No. 4: Phillies trade for Johnny Callison on Dec. 9, 1959
In one of the shrewdest Winter Meetings trades in Phillies history, general manager John Quinn swiped Johnny Callison from the Chicago White Sox in 1959 for Gene Freese, who spent all of one season in Chicago. Callison went on to become a mainstay in right field for the Phillies for 10 seasons and ended up as one of the top outfielders in franchise history.
Initially very high on the 20-year-old, the White Sox gave up on Johnny Callison after just 67 games over two seasons and a .220 batting average. The Phillies, who had finished last in the National League in 1959 with a 64-90 record, were content to let the young outfielder figure it out.
And figure it out he did.
After a couple of years in Philadelphia, Callison put together an All-Star season in 1962. He hit .300 with an .854 OPS, hit 23 home runs, drove in 83, led the NL with 10 triples, and earned MVP votes. His breakout campaign coincided with the Phillies climbing out of the basement of the NL standings, back to a respectable 81-80 record.
Callison put together another pair of All-Star seasons in 1964 and 1965, and while he never hit for that kind of average again, he discovered his power stroke. In 1964, he hit 31 home runs, drove in 104, and scored 101 times. He was second in MVP voting and the Phillies challenged for the NL crown, finishing 1.0 game behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.
He even hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 1964 All-Star game:
In 1965, the left-handed slugger hit a career-high 32 long balls, had 101 RBI, scored 93 runs, and led the Majors with 16 triples.
The dependable right fielder was no slouch with the glove, either. He was one of the top fielders in his prime and led the NL in outfield assists from 1962 through 1965. He led all right fielders with the highest range factor per game five times and finished in the top four in fielding percentage among right fielders in seven of his 10 seasons in Philly.
Over his 1,432 games as a Phillie, Callison accrued a 34.7 fWAR, which stands as the 11th-highest total among position players in team history, and seventh among outfielders. He finished his tenure in Philadelphia with a .271 batting average, .795 OPS, 1,438 hits, 185 home runs, 666 RBI, and 774 runs scored.
He was traded to the Chicago Cubs after the 1969 season and was enshrined in the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1997.
NEXT: A rejected Rule 5 Draft pick who reached the pinnacle of the sport in Philadelphia.