Photo courtesy sportsillustrated.cnn.com
Over the course of his 15-year career, Dick Allen sparked much controversy. In his book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, published in 2001, acclaimed baseball historian Bill James noted Allen as the second-most controversial figure in baseball history.
However, the statistics don't lie—Allen was worthy of the Hall of Fame.
During the nine years between 1964 and 1972, Allen was a menacing figure. He started his career in memorable fashion, leading the majors in runs scored (125) and triples (13) and leading the National League in total bases (352). Allen easily captured Rookie of the Year honors in 1964.
In 1966, while Frank Robinson dominated in the American League by winning a Triple Crown, Allen hit 40 home runs with 110 RBI, leading the NL in slugging (.632) and OPS (1.027).
After single seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers, Allen took his talents to the American League with the Chicago White Sox. The move to the new league was successful—Allen captured the AL MVP Award in 1972 with a remarkable season.
Allen led his new league in home runs (37), RBI (113), on-base percentage (.420), slugging percentage (.603), OPS (1.023) and OPS+199.
Allen was headed toward another terrific season in 1973 when he suffered a collision with Mike Epstein of the Oakland A's in late June that fractured his fibula. Allen tried to return after five weeks only to have his season end due to recurring pain.
Allen rebounded to lead the American League with 32 home runs in 1974, but his final three seasons were marred by consistent leg pain, forcing his retirement in 1977 at the age of 35.
Allen never received more than 18.9 percent during his 15-year window of eligibility, and the Veterans Committee, thus far, has not recognized his achievements.
It's difficult to find anyone not in the Hall of Fame who was as dominant as Allen during a prolonged stretch of time.