Tuesday, June 05, 2007

In memoriam: Clete Boyer

A confession that might end my career in Boston (although my family already knows and they have chosen to stay with me): I not only grew up in New York but was a Yankees fan during my formative years as a boy. Our heroes in the 1960's included the spectacular infield quartet of Moose Skowran at first, Bobby Richardson at second, Tony Kubek at short, and Clete Boyer at third. (By the way, the outfield was all right, too!)

Boyer just died at age 70. We remember him as making spinning, diving stops, and then connecting with superb throws -- sometimes on his knees. Bobby Richardson is quoted in the obituary today, "When I made the double play, I could just about close my eyes, put my glove up, and the ball would be there."

On a summer night in Boston, I can still feel the boyhood thrill of watching an awesome double play. Now I root for Mike Lowell at third, but Cletus Leroy Boyer is embedded in my memory.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember Joe Pepitone at first base during those years.

Anonymous said...

This is a preemptive action .. remember Wednesday is student day!

Paul Levy said...

Great minds . . .

Just finished it!

Jerry said...

I also had that same brief Yankee era -- when the Indians traded Rocky Colavito. When the Rock came back, so did I.

Maxine said...

My dad is 96 and has been a staunch Yankee fan all of his life. His reason - when he was a boy, the Red Sox did not hire Italians. that simple.

Anonymous said...

This year I'm a Yankees fan. I always go for the underdogs He he

JM said...

Paul,

Imagine my disappointment when I read this post. I too was a boy in NYC (Staten Island) during those years and loved the Yankees. I also remember Boyer spinning, twirling and throwing to first from his knees. Mantle was my personal favorite but Bobby Richardson was a close second. I must have a thing for second basemen as Willie Randolph is my all-time favorite Yankee. I remember attending my first baseball game at the Stadium with my father in 1962 and have great memories of my first World Series game in 1963 (Game 2, the Yankees lost the game and the series to the Dodgers).

I still am a die hard Yankees fan and live and die (this year mostly die) with them every night. I still hurt when I see Mariano Rivera coming into a game as I inevitably remember that awful night in Arizona and a few horrible games against the Red Sox.

I have spent much time searching for the inherent character flaw which could cause a loyal New Yorker to abandon their team for the Red Sox. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Paul Levy said...

sigh.

it is almost too hard to explain.

will have to do it in person some day.

at fenway.

SFG said...

I have spent much time searching for the inherent character flaw which could cause a loyal New Yorker to abandon their team for the Red Sox. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

How about this: he moved to Boston.

I have to say I am touched by the appreciation Bostonians have for their team. I grew up in the Enemy City but was never much of a sports fan so chants of 'Yankees Suck!' don't really bother me.

rob said...

Well, Paul, another thing we have in common. Just was running through your posts and noticed this. I was, and still am, an avid Yankee fan, though these days it's not as fulfilling as it was when I was a kid. What about Andy Carey? Did he pre-date Clete Boyer?

Rob

Paul Levy said...

I didn't know him. Pls, say more about him.

Anonymous said...

My background seems similar to Paul's. I grew up with the yankee teams of the late 50's and 60's. Boyer was always my favorite and unfortunately took 2nd place to Brooks in those days. In my mind, Brooks was the better overall player, but Clete was the pure defensive 3rd baseman.
PS I now live in Boston as well and BIDMC is the earthly reason I am still living.

Saint said...

I met Clete outside the Royal Package store in Lilburn Georgia in 2006. I knew who he was from the owner and being named after Mickey Mantle I said hello to him and told him even though I was "young" (40) years old and never saw him play I knew who he was....a great 3rd baseman.
When I told him my name and how my father named me after Mickey Mantle he told me how his son was Mickey and how he too named him after Mantle.
Here is where it gets great...as I walked out of the store he was looking through his brown? custom van for something and he told me "wait a minute". He signed me a ball with his normal WS inscription on it.
Seeing how great a guy he was I called my dad in Wilkes Barre PA (thank God for cell phones) and he and Clete talked for almost 10 minutes about kids and baseball and Mantle. They were to meet one day in New York where he spent his summers. Sadly they never got to meet.
I can't tell you how nice a man he was to meet. I was a stranger and he was so kind.
I hope someone will read this and tell his family.

Mickey D.(Lilburn, GA)

Anonymous said...

Wow!
I hope that last comment gets to Clete's family. Wonderful story...