You hear it all the time: that one player who has the strong case to be inducted into Cooperstown.
This time, let’s see if there’s a case for a former Cardinal legend whose number is retired: Ken Boyer.
First, let’s discuss the “Golden Era Committee”, which is the only committee that can determine whether or not Boyer gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 2010, the Veterans Committee was disbanded, due to high criticism over their voting processes. After the dissolution, the group was split up into three committees.
The first one is the Pre-Integration Committee, who considers candidates whose contributions to baseball primarily came from 1876-1947. The Golden Era Committee (which Boyer can be considered from) votes on contributions primarily from 1948-1972. Last but not least, the Expansion Era Committee, who votes on players from 1973-present.
Every three years, these committees meet separately, one by one per year.
To get inducted into the Hall of Fame, candidates need 75% of the total votes. That’s it. Sounds simple enough, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Now, you don’t have to be on the level of Willie Mays or Stan Musial to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but there has to be some significance with your career and/or accomplishments to be enshrined.
Boyer made his debut as a player on April 12th, 1955. In his rookie season, he garnered 140 hits, 18 home runs, 62 RBI’s and a .264 batting average. During his 11-year tenure in St. Louis, Boyer hit 255 home runs, 1001 RBI’s, 1855 total hits, 269 doubles, and 61 triples. He later would spend two years with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago White Sox, respectively. He accumulated 2143 total hits and 282 home runs in his 17-year career in Major League Baseball.
After his playing days ended, the former third-baseman would later become manager for the Cardinals in 1978 after Vern Rapp was fired early in the season; he led them to a 62-81 season. The following year, St. Louis finished in third place at 86-76, but was fired in 1980 after posting an 18-33 record to start the season.
Boyer was one-time World Series Champion (1964), and 11-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove Award winner, and also had his number retired by the Cardinals in 1984, two years after he passed away at the age of 51 due to cancer.
As the years pass on, the discussion continues as to whether Boyer should be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame: he is already a member of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, and the Cardinals Hall of Fame. But for now, he’s just another one of the “overlooked” players that haven’t been enshrined.
How long it will stay that way remains a big question…