Thankfully and rightfully there is no shortage of Dick Allen tributes honoring him as a man, a ballplayer, and even a symbol of something bigger than the game. I’m not here to compete with or even add to that number, though I’ll gladly read and enjoy each and every one.
Rather I’m here to provide a diabetic dosage of cardboard eye candy that may well strike future explorers less as mementos of a bygone baseball player than the basis upon which to found a religion.
We’ll start with Dick’s three-year run of base cards from 1973-75.
If you had any of these as a kid, there was no need to turn them over. You knew you had a cool card.
- The 1973? How far do you think that bomb went? I’ll put the over/under at 425 feet, and if you’re smart you’ll take the over.
- The 1974? Enough to make you proud of your own glasses, whatever the school yard bullies had to say on the matter. The Clark Kent of the Southside.
- And that 1975? We know the despicable reasons for the “fielding helmet,” but Dick wore it like a crown. King Richard of Comiskey.
Enter these three cards for the coolest and funkiest of the decade, which also means EVER, and you’ve got shot at multiple medals. That is, unless someone else puts up these other three Dick Allen cards from the very same years.
Rumor has it that Evil Knievel and Erik Estrada–even Roger from What’s Happening–studied these baseball cards to cultivate their cool, only to depart their mirrors with participation trophies.
If there is any way to top these cards, and of course there isn’t, the only way would be to roll your own as did Dave Jordan with this impossibly fly Dick Allen tribute card.
Taking things several steps further the #DA15 team in their creation of a 75-card Dick Allen “legacy poster.” Pick your least favorite Topps design, no matter how shiny or uninspired, add Mr. Allen, and you have a top notch piece of baseball cardboard. Such a thing shouldn’t be possible, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
Returning to Dick’s official releases, I’ll simply end this post by featuring a single card from every year of Dick’s career, focusing on the one I would buy if I didn’t already have it. If you have your own favorites I hope you’ll note them in the Comments, along with any further tribute to Mr. Allen you’d like to leave.
It would be standard to go with the Topps rookie, but I’m opting for the far more artistic and Philadelphia Bulletin premium.
Several good options here, but the Topps All-Star Rookie is undefeated, especially this version of it.
Topps flagship takes it again, this time for sentimental reasons. It’s the card Dick signed for me at his 2018 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum “Hall of Game” induction.
God may strike me down for bypassing the Dexter Press card in favor of multi-player combos, but only until he/she sees who else is on the cards.
I don’t love it as much as the 1967, but there’s no way I can skip Dexter Press two years in a row.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for these Nabisco Team Flakes. Worth checking out if you don’t know the set. Fantastic player selection and a wonderful collection of game action shots before those were a thing.
Take your pick, or hunt for both! These two St. Louis Cardinals picture pack cards are believed to be the first appearance of mustache on cardboard since John Titus’ crumb catcher lit up the T206 set in 1911.
Or if picture packs aren’t your thing, here’s the first “real” card to sport the stache. As a high numbered short print not frequently seen, I’ll admit to not even knowing Dick had a Dodgers card until I got internet. Oh, and if you wanna stand out from your collecting peers, grab the OPC version. Same front, way cooler back.
After hopping from team to team, Dick finally landed somewhere where his gifts were truly appreciated. I’ve never seen this Durachrome decal in the wild, but how awesome is it that Comiskey even had decal giveaway days!
I’ve already covered this stretch twice, but here are three others that would breathe life into any binder if not wall display.
Dick notched his last Topps card in 1976, but capping off Dick’s playing era with an SSPC seems more fitting to his counterculture hero status. Plus you get the bicentennial colors this way.
I usually stay away from the post-playing days cardboard, not because I don’t like it–more because it can be unending. For better or worse, Dick is not a player who inspired thousands upon thousands of cards after his playing days ended. While I may never “collect them all!” I was able to scroll through the various listings on Trading Card Database and pick a favorite to recommend.
Here is Dick’s 1993 Action Packed card. If you don’t have anything from this set (or its more popular gridiron cousin), these cards are embossed and carry a somewhat metallic feel. With the great Dick Allen now suiting up in the great beyond, an extra-dimensional card may be just the way to stay in touch.
Rest in peace, Mr. Allen. I’m not sure I deserved you, but I sure appreciate you.