Royals/Yankees/Braves infielder Clete Boyer, winner of the AL 3B Gold Glove in 1969 and a 16 year big league vet (along with 4 subsequent years with Japan’s Taiyo Whales), passed away yesterday at the age of 70.
Clete Boyer was one of baseball’s all-time fun-and-frolic seekers. In the spring of 1965, he and Yankee teammate Roger Maris were involved in a fistfight with another patron outside a Fort Lauderdale nightspot. Three years later, he and then-Braves teammates Bob Uecker and Deron Johnson became embroiled in another after-hours bar brawl in West Palm Beach. In 1971, Boyer was fined $1,000 by commissioner Bowie Kuhn after admitting to betting on football in 1968 and ’69.
Finally, it was Boyer’s outspoken objection to Braves manager Luman Harris’ strictly enforced midnight road curfew before day games that led to his release by Atlanta in 1971. He played out the season with Hawaii in the Pacific Coast League before finishing his career in Japan.
One incident in which fun sought him out occurred Aug.31, 1969, as Boyer came to the plate immersed in a 1-for-17 slump. Morganna, the infamous buxom blond “kissing bandit,” raced out of the stands and planted a kiss on him. Boyer proceeded to get an RBI single and eight hits in next 15 at-bats.