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SWINGING IN HIS OWN GROOVE
Roy Blount Jr.
September 10, 1973
When Dick Allen crashed, so did the White Sox, which tells a lot about this talented eccentric who says only his image has changed
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September 10, 1973

Swinging In His Own Groove

When Dick Allen crashed, so did the White Sox, which tells a lot about this talented eccentric who says only his image has changed

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"I try to do the least bit of worrying that I can. This is me, take me like I am. Or if not, tell me to go. I will. All they can tell me is go home. And I've got a ride. And I know the way....

"When I say home, I mean my mother's house in Wampum. She won't let me stay around there much, though. I don't do enough right things.

"Playing hurt is when it's rough. You're pushing. You got to make the play up so far ahead. The fun of the thing for me is feeling sound and healthy, and I don't think about anything until the ball is there....

"If there's too much time between games, or not enough, I feel like my hands weigh five pounds apiece. They feel puffy. I feel like I'm not quick. I shouldn't be thinking about my hands at all. I should be looking at that ball....

"I could never take a greenie like some guys. I got enough built up between me and the pitcher anyway that if I took one of those I'm liable to go after him.

"When I get on the field, that's my outlet. Some guys, you'd be surprised. They're like horses that won't relax. The game comes hard for them. It comes easy for me. I can come up to the plate talking, whistling a little tune....

"My sign, Pisces, is two fish—one going along with the flow, cool; the other fighting the current. Yeah, that's me playing ball. I'm cool but I'm playing go-go, pressure ball. That's the pleasure of it, feeling both ways at once.

"But I have to put up with so much mess just to have my little bit of fun every day. Got to go to somebody's office.... They worry about what I do off the field, and all I want to do is lie in my room and read, listen to music and study horse conformation. At one time in my career—I won't tell you the team—I have been shadowed.

"I can't do anything that isn't me. But I've found that if you go along with these guys, it saves a whole lot of trouble. But it isn't me. But the trouble isn't either. I keep a lot of stuff to myself. That may not be good. But if I talk about it, it causes trouble. And that's not me." The seat is set way back to allow for his arms. His hands dwarf the steering wheel. He is rolling across Ohio. "I like this game, though, man. I really do."

It is daybreak. Allen is well into eastern Pennsylvania, admiring the land. "I like to ride along these roads and see the farms. I like to get out on the ground." He is going to visit his kids, notably Doobie, 8, who is Richard Allen Jr. People call him Richie already, and all he lives for, according to his father, is to play ball.

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