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Dick Allen and Frank Thomas Fight July 3, 1965

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One swing of the bat cost Frank Thomas his job with the Phillies. That’s because in batting practice on July 3, 1965, Thomas swung his bat and connected with Dick Allen’s shoulder. (He was still known as Richie Allen then.) The next day when the Phillies released him, Thomas learned that if you’re going to swing your bat at a teammate, it’s better to pick one who was not leading league in hitting (.341) ; or the previous year’s rookie of the year. Allen was both.

Accounts of what happened are varied and conflicting, but the consensus view is that there was a racial aspect, or at least a perceived racial aspect, that triggered it. After his release Thomas gave his side of the story, acknowledging that he told Allen that he was “running off at the mouth like Muhammad Cassius Clay.” Allen refused to speak publicly about the incident, probably because he was told by manager Gene Mauch that he would receive stiff fine if he said anything.

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