Ted Simmons: The Hall of Fame Case


Former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If you live in the FSN Midwest viewing market or took advantage of today’s Cardinals-Brewers game being the game of the day, you heard Dan, Al, and Rick talking about Ted Simmons and the Hall of Fame.

According to the broadcast, the Veterans Committee (Expansion Era Committee) will be considering the longtime catcher for Hall of Fame induction when they put together the ballot and vote.

Let’s look at the numbers really quick. He played 21 seasons from 1968 until 1988. He retired with 2,472 career hits. It was the record for catchers until he was passed by Ivan Rodriguez. His 483 doubles rank second. His 248 career home runs rank 11th. His 1,389 RBI are ahead of Johnny Bench and behind only Yogi Berra. He scored 1,074 runs, good enough for 6th all-time. The 855 career walks are 8th all time.

Johnny Bench was his contemporary but while Bench had more power, Simmons had more contact with the ball. Bench was a career .267 hitter while Simmons hit .285 in his career.

It won’t be easy for Simmons.

Simmons will have an even harder time for the 2014 ballot then he did in 2011 due to some notable managers appearing on the ballot for the first time. The managers appearing on the ballot for the first time are: Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Lou Piniella and Joe Torre. La Russa (3x World Series champ, 3x AL Manager of the Year, 3rd place in managerial wins all time), Torre (4x World Series champ, 5th place in managerial wins all time), and Cox (4x Manager of the Year, 1 World Series win, and 4th place in managerial wins all time) are the no-brainers to be induction. Piniella has a harder case–a 3-time manager of the year with only 1 World Series win but ranks 14th all time in wins.

Ed Montague, a longtime umpire, will be up for his first time.

Notable players that will be eligible for the first time include: Bob Boone, Bill Buckner, Dwight Evans, Keith Hernandez, Fred Lynn, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Willie Randolph and Frank White.

Defensively, one can make the case for Keith Hernandez and Dwight Evans. Evans is close to 2,500 hits and 400 career home runs so it could help his chances of getting in. Hernandez won 11 Gold Gloves at 1st Base and owns two World Series rings. In this era of sabermetrics, it is kind of hard to ignore him. He has a lifetime batting average of .296 and was the 1979 NL MVP.

Boone was an excellent defensive catcher with 7 Gold Gloves but not that great in the batter’s box.

Buckner finished with over 2,700 hits in his career but he’s most remembered for letting a ball get through his legs.

Parker won 2 World Series rings, finished his career with over 2,700 hits, and 339 home runs. On the defensive side, he won quite a few Gold Gloves.

White has over 2,000 hits and won 8 Gold Gloves at 2nd Base.

Now that I’ve gone over the notable new members of the upcoming ballot, there will likely be some holdovers including Simmons that will be considered. Marvin Miller, the longtime head of the MLBPA, should have been inducted a long time ago. After picking up 11 votes on the 2011 ballot, the late Miller is due for induction. Dave Concepción finished in 3rd in voting for the 2011 ballot with 8 votes.

Other candidates from the 2011 ballot that could be considered this time around are Vida Blue, Steve Garvey, Billy Martin, Ron Guidy, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Rusty Staub, and George Steinbrenner.