My Top Ten Cardinals of All-Time:#10 Ken Boyer

#10. Ken Boyer

Ken Boyer

Starting my list at #10 is third baseman Ken Boyer.

Although he began his career as a pitcher because of his strong arm, his hitting ability and lack of control (as well as a curve ball), led the Cardinals to focus him at third base.

Ken Boyer manned the hot corner for the Redbirds from 1955 through 1965. For 11 years, he was one of the best third basemen in the NL along with Eddie Matthews of the Braves and Ron Santo of the Cubs.

Ken Boyer

With the Cardinals, Boyer was an 11 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glove winner, and NL MVP in 1964 – the same year he helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series Championship.

Boyer’s #14 was retired by the Cardinals in 1984. He is the only player not in the Hall of Fame to have his number retired by the Cardinals.

Ken Boyer

From a statistical standpoint, Boyer ranks 8th in runs, 8th in hits, 3rd in home runs, and 6th in RBI all-time for the Cardinals. He hit 20+ HR and had 90+ RBI in 8 of his 11 seasons as Cardinal.

Year    G    AB    R     H   2B  3B   HR   RBI  SB     BA    OPS
1955  147   530   78   140   27   2   18    62  22  0.264  0.735
1956  150   595   91   182   30   2   26    98   8  0.306  0.841
1957  142   544   79   144   18   3   19    62  12  0.265  0.732
1958  150   570  101   175   21   9   23    90  11  0.307  0.857
1959  149   563   86   174   18   5   28    94  12  0.309  0.892
1960  151   552   95   168   26  10   32    97   8  0.304  0.932
1961  153   589  109   194   26  11   24    95   6  0.329  0.930
1962  160   611   92   178   27   5   24    98  12  0.291  0.838
1963  159   617   86   176   28   2   24   111   1  0.285  0.812
1964  162   628  100   185   30  10   24   119   3  0.295  0.854
1965  144   535   71   139   18   2   13    75   2  0.260  0.702
     1667  6334  988  1855  269  61  255  1001  97  0.293  0.832

My 1st experience with Ken Boyer was during my late grade school days when I started collecting baseball cards. I ran into a 1964 Topps Ken Boyer card like the one pictured below (but not in as good condition and without the autograph). 😉
1964 Topps Ken Boyer Baseball Card
I still have this card today.

Boyer was regarded as the consummate teammate. He was the guy everybody walked up to in the clubhouse and talked to. He was quiet and reserved, preferring to lead by example. He also credited with helping create racial harmony on the Cardinals, making them one of the first truly integrated teams in the major leagues.

In addition to his playing career, Boyer managed the Cardinals for 3 years from 1978-1980 forcing to give up managing because of his failing health.

This quote from thebaseballpage.com epitomizes Ken Boyer as a teammate and as a person:

Stan Musial, whose kindness and encouragement made a strong impression on Boyer early in his career, said of his former teammate

Kenny Boyer was a pillar of strength in the Cardinal organization. It was kind of an understood thing that Kenny took care of the players coming into the organization. He took people under his wing — it was kind of like a father image.

I wish I would have had the opportunity to see Boyer play. He sounds like he was model of what it meant to be a Cardinal.

Up next, #9…


Links
Ken Boyer Wikipedia Page
Baseball Reference Entry on Ken Boyer
Ken Boyer at TheBaseballPage.com
Ken Boyer.Net

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