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Bob Alllison

At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Bob Allison was such a strong man that he manhandled 6-foot-6, 220-pound Don Drysdale during a spring training game in 1961.

Bob Allison

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The Los Angeles Dodgers' Drysdale had thrown a fastball at Twins' outfielder Lenny Green after shortstop Zoilo Versalles homered off Drysdale. Later in the game, Drysdale covered home plate on a play and Green came in with his spikes high. Drysdale threatened the 5-foot-9 Green.

Allison was the on-deck batter. He wrapped his arms around Drysdale in a bear hug from behind and lifted the pitcher off the ground. Drysdale immediately lost his mood.

George Lentz was the trainer for both the Washington Senators and the football Redskins when Allison came to the major leagues. He called Allison "the fellow I'd least like to grab me when he's mad."

But Allison was a peacemaker on the field, never tossing a punch. During one of his minor-league seasons in Chattanooga, New Orleans' manager Peanuts Lowry charged from the dugout with a bat to take on a Chattanooga pitcher who had thrown at a batter. Allison charged in, wrapped up the 170-pound manager and carried him back to the dugout.

bob allison, harmon killebrew baseball card

Allison and Harmon Killebrew were the Mantle & Maris of the 1960's Twins.

A San Francisco 49er?

A former college football player, Allison became the American League Rookie of the Year in 1959. It surprised even Allison, who had claimed earlier that season he never really thought of himself as a big-league baseball player.

In fact, after his sophomore year as a fullback at Kansas University, Allison filled out a inquiry form from the San Francisco 49ers. He loved baseball more than football, but completed the form as a backup plan in the event he didn't make the grade in baseball.

His father, a former semi-pro catcher, felt differently. Lou Allison coached his son in American Legion ball and felt the kid was a natural at baseball, although he hoped both his sons would become veterinarians.

Lou Allison was more excited about his son's financial future than the Rookie of Year Award itself. He knew Bob hoped to finish his college degree at Kansas University, and thought the award might lead to a better contract that would help pay for remaining college courses.

Allison was 25 when he won the ROY award. Brother Jim, two years younger, was also a good ballplayer. But Jim married young and decided not to become a ballplayer when he saw how tough it was for his older brother to make a living during his four-year minor league career.

Where are the 1965 Minnesota Twins?


Bob Allison was born in 1934 in Raytown, Missouri, a Kansas City suburb where Roger Maris made his home during 1961, when he broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.

The Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota was founded five years before Allison's death from complications of the neurological disease.

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