Dick Allen

Sport: MLB
Years: 1963-1977
The first MLB player who brashly spoke out against racism and the power struggle for players in white owned organizations was Dick Allen. Allen was the first black player on the Philadelphia Phillies and won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1964. That same year, the Phillies staged one of the biggest collapses in baseball history, losing 10 straight games to drop the pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite stellar numbers, many Philadelphia fans and media members put blame on Allen.

The young star would go onto have more successful seasons, appearing in seven All-Star games during his career but controversy would often surround him and mar his accolades. Following his rookie season, he got into a fist fight with white teammate Frank Thomas who reportedly often made racist remarks toward Allen. Thomas was released from the team after teammates said he swung his bat at Allen during their confrontation. This created animosity from fans and media members who believed Allen caused Thomas to lose his job; it also caused a racial divide in the city. Allen was eventually traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1970 in a trade that saw Curt Flood refuse to report to the Phillies and caused him to eventually sue the league.