Kenton Lloyd Boyer
St. Louis Cardinals
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6'1" Weight: 190
Born: May 20, 1931, Liberty, MO
Signed: Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1949
Major League Teams: St. Louis Cardinals 1955-1965; New York Mets 1966-1967; Chicago White Sox 1967-1968; Los Angeles Dodgers 1968-1969
As a Manager: St. Louis Cardinals 1978-1980
Died: September 7, 1982, St. Louis, MO (age 51)
Ken Boyer was the greatest third baseman in the National League in the late 1950s into the early 1960s, winning five Gold Gloves, playing in seven All-Star games and winning the league's MVP award in 1964. He enjoyed a 15-year career, with the first 11 of those years coming with the Cardinals. He's been acknowledged by teammates Tim McCarver and Stan Musial as the true leader of the Cardinals teams of that era and many view him as the greatest third baseman in Cardinals history. Boyer finished his career with 282 home runs, 1,141 RBIs and a career average of .287.
After his playing career, Boyer managed the Cardinals for three seasons beginning in 1978. He compiled a record of 166-190 before being replaced in June 1980 by Whitey Herzog. Boyer's #14 was retired by the Cardinals in 1984, and he's the only player whose number has been retired by the team who is not in the Hall of Fame.
Building the Set
March 1, 2003 in Ft. Washington, PA - Card #242
I paid $8 for this card at the 82nd Philadelphia Sports Card Show held at the Ft. Washington Expo Center. As is the case with most of the card shows from this time, my Dad didn't attend with me but I would have definitely told him about the purchase after the show.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the first baseball card show I attended with my future wife, Jenna. This is right around the time we started collecting the Topps Heritage sets together and most of my budget for this show probably went towards polishing off the latest Heritage set. My records show that this Boyer card was one of only 9 cards from the 1956 Topps set that I purchased in 2003.
It looks as if the ball is about to get by Boyer in his action photo on this card, which is an unfortunate photo choice given his excellent defensive skills. The third panel on the back of his card makes mention of his glove work. The head shot used is the same as on Boyer's 1955 Topps rookie card.
The card back also mentions that Ken has four brothers playing professional baseball. In addition to Cloyd and Clete (more on them below), brother Wayne played in the Cardinals system from 1946-1948, brother Lynn played in the Cardinals system from 1954-1955, brother Len played in the Cardinals system from 1964-1970 and brother Ron played in the White Sox and Yankees systems between 1962 and 1969. The write-up on the back of this card is referring to Wayne, Lynn, Cloyd and Clete.
This was Boyer's second full season in the Majors, and he was selected to his first All-Star game. He hit .306 with 26 home runs and 98 RBIs appearing in 150 of the Cardinals 154 games.
Boyer had two brothers who also played in the Majors, and I wanted to point out that neither of them appear in the 1956 Topps set although a case could be made for both. Older brother Cloyd Boyer, a pitcher with the Cardinals and Athletics, wrapped up his five-year career with 30 appearances for the 1955 Athletics. Younger brother Clete Boyer, the Yankees primary third baseman throughout the 1960s, also played for the Athletics in 1955 and 1956. Despite Cloyd's and Clete's time in the Majors around this time, only Ken appeared in the 1956 Topps set.
First Mainstream Card: 1955 Topps #125
First Topps Card: 1955 Topps #125
Last Topps Card (as a player): 1969 Topps #379
Most Recent Topps Card (post-career): 1975 Topps #202
First Topps Card (as a manager): 1979 Topps #192
Last Topps Card (as a manager): 1980 Topps #244
Most Recent Mainstream Card: 2015 Panini Diamond Kings #84
217 - Boyer non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 1/18/15
The Trading Card Database
In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year. Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.