ST. PETERSBURG -- When a visitor asked Joe Maddon about his favorite All-Star Game, the personable Rays manager countered: "Can I give you a couple?"
Maddon, who grew up a Cardinals fan, instantly flashed back to his childhood and brought up the 1964 All-Star Game, when two members of the Cardinals' infield -- Ken Boyer and Dick Groat -- started for the National League and Bill White was also a reserve.
"Johnny Callison [hit] a home run in the ninth inning at Shea Stadium to win the game," Maddon remembered. "I was just such a Cardinals fan that seeing the whole Cardinals' infield there, that was fantastic."
Maddon noted that he watched the game on a black-and-white TV.
"It was always the greatest," Maddon said. "You got to see all of them at the same time. But it was mostly black-and-white TV back in the day. When it eventually became the NBC Peacock, whatever that was, and you got to see the colors, that was really special.
"I mean, you saw them on baseball cards and magazines. But newspapers were black and white back then, so you didn't get the chance to see the colors. Back then, I used to want to see it in color. Now, I want to see everything in black and white."
Next Maddon mentioned the 2003 Midsummer Classic that took place in Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. Maddon went to the game as member of the Angels' staff after the Halos beat the Giants in the 2002 World Series.
"That was the first year that the game counted regarding the home-field advantage [in the World Series]," Maddon said.
Given the importance of the game, Maddon said he and the rest of the American League staff spent a lot of time plotting out strategy.
"That whole game, Hank Blalock was on that team, and we were just looking for the right spot to hit Hank Blalock," Maddon said. "And eventually we did, I don't remember the exact inning or who the pitcher was, but he hits a home run coming off the bench and that puts us on top. ... So that whole day of plotting for when to use Hank Blalock, because he was swinging the bat really well, that was a big moment."
Finally, Maddon brought up the 2009 All-Star Game when he skippered the squad to a 4-3 win at Busch Stadium.
"I had been a Cardinals fan my whole life," Maddon said. "That was freaky, because [my wife] Jaye and I got to the hotel and the room was right across the street from Busch Stadium. So you look out the window and it was 'Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals' in big neon.
"And that just took me back to the early '60s, when I'd lie on the floor and in my parents' apartment listening to the Cardinals. ... So you get all the way to the point where you get to manage the All-Star Game there, and then we win. So I've had some great memories. ... I feel very fortunate to have coached [at the All-Star Game] and managed there."
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.