, my man, was worth 10 for me." He also spoke about Philadelphia saying "I thought it was good to get out of there, but this is too much."

     The 1970 season was Dick Allen's only season in St. Louis, and it was a fruitful one. He hit .279 with 34 home runs and 101 RBIs. In October of that year, Allen was traded again, this time he was head to the Dodgers, and the Cardinals were getting Ted Sizemore and Bob Stinson in return. Stinson had a cup of coffee with the club, while Sizemore spent five years in St. Louis, hitting .260 during that time. After a year in L.A., he was on the move once again, as the White Sox made a deal that landed him in their lineup. It was in Chicago where he enjoyed an MVP season in '72. After three years with the White Sox, Allen returned to Philadelphia for two seasons before wrapping up his career in Oakland.

     Allen enjoyed his time in St. Louis. He cried on Opening Night at Busch as the sold out crowd of more than 45,000 gave him a standing ovation when he was introduced. After the game he called it the greatest thing that had ever happened to him. The end of his days with the Cardinals began with a hamstring injury on August 14th, he tried to work through it, but it proved to much to handle. His final start came on September 8th, and he went 2 for 3 with his 34th home run of the year. The walkoff against Philly was his 10th big fly of the year, and it was a memorable one that sent his old club to the showers with their heads down, while his new club mobbed him in celebration.

Check out the box score here:

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