Cloyd Boyer, Last of a Three-Brother Baseball Rarity, dies at 94 years old

Cloyd Boyer, Last of a Three-Brother Baseball Rarity, dies at 94 years old

Cloyd Boyer pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Athletics, and worked in a baseball career nearly half a century later as a pitch coach for the Yankees and Atlanta Braves and as a minor league manager, a diligent pitching instructor and a scout.

But in none of these roles was he particularly well known. What brought him his biggest award was something more familiar: He joined third basemen Ken and Clete Boyer in a three-brother major league rarity.

After surviving both Ken and Clete, Cloyd Boyer died Monday at 94 at a nursing home in Carthage, Mo. His death was confirmed by his son Ken.

Boyers was not the only brother trio to play in the major leagues at the same time. Joe, Dom and Vince DiMaggio came famously in front of them. More recently it was Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou, and Benjie, José and Yadier Molina. But across baseball history, remarkable three-brother combinations are a small brotherhood.

Cloyd was the eldest of seven brothers; he also had seven sisters. The four Boyer boys who did not reach the big leagues played in minors. Cloyd’s promising pitching career suffered injuries, but Ken and Clete, the youngest of the three, flourished in the major leagues.

Ken Boyer played for 15 seasons, 11 with the Cardinals, and managed them later. As a fixture on the All-Star team, he was the National League’s most valuable player in 1964, when the cards met his brother Clete’s Yankees in the World Series. Ken hit two home races and a double and ran six races in the Cardinals’ seven-game winning streak. He later played for the Mets, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. He ended his career with 282 home runs and 2,143 hits.

Clete Boyer, known for his sharp field work at third base, spent 16 seasons in the majors. After playing for Athletics, he was a Yankee from 1959 to 1966, appearing with stars such as Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford on five pennants that won, two of them World Series champions. He later spent five seasons with the Braves.

Ken Boyer died in 1982 at 51, and Clete Boyer died in 2007 at 70. Both had cancer.

Cloyd, a right-hander with an outstanding fastball, competed in the Cardinals from 1949 to 1952 and was a teammate in the future Hall of Famers Stan musical, Red Shoe Service and Enos Slaughter. After being sent to the minors, he pitched for Kansas City in 1955.

A shoulder injury shortened his big league career and left him with a record of 20-23.

Long afterwards, he maintained that the chances of returning from injury had been spoiled by the baseball wisdom of his time and a strange instruction from Eddie Stanky, who became the Cardinals’ leader in 1952.

“The whole philosophy was to go through pain, and it would eventually disappear,” Cloyd was quoted as saying in Lew Freedman’s “The Boyer Brothers of Baseball” (2015). “And if your arm doesn’t come around, we’ll get someone else.”

Not only did the shoulder never fully come around, the injury was further exacerbated by Stanky’s insistence that he work on his base running skills.

He recounted how Stanky, seeing his potential as a pinch runner, had put him through exercises where he practiced crawling back to first base to avoid being picked out. As Boyer put it: “He wanted to be my coach. He shouted, ‘Come back!’ And I had to dive back. I think that was when I injured my arm the second time. ”

After his one season with Kansas City, Boyer pitched under the minors until 1961. He was the pitching coach for the Yankees in 1975 and 1977 and with the Atlanta Braves later in the 1970s and early ’80s. He excelled in the Yankees’ minor league system and worked for them as a touring pitching instructor and a scout.

Cloyd Victor Boyer was born on September 1, 1927, on the outskirts of Alba, Mo, near the city of Joplin in the southwestern part of the state. His father, Chester, was a merchant and worked on road construction projects run by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration. His mother, Mable (Means) Boyer, cared for the large family.

He graduated from Alba High School in 1945, lined up for a naval team on occupation service in Japan after World War II, and was then signed by the Cardinals from a trial camp.

He retired from baseball after leading a minor league team in the Braves’ organization in the 1992 season.

Cloyd’s brothers Wayne, Lynn, Len and Ron all played in the minor leagues.

In addition to son Ken, Boyer is survived by his wife, Nadine (Witherspoon) Boyer; another son, Jim; a daughter, Cheryl Boyer; 10 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brother Ronnie; and his sisters Deloris Webb, Pansy Schell, Shirley Lockhart, Bobbi McNary and Marcy Layton.

Although he enjoyed a long baseball career and was considered an outstanding student in the game, Cloyd Boyer let his deeds speak for themselves.

“I do not go around bragging about anything,” he said in “The Boyer Brothers of Baseball.”

“As I thought, the Lord has been kind to me. I was lucky. “

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