Sunday, September 15, 2013

_____Shea Stadium History Part Three ______The Tale Of The 1964 All Star Game:___A very exciting mid summer classic.

This next set of fantazy cards is what this blog is really all about. My goal is to make cards depicting moments and events concerning the New York Mets for old Met fans to reminisce and new Met fans looking to learn about the teams rich history. This post salutes the only all star game ever played at Shea Stadium.

A little backround : From 1935 to 1946 the manager of each All-Star squad selected the entire team. In 1947 fans were given the opportunity to vote on the eight starting position players. In 1957 fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected a Red to every position except first base. Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and as a response to this unfairness fan voting was discontinued. Players, coaches, and managers were given the sole authority to elect starting position players, and this is how selection was throughout the 1960's.
The American League for some time had dominated the all star game, winning 12 of the first 16 mid season classics starting in 1933 (from 1959 to 1962 M.L.B. held two all star games each season). The National League slowly crept back into contention and from 1950 to 1963 had won 13 of the last 18 contests. The all star game, long thought to be a simple exhibition showcase of the games best (in which they did not give their all), was starting to matter to the players themselves. As both leagues all star game record began to even out it started to become a contest for bragging rights. It was in this atmosphere that the 1964 All Star Game took place.

The article below was selected for use above others because of the way it singled out Ron Hunt and wild eyed Met fans. And this was from a Milwaukee newspaper.
___________________(Click to enlarge)

New York produced six all stars for the '64 exhibition. Five were Yankees and one was a Metropolitan. Ron Hunt was the sole Met selected by his fellow players. He also had the distinction of being the first Met ever to start an all star game. Here he is before the game with The Mick.
As I've said before, I liked Ron Hunt the Met and wish I got to see him play for the team (I would have a chance at an old timers game years later). There is a real nice article by Anthony McCarron of the Daily News about Ron Hunt here:Ron Hunt, the first Mets player to start an All-Star game, recalls the day he shined brightest

So it is in this setting that the 1964 M.L.B. All Star Game came to the new three month old Shea Stadium. L.B.J. was a new president following J.F.K.'s assassination. The Ford Motor Company had just introduced a new model car called a Mustang. A new band called the Beatles had just taken America by storm. And New York City was host of the Worlds Fair.
Okay, enough with the pre-game banter. Lets get on with the game! If you view and read these fantazy cards in order they will tell you the tale of the 1964 All Star Game at Shea. It was quite an amazin' game.

             Complete game stats at BASEBALL REFERENCE


Fun Facts:
>>Phils outfielder Callison, whose equipment didn't arrive for the 2:20 game, did not have his Phillie batting helmet at the game and wore a N.Y. Met one when he smashed the walk-off.

>>The fielding glove Mets outfielder Tommie Agee used to make his legendary catches in the 1969 World Series was a Johnny Callison model.

>>Before Callison only Ted Williams and Stan Musial won an All-Star Game with a walkoff home run. No one has since.(* see clips below)

>>The bat that Billy Williams hit his 4th inning homer was the same one that Callison used to crush his!

>>The '64 ASG had a total of 18 future hall of famers selected to play.

>>The National league went on an all star tear over the next two decades, winning 18 of the next 20 matches during that time. It was the golden age of the National League. At least that's the way I felt about those days growing up. Still do. The N.L. is the real deal

I wasn't aware of this helmet business and only found out during the recent publicity due to the 2013 ASG being played at Citi Field. As a matter of fact I colorized a picture for the set of digital cards I made in 2002 and I had no idea. I put Callison in a red Phils helmet.

Paul Lukas of the superkool website UniWatch writes all about it >here<, with a list of all helmet snafus in ASG history. Uni Watch says: this was the earliest example of a player wearing another team's helmet in an All-Star Game.

In 1964 the players were given this nifty little tote bag and a bowl, courtesy of Chrysler.


You can view bits of 1964 All Star Game action below.

Some real neat details about the game in this article by Richard Sandomir of the Times>All-Stars of 1964 Recall a Wild Show at Shea

For a nice article by Marty Noble and more All Star Game footage >>here<<

Steve Wulf wrote a beautiful article on the life of Johnny Callison. You can read it here>A Hard-Knock Life:
Johnny Callison's walk-off home run won the last All-Star Game hosted by the Mets. His fortunes elsewhere were even more dramatic.

             ^Johnny Callisons '64 all star game home run ball^

*Here are some clips of the other two MLB All Star Game walk-off homers by Ted Williams and Stan Musial

Thanks the invaluable Baseball Reference, The Ultimate Met Database, Google Search, Centerfieldmaz, Corbis, Getty Images, and the Crane Pool Forum for info and photos.
Sept1/Sept4 2013Z / Updated Sept8/ Updated card Sept 21- Aces
UPDATED AUG 14 2014 -additional video clip and images

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