Richie Allen, the controversial first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday in a seven-player deal that could wind up in the office of the commissioner. The Phillies sent Allen to the Cardinals for catcher Tim McCarver, outfielder Curt Flood, relief pitcher Joe Hoerner, and utility outfielder Byron Browne. St. Louis also acquired infielder Cookie Rojas and pitcher Jerry Johnson.
The trade, however, had hardly cooled off before the 32-year-old Flood, one of baseball’s top defensive outfielders and a consistent hitter, announced he has retired from baseball. “Once the trade is made it still goes,” said a Cardinals’ spokesman. “The Phillies might throw it into the hands of the commissioner. We’re out of it.” Philadelphia general manager, John Quinn, who engineered the trade with Bing Devine, his St. Louis counterpart, said he had no comment on the Flood development until after he has had a chance to talk with the veteran outfielder.
Allen, the pivotal figure in the deal, was overjoyed at the news. “I’m so glad to be out of here (Philadelphia). Six years in this town is enough for anybody. I’m glad to be away from Quinn and all of them. They treat you like cattle.”
In a statement released by his public relations agent, Gene Lunn, Flood said: “If I were younger I certainly would enjoy playing for Philadelphia. But under the circumstances, I have decided to retire from organized baseball effective today and remain in St. Louis where I can devote full time to my business interests.”
That Allen would be traded was a foregone conclusion. The guessing game was where and for what players. St. Louis got Allen because, of the seven clubs that expressed an interest, four in the American League and three in the National, the Cards offered the best deal, Quinn said. “We wanted a catcher and a relief pitcher and when Flood’s name came into it you have to believe any ball club would be happy to have a Curt Flood,” said Quinn. St. Louis obviously gambled that manager Red Schoendienst can accomplish with Allen what former managers Gene Mauch and Bob Skinner couldn’t – get the budding superstar to conform to club rules. Allen takes with him a history of trouble, including fines and suspensions.
The 27-year-old Allen was a constant target of booing by Philadelphia fans despite his MVP performance for the club three seasons ago. After his most recent suspension, Allen declared he never would play for the Phillies again. He relented, however, and finished out the season. Schoendienst, asked if he thought he could handle Allen, replied: “I don’t know Allen. I’ve never spoken to him. I know his reputation, of course, but I don’t know any of the background of what went on in Philadelphia. He probably has been irritated quite a bit by different things. He will start here with a clean slate.”