Ken Boyer: Hall of Fame or Not?

It’s that painful time of the year when I look at the Hall of Fame candidates and who belongs in and who doesn’t.

The first one is going to be one of my sentimental favorites, Ken Boyer. I’m not sure why I always liked him, but I did. He played 15 seasons for 4 teams, most of them for the Cardinals.

Why he belongs:

7 All-Star Games – Other players with 7 All-Star Games:

Luke Appling

Craig Biggio

Joe Cronin

Larry Doby

Rollie Fingers

Lou Gehrig

Lefty Gomez

Trevor Hoffman

Chipper Jones

Sandy Koufax

Paul Molitor

Hal Newhouser

Tony Perez

Robin Roberts

Willie Stargell

Mickey Vernon

(All Hall-of-Famers or on their way)

MVP in 1964

Finished in the voting 8 times

1 World Series, key member of the team

5 Gold Gloves

Top 10 in Batting Average 5 times, highest finish 3rd

Top 10 in Runs Scored 4 times, highest finish 4th

Top 10 in Hits 5 times, highest finish 4th

Top 10 in Home Runs 4 times, highest finish 4th

Top 10 in RBI’s 7 times, leading once in 1964

Top 10 in Walks 5 times, highest finish 4th

Why he doesn’t:

7 All-Star Game selections makes him good enough to be tied for #122.

The only World Series he appeared in, 1964, he batted .222.

While 5 Gold Gloves is impressive, there are 6 who have more: Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, Scott Rolen, Buddy Bell, Eric Chavez & Robin Ventura. And those last 4 are a LONG way away from the HOF (Sorry, Buddy, I love you.)

While he was always in the mix, he didn’t really dominate in too many categories, only leading the league in major categories once. And wouldn’t your RBI total be great if you were batting behind Curt Flood, Lou Brock and Bill White?

His career numbers aren’t too great, either. 2143 hits, only #193. There are more than 30 eligible players NOT in the Hall of Fame with a higher career total than Boyer. He has 1104 runs, only #239. He has 282 home runs, good enough for #155. In a world where Fred McGriff can’t get in with 493, Boyer’s home run numbers won’t get him in. At 1141 RBI’s, he comes in at 174.

The Hall-of-Fame Monitor lists Boyer at 86. A Hall of Famer is 100 or higher.

Similar players according to baseball-refernce.com include Paul O’Neill, Robin Ventura and Fred Lynn. There isn’t a single Hall-of-Famer in the 10 players compared with him.

The year he finished highest in Hall-of-Fame balloting was 1988. He got 25.5% of the vote. That was good enough for #11 that year. 4 players above him were elected or would go on to be elected. That means there were 6 non-HOF players the HOF Committee felt deserved the HOF more than Ken Boyer.

In conclusion… Well, this hurts to say, but looking at the numbers, I don’t see how you can put him in the Baseball Hall-of-Fame.

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2 Responses to Ken Boyer: Hall of Fame or Not?

  1. g.l.wren says:

    RON SANTO made the HAll OF FAME> His stats. and Boyer’s were pretty much the same. Santo got in, Boyer deserves to be in also.. Don’t forget Boyer did his Military oblgation of two years.

  2. Michael Wollscheidt says:

    I grew up in St. Louis, and Ken was my favorite as a kid, so I’m a bit biased here. . .BUT in his favor I would add. . .He won the FIRST 4 Gold Gloves ever awarded to a NL 3rd baseman. . .and in the 1964 World Series he hit a grand-slam in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium to win that game and even up the series at 2 games apiece. . .it was the turning point of that series as the Cardinals were trailing in that game 3-0 and about to go down 3 games to 1 with another game still to be played in New York. . .Oh, and Ken also homered in Game 7 to help win that game and the World Championship. . .his batting average really didn’t matter, it was his CLUTCH hitting that was so important in that series. . .Ken also had a .348 lifetime batting average in the All-Star game, placing him only one notch below Johnny Bench among players with 20 or more All-Star AB’s. . .and is regarded as the MVP of the 1956 All-Star Game (they didn’t give out an MVP award back then, but Ken had 3 hits and made 3 spectacular defensive plays at 3rd base in that game). . .I believe Ken also led the NL and tied the MLB record for double plays in a season at 3b a couple of times. . . and finally, regarding his career HR totals. . .Ken played all of his home games for 11 years as a Cardinal at the old Busch Stadium 1. . .down the line in left in that old park was 351′. . .in the current Busch Stadium, and most parks in MLB these days, down the line in left is right around 330′. . .the left field wall in Busch 1 was about 8-9 feet high as well. . .MANY balls that just make it over the wall in left at the new park would NOT have been HR’s in Busch 1. . .they just would have been long fly outs. . .So, since Ken played 77 – 81 home games a year in Busch 1, how many times during a season do you think he hit a long fly out to left that would be a HR in today’s park? I’m guessing quite a few. . .Let’s just say he hit only 10 long fly outs in 77-81 games each of his 11 seasons in St. Louis. . .Those long fly outs would have been HR’s in todays park, which would add about 110 homers to his career total. . .that would put him at about 392 for his career, which would be way more than Ron Santo, who just got into the Hall. . .and that’s being conservative with regard to how many long fly outs to left a strong right-handed pull-hitter like Boyer would have had each year in that old park. . .Another factor regarding his career numbers. . .Ken injured his back in 1965, his 12th year in the majors. . .the back never healed up completely and his numbers went way down as a result. . .because of that injury he really only played about 13 FULL seasons, with the remaining 2 years mostly coming off the bench. . .his last season with the Dodgers he had only 13 AB’s. . .As a result, his career numbers couldn’t possibly compare with players who played many more full seasons than Ken was able to. . .I’m not arguing that he should be in, just that he really does compare favorably to Santo, and without the back injury would have ended up with more impressive career totals. . .

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