Sunday, April 14, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1957 Topps #121 Cletis Boyer

(And once again, I'm late with the Retro Sunday post because of computer issues...that's the excuse I'm giving and I'll stick to it.)

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, April 14, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1957 Topps #121.
  • Player Name, position, team: Cletis Boyer, second baseman, Kansas City Athletics.
  • Major League Debut: June 5, 1955.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1956 stats (Athletics): 67 G, 129 AB, 15 R, 28 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .217 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Athletics as a Free Agent 05/31/1955. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 14. This is his first Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Cletis is the third member of the Boyer family to make the Big Leagues. His brother Cloyd hurled for the A's in 1955 and another brother Ken is the star third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Cletis never played any Minor League ball and is being used for part-time duty while learning his way around Major League Baseball. He is a sure handed fielder who can cover plenty of infield ground and has a fine arm.".
  • Commentary: The Boyer Brothers. Sounds like a group that should be running circuses all over the world. But baseball players they were. Cloyd was the eldest, a pitcher who both the Cardinals from 1949 through 1952 though played with both of the Cards' AAA teams in Rochester (the Red Wings) and Columbus (the Red Birds) in '53 and '54 before joining the A's for the 1955 season. He continued playing in the minors, compiling a 117-97 record, until 1961. Ken was the All-Star slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals from the mid 50's through the mid 60's before hanging on with Mets, White Sox, and Dodgers in a reserve role. Cletis (or Clete later on) was the youngest of the three, and while he did not match brother Ken in the hitting department, he held his own when he became a part of the Kansas City A's-New York Yankees express, in which the Yankees essentially used the A's as their major league farm team. In 1957, Clete was primarily used as a pinch runner, did not make any plate appearances, and went into the field twice as a defensive replacement. Was that really the way to show a youngster the ropes? But when the Yankees came calling to get their "player to be named later" from an earlier deal in February, Boyer was sent to the bright lights of...Binghamton, the Yankees' A team where he could finally get into some games (a whopping 93 in fact). After spending a season-and-a-half with the AAA team in Richmond, the Yankees felt that Boyer was ready to go at third base. For eight seasons, Boyer patrolled the left side of the infield (he did take in games at shortstop), hitting .241 with 95 home runs, 393 rbi's and 27 stolen bases. He didn't have to hit for power like Ken did in St. Louis. Why should he? The Yanks already had sluggers Mantle and Maris doing the heavy lifting. As long as Clete did his job defensively (and he was a pretty good glove at third), he held his own. During the 1964 World Series, Clete's Yankees lost to Ken's Cardinals in a memorable seven-game series. Clete went 5-24 with a home run for the Yankees then. After the 1966 season, Clete was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He won his first and only Gold Glove with the team in 1969 thanks to a .965 fielding percentage (15 errors in 429 chances). After playing in 30 games for the Braves in the 1971 season, the Braves released Boyer on June 2, ending the Boyers' legacy as players in American baseball. Why so specific (with the "American" baseball)? Because he left the US to play in Japan, playing for the Taiyō Whales from 1972 to 1975 (even rooming with Japanese legend Sadaharu Oh). Upon finally retiring as an active ball player in 1975, he returned to third base, this time as a coach with former teammate Billy Martin's staffs with the Yankees, and...the Oakland Athletics. In 2000, he opened "Clete Boyer's Hamburger Hall of Fame" in Cooperstown. Clete Boyer passed away on June 4, 2007, from complications from a brain hemorrhage. He was 70 years old. The cartoon on the back of Clete's card asks which pitcher "pitched for the most teams in a season?" The answer: Ted Gray. After 8 years in Detroit, Gray became the ultimate journeyman in 1955, playing for the White Sox (two games), Indians (two games), Yankees, (one game), and Orioles (9 games) before calling it quits for good at the end of the season.
  • Beckett value: $15.00-$30.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 4.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 2006 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH100. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.


JayBee Anama

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