Thursday, November 05, 2009

#310 Johnny Callison

#310 Johnny Callison
What do you think Johnny Callison is looking at? Wacky biplane? Runaway streaker? Flock of seagulls? My money is on Dick Allen on a unicycle.

Fun facts about Johnny Callison:

-A product of Qualls, OK, Johnny signed with the White Sox out of high school in 1957.

-Shot through the minors, hitting .340 with 17 homers and 31 steals at Class A Bakersfield in his first pro season before leading the AAA American Association with 29 home runs as a second-year player. At the end of the 1958 season, he made his major league debut at age 19 and hit .297 in 18 games.

-Struggled in limited major league exposure in 1959 and was traded to the Phillies in the ensuing offseason.

-After solid efforts in his first two years in Philadelphia, Callison became an All-Star in 1962, hitting a career-high .300 with 107 runs scored, 23 home runs, 83 RBI and a league-leading 10 triples.

-73 extra-base hits contributed to a career-best 140 OPS+ in 1963, but it was the only season in a four-year span (1962-1965) that he was not selected for the Midsummer Classic. He also hit for the cycle against the Pirates on June 27.

-As the Phillies made an unsuccessful push for the pennant in 1964, Johnny was a driving force. He drove in a personal-high 104 runs with his usual power (30 2B, 10 3B, 31 HR) and was second to St. Louis' Ken Boyer in MVP balloting. He also earned the All-Star Game MVP with a game-winning three-run homer off of Red Sox closer Dick Radatz.

-His average dropped for the third straight year in 1965 (down to .262), but his extra-base tendencies kept him productive (league-leading 16 3B and a career-high 32 HR to go with 101 RBI). Oddly enough, his home run swing tailed off the next year (11 HR), but he topped the National League with 40 doubles.

-After a decade as a fan favorite in Philly, Johnny was traded to the Cubs for three players in November of 1969. The 1970 season would be his last as a full-time starter, and he belted 19 round-trippers and drove in 68 runs. His .348 on-base percentage was his highest since 1962.

-Finished his career with the Yankees (1972-1973), retiring with a .264 average in parts of 16 seasons. Hit 226 homers and drove in 840 runs. Currently ranks tenth in Phillies history in total bases (2426) and home runs (185), eighth in extra-base hits (534), and sixth in triples (84).

-Passed away in 2006 at age 67.
#310 Johnny Callison (back)


  1. Johnny Callison was my first non-Oriole baseball hero. It stemmed from a home run he hit against the Mets in the Polo Grounds. Don't remember if it was '62 or '63 but it was my first National League game and for some reason his home run made an impact on me. I remember telling my friends that I was more a Phillies fan than Orioles fan *shudder*. I gues I was a pretty stupid 10 year old.

  2. Bob - We're all pretty stupid around that age. I can remember rooting for the Braves just because they were always on TV. I actually owned a Deion Sanders t-shirt jersey!

  3. I'm pretty certain this Callison card is the origin of the internet meme "i pooped a little"