Sunday, July 17, 2016
Dick Allen for Curt Flood? (Oct. 1969)
Another installment in the occasional series about some big trades in the 1960s:
The Phillies closed out the decade with a major housecleaning. In separate deals, they moved sluggers Dick Allen and Johnny Callison, and also said goodbye to Cookie Rojas and Turk Farrell. By the start of the 1970 season, the only players remaining from the 1967 team were Chris Short, Tony Taylor, Johnny Briggs, Rick Wise, and Grant Jackson.
On October 7, 1969 the Phillies finally unloaded disgruntled slugger Dick "Richie" Allen. He and team management had been a thorn in each others' side for several seasons, with the Phillies' managers quitting or being fired during both the 1968 and 1969 seasons.
Allen (who had moved to 1st base for the 1969 season), along with fan favorite (but objectively speaking, serviceable) 2nd baseman Cookie Rojas and 2nd-year pitcher Jerry Johnson were dealt to the Cardinals. In return, the Phillies were getting 7-time Gold Glove center fielder Curt Flood, all-star catcher Tim McCarver, ace lefty reliever Joe Hoerner, and reserve outfielder Byron Browne. Flood and McCarver had played in 3 World Series in the past 6 years, while Hoerner participated in the '67 and '68 World Series.
Famously, Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies, setting the ball rolling for eventual player free agency. As compensation, the Cardinals sent prospect Willie Montanez to the Phillies. Flood had just won 7 straight Gold Gloves, and was a 3-time All-Star with the Cardinals. He appeared in all 3 World Series for the Cardinals in the 1960s, and led the NL with 211 hits in 1964.
Tim McCarver was the team's starting catcher in the '64, '67, and '68 World Series, and was an All-Star in '66 and '67. In 1967, he finished 2nd in the MVP voting. Curiously, he led the NL with 13 triples in 1966. (I always figured him as a lumbering plodder!)
Joe Hoerner was a Rule 5 pickup from the Astros before the 1966 season, and led the Cardinals in saves for each of his 4 seasons in St. Louis.
Byron Browne made a splash as a rookie with the Cubs in 1966 (hence the trophy), but spent most of 1967-69 in the minors.
Allen was the Phillies top slugger from 1964-69, and was among the league leaders in homers and RBI from 1964-66. He was also the NL Rookie of the Year in 1964.
Cookie Rojas had been with the Phillies since 1963, working his way up from jack-of-all-trades to become the team's regular 2nd baseman for his final 4 seasons in Philly.
Jerry Johnson joined the Phillies during the 1968 season, and was a swing man in both '68 and '69.
So who "won" this deal? On the surface you would think the Cardinals, because the Phillies gave up Allen and didn't get the services of Flood.
However, Allen only lasted 1 season in St. Louis before he was traded to the Dodgers for the punchless Ted Sizemore, and Rojas' stay was even less: by June he was traded to the Royals for a prospect that never panned out. Johnson was traded away a month earlier.
Although Flood never played for the Phillies, his career was done. After sitting out the 1970 season, he had a failed 13-game comeback in 1971 with the Senators. McCarver had 2 1/2 good seasons with the Phils, then returned several years later as Steve Carlton's personal catcher. Hoerner was the Phils' top reliever for 2 seasons, and made his only All-Star team in 1970, compiling a 9-5 record with a 2.65 ERA. The next season his ERA shrank to 1.97. Browne was a reserve in 1970 and spent most of the next 2 seasons in the minors.
Throw-in Willie Montanez made the team in 1971, collecting 99 RBI and finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting. After 3 years as a starting outfielder, he moved in to first base and was eventually flipped to the Giants in early 1975 for center fielder Garry Maddox. The reason the Phillies moved Willie? To make room at 1st base for Dick Allen, who was re-acquired in mid-1975 and helped power the team to the playoffs in 1976.
Click the 'trades' label below to see all the installments in this series.