#455 Bernie Allen
The corners are a little worn, but this is one of the glossiest cards I have from the set. It’s a very vibrant card, with the blue sky in the background for Allen’s photo. Note that it’s spelled “2nd base” on this card instead of “2d base,” like it is on some others.
This card is a “semi-high,” and thus is a bit scarcer than the lower numbers. The SMR lists this common card at $9 in NM condition.
The trivia question asks when overhand pitching was illegal, and as you can see, the answer is rubbed off on my card. Topps is right, as overhand delivery was not allowed until the 1883 season.
Out of the chute, it looked like Bernie Allen might turn into one of the best second basemen in all of baseball. He had a very solid rookie season in 1962, with a .269 BA, 12 HR, 27 2B, 7 3B, 79 R, and 64 RBI. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting to Tom Tresh and Buck Rodgers. He also was chosen as a member of Topps’ All-Star team and had the trophy printed on his 1963 card.
But that was the highlight of Allen’s career. He declined in every category in 1963, and was even worse in ’64, when he hit just .214 with 6 homers in a part-time role. He spent much of the Twins’ AL Championship season of 1965 in the minors, appearing in just 19 games with the big club. He did not play in the World Series.
Allen returned to a semi-regular role in 1966, but posted another dismal line of .238/.299/.348 in 350 plate appearances. The Twins had enough, and shipped him to Siberia, a.k.a. the Washington Senators, for Ron Kline after the ’66 season. He was horrible in 1967 for Washington, but then posted respectable OPS+ numbers of 98, 109, 99, and 114 over the next four years. So, all in all, he ended up being pretty average on a terrible team.
He spent 1972 playing mostly third base with the Yankees, and was purchased from the Yanks by the Expos in August of 1973. He played 16 games for Montreal at the end of the season and then was released. Allen’s career was over at the age of 34.
For his career, he batted .239 with 73 homers and a 91 OPS+. He was also an average defender, with a cumulative -0.7 FRAA overall.
Allen is currently 70 years old.