Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#475 Clete Boyer

#475 Clete Boyer
One thing you'll notice about this batch of cards that Kris sent me is that they're in very good condition with one exception: the original owner treated them as prototypes for Topps Traded. In this case, a youngster came across this card somewhere between 1967 and 1971 and realized that Clete Boyer was no longer a Yankee, but an Atlanta Brave! As you can see, he fixed that little anachronism with a trusty pencil. Thanks, kid!

Fun facts about Clete Boyer:

-Born in Cassville, MO, Clete signed with the Athletics as a bonus baby in 1955, meaning that he jumped straight to the majors at age 18.

-Two brothers (Ken Boyer and Cloyd Boyer) also played in the majors. Cloyd pitched from 1949-1955, and Ken was a contemporary of Clete with a reputation as one of the best third baseman of the era. Two other brothers, Len and Ron, played minor league baseball.

-In parts of three seasons in Kansas City, he saw action in 124 games, batting .226 with a single home run.

-After being sent to the Yankees in a 13-player trade in mid-1957, Boyer was optioned to the minors and didn't return to the majors for good until 1960.

-In the Bronx, he gained a reputation as an excellent defensive third baseman with some pop in his bat (averaging nearly 14 home runs in his seven full seasons there). However, he was overshadowed by Baltimore's Brooks Robinson, who won the Gold Glove every year that Clete played in New York.

-Like most Yankees of the 1950s and 1960s, Clete had a few shining moments in the World Series. He made a couple of dazzling plays with the glove in the 1961 Fall Classic, hit a tie-breaking home run in Game One of the 1962 Series, and combined with brother (and opponent) Ken to become the first brothers to homer in the same postseason game in the final contest of the 1964 Series.

-Was traded to the Braves prior to the 1967 season and played in Atlanta for five seasons. Highlights included a career-high 26 homers and 96 RBI in 1967 and finally winning his first (and only) Gold Glove in 1969. The latter feat made him and brother Ken (a five-time winner) the first pair of brothers to each gain recognition as top fielders.

-A disagreement with manager Lum Harris and general manager Paul Richards led to his release in mid-1971, bringing an end to his major league career after 16 seasons. In total, he was a .242 hitter with 162 home runs and 654 RBI.

-He continued his playing career in Japan from 1972-1975, playing alongside legendary slugger Sadaharu Oh with the Taiyo Whales. After coaching with the Whales the following season, Clete returned stateside and coached with Oakland (1980-1985) and the Yankees (1988, 1992-1994). He also managed the Bradenton Explorers (later the Daytona Beach Explorers) of the Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989 and 1990.

-In 2000, he opened "Clete Boyer's Hamburger Hall of Fame", a Yankee-themed restaurant in Cooperstown, NY. He passed away in 2007 at age 70, due to complications from a brain hemorrhage.
#475 Clete Boyer (back)

1 comment:

  1. I saw him playing for Taiyo Whales in 1975. His fielding was very slick, as if the balls intentionally dives into his glove. And he had a great moustache and sideburns.
    Here I see him young and without moustache, with Yankees cap and Braves sign. Interesting!
    I wish your quest for the 1965 Topps complete successfully.