Shea Stadium had an atmosphere of glitter for the 1964 all-star game. The all-star game was special when I was a kid because only rarely could we see non-Minnesota Twins play live on TV. The National League might as well have been a foreign country. We read about guys like Roberto Clemente in the newspaper. NBC with Curt Gowdy did give us the "game of the week" on TV. But that was still slim pickings: one game a week. We were a long way from our new world of countless TV stations and ample opportunity to watch players from around the big leagues.
"Walk off" homer as an all-star
Undaunted in face of illness
Johnny singled and then he insisted on running the bases himself. He needed a warm-up jacket, contrary to the rules. The umps made an exception under these circumstances. My research for this post indicated that Callison got help putting on his jacket from Bill White, "a teammate." I was immediately suspicious because I was certain that White was a Cardinal at that time. The miracle of the Internet helped me call up the Phillies' 1964 schedule, so I could learn that the Phillies' September 29 opponent was the Cardinals. Ergo, White, the first baseman, made the magnanimous gesture of helping Callison as an opponent.
He was an iron man
Callison played continuously through the home stretch of the Phillies' doomed 1964 campaign. He actually didn't miss a game the whole season! Philadelphia fans like Samuel Alito, who would become a Supreme Court justice, developed affection for Callison, for his toughness, style and personality. He was personable. His defensive prowess in the outfield was notable. He made rocket-like throws to keep baserunners honest. Right field at the old Connie Mack Stadium was challenging: there was a 34-foot wall producing caroms.
Click on the link below to see the video from YouTube of Johnny Callison's walk-off home run to end the 1964 all-star game.