(Updated March 3, 2017)
Entering the 1960 season, Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer, in the prime of his career at age 28, set a goal for himself of hitting 30 home runs that year.
Sparked by a sizzling start, Boyer hit a career-high 32 homers for the 1960 Cardinals. It was one of three times Boyer hit 25 or more home runs in a season for St. Louis. He hit 26 in 1956 and 28 in 1959.
Clete Boyer, Ken’s younger brother, also a third baseman, hit a career-high 26 homers for the 1967 Braves. Ken and Clete Boyer became the first brothers to each hit 25 homers or more in a season in the major leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The others to do it are: third baseman Aaron Boone (26 for the 2002 Reds) and second baseman Bret Boone (37 for the 2001 Mariners and 35 for the 2003 Mariners), and outfielders Justin Upton (six seasons with 25 or more home runs) and Melvin Upton (28 for the 2012 Rays).
(No big-league brother combination has achieved 25 or more homers apiece in the same season.)
Ken Boyer started fast in 1960, hitting six home runs (five against the Dodgers) and driving in 15 runs in his first 15 games. The consensus was he had reached elite status in the National League.
In an interview for the May 4, 1960, edition of The Sporting News, Cardinals manager Solly Hemus said of Boyer, “He can do everything _ run with speed, hit for both power and average and field with the best. In fact, he’s the best defensive third baseman I’ve ever seen.”
Cardinals general manager Bing Devine called Boyer “one of the top five players in the National League on all-around ability.”
Said Fred Hutchinson, who managed the Cardinals from 1956-58: “(Boyer) has terrific speed, a great arm, brute strength. There’s nothing he can’t do. He’s the kind of player you dream about.”
Boyer hit four homers in a span of three consecutive games April 23-25 in 1960. He hit one each against Dodgers pitchers Danny McDevitt and Larry Sherry on April 23. Boxscore He followed that with a homer against the Dodgers’ Stan Williams on April 24 Boxscore and another against the Giants’ Johnny Antonelli on April 25. Boxscore
A month later, May 25, 1960, Boyer hit a pair of homers against the Braves’ Warren Spahn. Boxscore Boyer hit more homers (11) against Spahn, a Hall of Fame left-hander, than he did against any other pitcher in his career.
The 32 home runs by Boyer in 1960 were the most by a Cardinal since Stan Musial slugged 33 in 1955.
Boyer was amazingly consistent. He hit 16 homers at home and 16 on the road in 1960. Sixteen were hit against right-handed pitchers and 16 were hit against left-handed pitchers.
“It doesn’t really make any difference where’s he’s playing,” Hemus said to The Sporting News about Boyer. “None of his homers are flukes anyway.”
Boyer also hit a home run (a two-run shot in the ninth inning off the Indians’ Gary Bell) in the 1960 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. It was one of four National League homers hit in the game. Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays and Stan Musial hit the others. Boxscore
Boyer finished the 1960 regular season with a .304 batting average, 32 homers, 97 RBI, a .370 on-base percentage and 168 hits in 151 games. He placed fourth in the NL in home runs, behind the Cubs’ Ernie Banks (41), the Braves’ Hank Aaron (40) and the Braves’ Eddie Mathews (39).
Ken Boyer and Clete Boyer never played together in the big leagues. Clete received a $35,000 signing bonus from the Athletics in 1955. He came up to the major leagues with Kansas City that year and played shortstop as well as third base. The 26 homers he hit for Atlanta in 1967 represented the only time Clete Boyer hit 20 or more in a 16-season big-league career.
In a May 11, 1960, article, The Sporting News reported how Clete Boyer signed with the Athletics rather than the Cardinals:
The Redbirds had another bonus shortstop on their hands, Dick Schofield, and preferred to devote their bonus dollars to a pitcher, who turned out to be Lindy McDaniel. Otherwise, Cletis, now just 22, might be joining Ken in a rarity, a left-field side of the infield made up of two brothers.