Wulf: Johnny Callison’s hard-knock life

From SABR member Steve Wulf at ESPN.com on July 11, 2013:

He looks almost embarrassed.

There, in the middle of a mob that includes eight future Hall of Famers, is the hero of the All-Star Game. No. 6 is the smallest man among them, but his ninth-inning, three-run homer off the intimidating Dick Radatz just gave the National League a 7-4 victory at then-gleaming Shea Stadium on July 7, 1964 — the last time the Mets hosted the Midsummer Classic.

Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente are there to greet him at home plate, as is the man who loaned him his bat, Billy Willliams. Somewhere in there, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Ron Santo, Walter Alston and even Casey Stengel are trying to get a piece of him. At this moment, in this photograph, you can see why the 1964 Phillies yearbook called him “a true ballplayer’s ballplayer.”

And you can begin to understand the bittersweet life of Johnny Callison, a life that mirrored the star-crossed season of his ’64 Phils. A life worth remembering.

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/9459622/johnny-callison-1964-walk-home-run-last-all-star-game-hosted-new-york-mets

Originally published: July 11, 2013. Last Updated: July 11, 2013.