The National League’s MVP in 1964, Boyer was a run producing third baseman with fine power and a solid glove. Although he wasn’t in the same league as brother Clete – defensively that is – Ken still won five Gold Glove Awards. He is mentioned with the likes of Ron Santo as the finest third basemen not in the Hall of Fame.
As a rookie in 1955, Ken was immediately inserted into the everyday lineup. He played 139 games at third base and led all hot corner men with 27 doubles. Boyer, although noted chiefly for his hard hitting, finished third in the NL in the stolen base department. He sidestepped the Sophomore Jinx in ’56, leading NL third basemen with a .306 batting average and pacing Major League hot corner men with 98 RBI.
After an uneventful ’57 season, Ken caught fire in 1958 and remained that way on through the 1960s. He won his first Gold Glove Award in ’58 and paced all third basemen with 101 runs scored. His .307 batting average led NL third basemen and he also topped his position peers in stolen bases. He made his second All-Star appearance in 1959 and finished tops among all third basemen with a .309 BA. His .304 topped all third basemen in ’60 but he had the misfortune of playing in the day of Eddie Mathews. Boyer’s remarkable offensive line of 32 HR and 97 RBI in 1960 was behind Mathews but ahead of his other peers.
Ken finished third in batting in 1961 with a .329 BA – which was tops among all 3B, as were his 95 RBI. It would be his high-water mark for batting average but he still had a few rungs on the ladder to climb in other departments. He finished second in the NL – behind Hank Aaron – in RBI during the 1963 campaign. Ken scored more runs than any other Major League third baseman that season. Although he finished behind Aaron in 1963, he topped Hammerin’ Hank, and everyone else in the NL in RBI during the 1964 season. Ken paced the NL with 119 RBI for the champion Cardinals and carried his solid lumber into the Fall Classic: socking two long balls and driving in six runs.
He fell off drastically in 1965 as Ken was in his mid-thirties, but he still managed to drive in 75 runs. The Redbirds traded him to the Mets after the ’65 season and he had his last final good season, leading NL third basemen with 28 doubles. He retired after the 1969 season – spending a few years as a nomadic bat-for-hire.
Ken Boyer’s career stats: G 2,034/R 1,104/H 2,143/2B 318/HR 282/RBI 1,141/SB 1085 BA .287/SA .462