CRASH: The Life and Times of Dick Allen by Dick & Tim Whitaker Allen

CRASH: The Life and Times of Dick Allen

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bitter, argumentative, intensely personal autobiography by one of the most controversial ballplayers of all time. Many consider Dick (""Richie"") Allen the Freest athlete to set foot on the diamond, yet most agree that he never fulfilled his promise, winding up with ""only"" 351 home-runs and 1848 hits. To judge by this book, cowritten with the editor of Philly-Sport magazine, the reason was anger. Allen played angry and lived angry. He was ""baseball's biggest outlaw""--notorious for clashing with managers, boozing in the dugout, hanging out in pool halls, abandoning the team at odd intervals. He bounced around five teams in his 15 years in the Majors; in spite of this, and a terrible accident in which his right hand went through a car headlight, he won Rookie-of-the-Year in '64 and MVP in '72--Allen was a great angry player. The source of the turmoil? Racism--the nasty wind still blowing at gale force through baseball in the Sixties. Allen describes years of racial slurs and death threats, of beer bottles raining down on his head; he counters with gruffness and a proposal for ""Brotherball""--an all-black major-league franchise. Along with the fury, we get the shocks of a wildly erratic career and on-target comments on fellow big-leaguers (on Reggie Jackson: ""The Don King of baseball""). The man who wielded the heaviest bat since Babe Ruth (42 ounces) also carried the biggest chip on his shoulder. If he had dropped the latter, he might, at his cousin says here, have ""hit eight hundred, nine hundred home runs."" Instead, he gave us a few sensational seasons, a lot of thunder, and, now, one bearish autobiography.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1989
Publisher: Ticknor & Fields/Houghton Mifflin