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Farewell, Lon Joyce & Dick Allen

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Los Angeles Dodgers

It was a rough week for a pair with Dodgers ties.

Lon Joyce was a scout in the southeastern United States for the Dodgers since 1992, and a member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. But before his scouting career he was a coach in South Carolina in both high school and college. From Joyce’s obituary:

Joyce coached Union High School from 1972-77 and led the Union Post 22 American Legion team to its only state championship in 1974. He coached Spartanburg Methodist College for 14 years (1978-1991), with a 473-170 team record with seven region championships and took the Pioneers to their first two trips (1983 and 1986) to the National Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, CO. Lon Joyce was better known as 21 to his former players. He became a fulltime scout for the Dodgers in 1992.

Among the players he scouted and signed for the Dodgers are Corey Seager, Edwin Jackson, Jonathan Broxton, and Kyle Farmer, who remembered Joyce on Twitter over the weekend:

On Monday, Dick Allen died at his home in Wampum, Pennsylvania, his family shared on Twitter. One of the best players not in the Hall of Fame, Allen hit .292/.378/.534 with 351 home runs in parts of 15 major league seasons. His 156 OPS+ ranks 19th all-time, and 14th in the live ball era.

The Dodgers were on the cusp of success when they traded for Allen after the 1970 season, sending former Rookie of the Year Tom Sizemore and catcher Bob Stinson to St. Louis. Allen hit .295/.395/.468 with 23 home runs, a 151 OPS+ while playing mostly third base and left field, along with first base. The Dodgers finished 1971 at 89-73, getting eliminated in the division race on the final day of the season.

From Phil Fuhrer in the San Bernardino County Sun on October 1, 1971:

“I want to come back to Los Angeles and play for the Dodgers,” said Allen, who won’t be 30 until spring training begins in March. “This was my most enjoyable season. The press was good to me. The fans were very nice. I was treated very well. I was treated like a human being.”

That in itself was an oddity for Allen. He was used to being treated like a shoe. And if he fit, the team would wear him. And they would usually wear him down.

Allen did not remain in Los Angeles, traded to the White Sox at the winter meetings in a deal that brought Tommy John to Los Angeles. Though the Sox were Allen’s fourth team in four years, he thrived in Chicago, having his best year in 1972, winning American League MVP.