“Chili Dog MVP: Dick Allen, The 1972 White Sox and A Transforming Chicago” re-creates a unique time and place in baseball and Chicago history, when the arrival of a controversial slugger lifted the bedraggled Sox out of a daunting hole and briefly united a fractious fan base for the two hours-plus he played.
Lead author John Owens, along with Dr. David Fletcher and George Castle, weave an entertaining narrative of Allen, his teammates and broadcaster Harry Caray bringing pride to a franchise that had one foot out of town to Milwaukee just 2 1/2 years previously and equal status in profile with the dominant Chicago Cubs.
The best baseball books endeavor to re-create the time, place and “feel” of a team and the people around it. “Chili Dog MVP” follows in that tradition to recall a more innocent time in baseball intertwining with the hard truths of a hyper-political city like Chicago. In both baseball and life, for which the game is often a metaphor, past is prologue.
Don’t let the whimsical title of this thoroughly-researched book fool you. Sure, it’s a nostalgic look at baseball, the 1972 White Sox, and Dick Allen, the player who likely saved that team from being sold and sent to another city. But authors Owens and Fletcher adroitly use those topics as gateways to the examination of other important historical and cultural issues, particularly race relations.
While Owens and Fletcher don’t hide their admiration for Allen — the book’s main subject — and others, their writing often transitions seamlessly into less-than flattering objectivity. They remind us that there are often good reasons that our heroes, sports and otherwise, are flawed.
~ Gary Johnson, Finalist Judge,
2022 Chicago Writers Association,
Book of the Year Awards
Chili Dog MVP is an exceptionally well-written, intensively researched, thought-provoking, enlightening and professionally packaged treasure trove of baseball history.
The authors, John Owens and Dr. David J. Fletcher, truthfully did their “homework” on this one…conducting exhaustive research, first-hand interviews, extreme fact-checking and hour-upon-hour of historical research, resulting in a magnificent romp through a by-gone era, jam-packed with solid, reliable, scholarly research, presented in a highly entertaining and enjoyable format, enhanced by a myriad of historically significant photography.
Sports fans and non-sports fans alike will revel with delight at every aspect of this masterpiece. If you were lucky enough to be there and experience it first-hand in 1972…you’ll love the walk down memory lane. If you are just discovering the magic for the first time…you’re in for the ride of your life! The book debuted as #1 Hot New Release in its category and skyrocketed to #1 Best-Seller in Baseball History books on Amazon.
Wow to the ninth! Chili Dog MVP tells the marvelous and nostalgic story of a sculpted superstar’s magical career year, his 1972 pale hose teammates and a changing political and social Chicago. Many, many hours of historical research, interviews and fact checking went into the writing of this book and the result is a productive account and product which readers will greatly enjoy. This book has my 100% endorsement.
~ Tom Bradley
Never had I witnessed such fan fervor as when Dick Allen came to bat. This resulted in his exclusive walk-up, “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” my first song to editorialize a players performance.
Life behind my keyboard was glorious.
Life behind the scenes, I learned…not so much.
The “Chil Dog MVP’s” authors’ forensic-style of research, involving a vast array of sources and checking long-forgotten information, captured Chicago history with its societal and political upheaval — tumultuous and even tragic personal moments that shaped attitudes of the media, fans and Dick Allen.
The book provides the reader with a clear understanding of the big picture surrounding all of us and this once-in-a-generation superstar.
Wow, “Chili Dog MVP” even reminded me of facts about my own career that over the years had escaped my memory.
~ Legendary White Sox Organist Nancy Faust
More than a baseball book, it is a skillfully written and structured feast of history, politics, race, social commentary, and pure fun.
Its core, of course, is the saga of a superhero who prevails in spite of not just high heat and curve balls, but also racism in American society.
Readers will especially savor your generous helpings of colorful quotes (“You’re in deep shit now”–Mike Andrews to Sparky Lyle); celebrity allusions and anecdotes (Richard Daley, Howard Miller, Falstaff Beer); and, most of all, those wonderful descriptions of climactic moments in pivotal baseball games.
Baseball books are, historically, among the most popular reads. Chili Dog MVP is that and much more.
~ David McGrath, College of DuPage English Professor
“This is a book not just for White Sox fans, but for all baseball fans. It tells in exquisite detail the story of a special player, a special team, a special season. It tells you what baseball was like before free agency, before every game was televised … before the Internet and Twitter and if you missed the game you tuned in a local radio station for the sports report (they actually had real people working there!) or got the newspaper the next day…that’s the way it was…long ago but not forgotten.
“It all comes back alive in this book, the season of 1972, inside and outside of White Sox Park (which is what Comiskey Park was called that season). So, sit back down, grab a cold Falstaff, tune in Harry Caray and remember…”
~ Mark Liptak, White Sox Historian
Nine Reasons To Read ‘Chili Dog MVP’
- 1972 White Sox team had five amazing award recognitions in the same year.
- The 1972 team saved the White Sox as a Chicago institution.
- White Sox organist Nancy Faust innovates baseball music as we know it today.
- The start of the career of future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage.
- The first big season for the amazing Terry Forster.
- The ironman feats of knuckleballer Wilbur Wood.
- Controversial, mercurial but wildly successful pitching coach Johnny Sain.
- The White Sox’ chronic problems with radio and TV coverage.
- 1972 was a year of social and political transformation in Chicago.
Press Box: Latest News & Media
- Chicago Writers Association Podcast: Interview with Chili Dog MVP Author Dr. David FletcherChili Dog MVP: Dick Allen, The ’72 White Sox and a Transforming Chicago, by David Fletcher, John Owens, and George Castle, was a runner up for this year’s Book of the Year Award for non-fiction. David Fletcher speaks about the book, story structure techniques and collaboration on a writing project. Read more at ChicagoWrites.podbean.com! Learn about the Chicago Writers Assocation…