B. May 20, 1931, Liberty, Mo. D. Sept. 7, 1982, St. Louis.
Ken Boyer died yesterday and memories of the third baseman and the man stirred the baseball community nationwide.
"I can never be any prouder of another human being than the way I was about Ken. He was a super athlete and a super brother," said Clete Boyer, who was on leave from coaching for the Oakland A's and present in the St. Louis nursing home where Ken expired, at 51 wasted by lung cancer.
"He was . . . a fine man," said Bob Gibson, on duty as Braves' pitching coach in Atlanta, of his Cardinal costar in the World Series that capped Ken Boyer's National League MVP year of 1964. "I remember . . . once (when) somebody had said some things about me. He defended me and I never forgot that. I feel very deeply . . ."
Boyer is survived by six brothers, all of them former ballplayers (Cloyd, a pitcher, made the majors, too), six sisters and his two sons and two daughters, who were there at the end.
Seven times an NL all-star, five times the Gold Glove fielder at third base as a 1955-65 Cardinal, Boyer batted .287 with 282 home runs and 1,141 RBI in a 15-year career in the majors. Then he became a manager in the St. Louis system, taking over the club in early 1978 and directing a third-place NL East finish in '79 before being fired in June 1980. He would have managed again this year at the Cardinals' Louisville affiliate, but for his illness.
Ah, but 1964. With a league-high 119 RBI, Boyer helped St. Louis to the pennant and the World Series in which third base was the exclusive property of the Boyer brothers--and Ken turned it around with a fourth-game grand slam for a 4-3 victory over Clete's New York Yankees, then singled, doubled and homered to help Gibson win the 7-5 seventh game.