Boyer's resume stacks up with Hall of Famers

December 1st, 2021
Design by Tom Forget

On Dec. 5, the Hall of Fame’s Early Baseball Era Committee (pre-1950) and Golden Days Era Committee (1950-69) will meet to vote on 10-player ballots, with the results announced live on MLB Network that night at 6 p.m. ET. We're here to offer a primer on the 20 players who are up for consideration. Click here to view the other posts.

Player: Ken Boyer

Years: 1955-69 (MLB)

Career stats: .287/.349/.462, 2,143 H, 282 HR, 1,141 RBIs, 5 Gold Gloves, 1964 NL MVP

Every Hall of Fame voting season, we have occasion to look back through baseball history and consider which players who aren't enshrined have a good case for Cooperstown. And many get that second chance after not being elected via the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, thanks to the Hall of Fame's Era committees, which are comprised of Hall of Famers, executives and veteran media members.

Former Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer is one of those candidates on this year's Golden Era Committee ballot. Here's a look at why Boyer is a worthy candidate for a plaque in Cooperstown:

A decorated third baseman

When it comes to the traditional marks of a strong Hall of Fame candidate, Boyer stacks up -- he was a seven-time All-Star, won five Gold Glove Awards at the hot corner, was the 1964 National League MVP and won a World Series ring with the Cardinals. His number 14 was retired by the Cardinals in 1984, two years after his death. He is the only player to have his number retired by the Cardinals who is not in the Hall of Fame.

The value proposition

Boyer produced 62.8 wins above replacement (per Baseball Reference) over his 15-year career -- 11 of which were spent with the St. Louis -- which works out to 5 WAR per 162 games. To put that into context, there are only four third basemen in baseball history who produced more career WAR than Boyer who aren't in the Hall of Fame -- Adrián Beltré, who seems to be a shoo-in for enshrinement in Cooperstown when he becomes eligible, Scott Rolen (who is currently on the Hall of Fame ballot), Graig Nettles and Buddy Bell. And of those, only Beltré and Rolen had a higher WAR/162.

Boyer hit more home runs (282) than 12 of the 17 third basemen currently in the Hall of Fame. Only seven of those 17 third basemen already enshrined in Cooperstown produced a higher career WAR than Boyer's 62.8. And his 58.1 WAR in a Cardinals uniform is more than double the figure for the third baseman in second place in franchise history, Matt Carpenter (26.8).

Peak performance

At his peak, Boyer was one of the game's elite third basemen -- only Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews edged Boyer in WAR from 1958-64, by a margin of 47.5 to 45. Next on the list was Brooks Robinson, and he was nearly 20 WAR behind Boyer. Over that span, Boyer hit .303/.372/.500 and won five Gold Glove Awards in seven seasons.

According to Jay Jaffe's JAWS, Boyer had a higher WAR over his peak seven years than the average third baseman in the Hall of Fame.

In 1964, Boyer helped lead the Cardinals to a World Series title in seven games over the Yankees. Boyer launched a pair of homers in that series -- a grand slam that accounted for all of St. Louis' runs in a 4-3 Game 4 victory, and a solo shot in the seventh inning of the decisive Game 7.

Worthy of the Hall

Boyer's achievements on the baseball diamond merit Hall of Fame election based on the value he produced both at the plate and at the hot corner over a 15-year career. He stacks up well with the current group of third basemen enshrined in Cooperstown, and as the player widely considered the best third baseman in Cardinals history, he is more than deserving of the honor.