As I find myself unable to take my eyes off the picture of Dick Allen in e-gus' "Appreciate the Game" post I started thinking of why it was that Dick Allen made such an impression on me as a 13-14 year old skinny white suburban kid in the early '70's. Was it the raw power that was produced when he wielded his 40 oz. bat? Was it the large Afro and sideburns that were exceedingly cool, especially for a north Chicago suburban kid? Was it his "eff you" attitude and confidence as he strode to the plate and the seemingly same 'tude he displayed no matter if he struck out or homered? Either way, every time he came to the plate, everything stopped.
Allen wasn't the only player of his era for whom the game stopped for me as he stepped into the batter's box. The 3 Willie's - Mays, McCovey, and Stargell. Clemente. Dave Parker. All were riveting, all commanded attention. For many of you, Frank Thomas is the epitome of "everything stopped" - he's an easy choice. But who else have you ever seen or currently watch who forces you to watch every at-bat?