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Bunning Demanded Payment for Post-Perfect Game Interview

June 27, 1964 - When a WOR-TV camera poked its eye into a Shea Stadium dugout last Sunday after Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies had pitched a perfect game against the Mets, it caught Bunning and Joe Gallagher, producer of the Mets’ telecasts, in what seemed to be a heated discussion. But the sound was off.

Later inquiry disclosed that the pitcher was resisting an invitation to be interviewed on television by Ralph Kiner unless he was paid. The producer explained that an interview would be in the category of news coverage and not normally subject to a fee, but he would try to obtain payment for the pitcher. Because the producer could not promise a specific gratuity, it was doubtful for several minutes that there would be an interview. Finally, Bunning went on camera and later received gifts with a retail value of $400.

“I don’t want to embarrass Bunning,” Mr. Gallagher said. “He is a very nice fellow. Sometimes ballplayers don’t differentiate between a commercial show and a news presentation.”

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