Clete Boyer came to the Yankees franchise as part of a colossal eleven player deal between the Yankees and the Kansas City Athletics in 1957. Boyer had been signed by the A’s on May 31, 1955 as a “Bonus Baby” and was playing in the Major Leagues six days later. As a member of the A’s, Boyer played sporadically between 1955 and 1957 appearing in 124 games over those three seasons before the trade to the Yankees. Once he became a Yankees property, Boyer spent the better part of three seasons (1957-1959) in the Minor Leagues.
In 1960, Clete Boyer returned to the Major Leagues and became the Yankees starting third baseman. He held the position through the 1966 season as the Yankees transitioned from perennial World Series winners to a second-division club.
As a defender, Boyer was spectacular. He led the American League in putouts once (1962) and was second four other times. On three occasions (1961, 1962, 1965), he led the American League in assists.
In the years 1960-1964, Boyer played in five consecutive World Series, two of which were won by the Yankees. His best World Series was 1962 where he hit .318. In Game One of that series, Clete Boyer hit a seventh inning homerun to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in a game they would win. That series was the last World Series the Yankees would win until 1977.
In the 1964 World Series, the Clete Boyer battled against his brother Ken Boyer’s St. Louis Cardinals. Ken Boyer had been the National League’s Most Valuable Player that year. In the final game of the 1964 World Series, a game in which the Cardinals won the championship, both Clete and his brother Ken hit home runs.
Clete Boyer was traded to the Atlanta Braves following the 1966 season. Boyer played with the Braves through the 1971 season. In 1969, in the National League and away from the shadow of Brooks Robinson, Clete Boyer won his one and only Gold Glove Award.
Brooks Robinson won the American league Gold Glove Award for third base sixteen years in a row, from 1960 through 1975, an absolutely remarkable feat. His outstanding play prevented other defensive standouts at the position from attaining that honor. Because of Brooks Robinson, Clete Boyer was never able to win a Gold Glove in the American League. Boyer, though, was not the only deserving Yankee candidate for the award who could not break Robinson’s hold on the award. The other player who lost out to Brooks Robinson was the man who was one of the best third baseman in Yankees history, Graig Nettles.
Graig Nettles played eleven years as a New York Yankee. During that time, he was a powerful hitter, a stellar defender, and a team leader. In 1982, Nettles was named Captain of the Yankees, an honor that had been given only to Lou Gehrig and Thurman Munson in the previous 47 years. Nettles is the only third baseman in Yankees history to have served as Captain.