As I write the chapter on Ken Boyer’s tenure as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1978-1980, I’m struck by his dry sense of humor and thoughtful observations of the game. Perhaps his humor wasn’t laugh-out-loud-funny, but it was certainly witty. Below are a few examples I found during a difficult 1980 season when the Cardinals were plagued with injuries, the best offense in the National League that couldn’t score runs, and had a record of 18-33 before he was dismissed as manager.
“Our pitching rotation is a ‘Who’s Who.’ That is, I’m still not sure who’s who.”
“I took some hitting practice last night,” the 49-year-old Boyer told one writer after commenting that the team needed a right-handed pinch-hitter. The writer asked how it went. “I still think we need a right-handed pinch-hitter.”
After the Cardinals lost their seventh straight game, it seemed inevitable that the major-league players would strike against the owners. “They should have struck nine days ago,” said Boyer.
After the Cardinals had lost 10 games in a row:
“You come out here and start to wonder how it’s going to happen today.”
“Can you pitch?” Ken asked writer Rick Hummel.
“Sure,” he replied.
“Can you throw strikes?”
Hummel couldn’t make any promises.
“Every game is different, but yet they’re all the same.”
UPDATE: Here are a few additional quotes from Ken’s time managing in the minor leagues from 1970-1978:
When Triple-A phenom Garry Templeton got off to a sensational start with the Tulsa Oilers in 1976:
“He didn’t have any jitters, but one rose doesn’t make a summer.”