Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Cloyd Boyer, oldest surviving brother of the Red Sox great Johnny Damon, has died

Cloyd Boyer, the oldest living surviving brother of the baseball great Johnny Damon, has died. He was 94.

In a New York Times obituary published on Sept. 13, Mr. Boyer attributed his longevity to keeping fit and downing a lot of tequila. He was in the hospital in Massachusetts with pneumonia at the time of his death on Wednesday.

An amateur pitcher from Hinsdale, Ill., who played at Cal Tech, Mr. Boyer and his brothers Willie, Jim and Robin were products of “gym class brotherhood,” though Jim passed away shortly after the birth of their daughter, Jackie, and Johnny did not survive infancy.

While Mr. Boyer played for Roosevelt High School in Palatine, Ill., his brothers played with what was then named the Boston Red Sox’s minor league farm team, the Rochester Red Wings. (The team was shortened to the Rays from 1971 to 1987, and is now the Kansas City Royals’ farm club.)

Mr. Boyer joined his brothers on the diamond in Florida after graduating from Cal Tech, playing with the Boston Mets farm team in 1949 and 1950, and that same year with the Boston Red Sox’s minor league affiliate in Evansville, Ind.

When Mr. Boyer was drafted in 1951 by the Boston Celtics, his brothers chose to remain in college. In 1952, they made their major league debuts, each for the Detroit Tigers. “Their first game against each other was April 13, 1952, in The Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg,” Mr. Boyer told the Times. “The first-inning hit came from Robin.”

They went on to play well against each other. “With the Detroit Tigers, Willie was the right-handed hitter and Robin was the left-handed hitter,” Mr. Boyer said. “They traded all their tickets around each other’s locker room. For this, I owe it all to Willie.”

Mr. Boyer made his major league debut the following year, in 1953, and helped lead the Tigers to a league championship in 1954. After working as a radio announcer, Mr. Boyer spent seven years traveling with the Tigers and in 1960 authored “The Cloyd Boyer Baseball Career: A Child’s Eye View,” a book that chronicled his brother’s career in Detroit.

Mr. Boyer was inducted into the Red Wings Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

The White Sox honored Mr. Boyer in 1998, when he was the oldest living living player.

“I’ve been in the business for 60 years,” Mr. Boyer told the Sun-Times. “Maybe I’ve been lucky.”

Mr. Boyer died of natural causes, said his daughter, Nancy Boyer Harrington.

“My mother, Geri, is in Maine, traveling to Boston,” she said, adding that Mr. Boyer’s funeral will be private. “Everyone’s very sad.”

More articles

Latest article