On this day in 1963… 21 year old Richard Anthony Allen made his major league debut for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Following Little Rock’s (AAA) International League season in which he led the team in hitting (.290), led the league in home runs (33), runs batted in (97), triples (12) AND broke the color barrier as the first black baseball player in the civil rights battleground state of Arkansas… Allen was called up to the Phillies to launch what would be a fifteen-year career in the major leagues.
Sporting the number ’32’ (he would be issued the more familiar #15 next season) and starting in left field in Milwaukee’s County Stadium, Allen’s first two at bats were forgettable. Facing Braves lefty Denny Lemaster he struck out swinging to lead off the second inning and grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the fourth inning.
It was in the 7th that Allen gave the world a glimpse of things to come when laced a double to left field off Lemaster. The Phillies would win the game 2-0 behind the complete game shutout by pitcher Ray Culp.