Clete Boyer, one of the best fielding third basemen ever but who was overshadowed during his days with the New York Yankees because of an even better third baseman with the Baltimore Orioles named Brooks Robinson, died yesterday at age 70. The cause of death was a stroke.
- KC's View:
70. That's so young. And getting younger every day. Except that stories like this make us feel old.
Back in the early sixties, before the New York Mets brought superior National League-style baseball back to New York, we rooted for the Yankees because they were the only game in town…and because they had Mickey Mantle. We also vividly remember playing stickball and trying to imitate the playing styles of various Yankees, especially that wonderful infield made up of Boyer, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson and Joe Pepitone. It doesn’t seem that long ago…
We've told this story before, but we can remember in the early sixties when our dad took us to Yankee Stadium for a night game. It was the first major league game we'd ever been to, and we can remember walking through the tunnels of the old Yankee Stadium and stepping out onto the upper deck and seeing the most beautiful thing we'd ever seen in our lives – the green of the field, which shone like an emerald under the bright lights. It was only in later years that we realized why it had seemed so green – until that time, we'd only seen professional baseball on a black and white television.
Life is all about perception. And our perception, back in the sixties, was that Clete Boyer was a guy who caught almost everything that people hit in his general direction, and a guy who meant something to little kids. That's a pretty good legacy.