During one of the last trivia segments, I encountered and decided to use an interesting stat about Ken Boyer as one of the five questions. The former Cardinal had eight different seasons with a bWAR of at least 5, an impressive mark, and higher than a few Hall of Famers.
Boyer, who died at the early age of 51, following a battle with lung cancer, was one of ten players on the Golden Days Era Committee, a so-called second chance to get into Cooperstown.
Four players were voted in this year and Boyer was not among them. They were:
Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Gil Hodges, and Tony Oliva.
First and foremost, this does not mean that Boyer can no longer be elected by this committee. He’ll once again be eligible to be elected in the future and the case is rather strong that he should.
Boyer had the following stat line for his career:
62.8 bWAR – 7455 AB – 2143 H – 282 HR – 1104 R – 1141 RBI – 105 SB – 116 OPS +
.287 / .349 / .468 slash line
1 MVP – 1 WS (1964) – 11x All-Star – 5x Gold Gloves
Outside of that MVP season in 1964, Boyer also finished in the top 10 three other times.
Usually any talk of Hall of Fame snub involving a Cardinals third baseman is around Scott Rolen and despite more publicity surrounding his case, Rolen has not gotten in yet and one could state that he’s ahead in line of Boyer, but the latter is eligible through a different committee.
Interestingly enough, they are both very similar having played roughly the same number of games. Roles played 2038 and Boyer 2034.
Boyer holds the edge in batting averages, all-star appearances and he also won an MVP award. Rolen has more gold gloves, on-base percentage, and slugging.
If you’re looking really closely, Rolen was probably the slightly better player, however, there is context to be involved and understood. Boyer is at a different stage of the voting process and the analysis of his case needs to be adjusted because of that.
We could theorize about the ideal hall of fame and I certainly do not view the track record with the voters as a determining factor. There have been mistakes and that should not force future mistakes, but in the context of the Golden Days Era Committee and looking at the big picture, I do believe Boyer did more than enough to be voted in.
A borderline Hall of Fame career from a Cardinal great with his number 14 retired and his short, but strong managerial influence in the late ’70s is more than enough to get Boyer elected, especially looking at the other players usually involved in these ballots.
Jim Kaat had longevity on his side but was more of a compiler at his position than Boyer.
Tony Oliva, Minnie Miñoso, and Gil Hodges were all better pure hitters than Ken Boyer even though it was not by all that much, especially with the latter one. However, one could easily argue that Boyer had the most impressive career of the bunch with his impressive five gold gloves at the hot corner.
Each one of those four was elected and I believe that Boyer should be too and he most likely will in the near future.