Monday, December 7, 2009

1976 Topps #290 - Ted Simmons

  • Ted Simmons was a good catcher who was overshadowed by Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Thurman Munson, and Gary Carter. There were quite a few good catchers in the 70s. If he would have had a better decline phase, he would probably be in the Hall of Fame. Although he put up good offensive numbers, the fact that he didn't lead the league in any of the major categories during his career probably works against him. Looking strictly at the numbers, Ted's defense was at league average during his career. Here is a Hardball Times article that examines the pros and cons of Ted Simmons belonging in the Hall of Fame
  • Ted Simmons was the first round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1967. Simmons started in the minors as a 17-year-old in '67 and tore up the minors from 1968-1970. Ted had two late season looks in 1968 and 1969. In late May 1970 Simmons came up to the majors for good. He batted .243 in 82 games.
  • In 1971 Simmons became the regular catcher. Ted batted .303 with 7 HR and 77 RBI in 133 games. He would play in at least 140 games in every season but 1979 (123 games) for the rest of his tenure with the Cardinals.
  • Ted started to develop some power in 1972 (he was still only 22 years old) and hit 16 homers. Ted batted .303 that season and was selected to the first of eight All Star games (six for the Cardinals and two for the Milwaukee Brewers).
  • In 1973 Ted was an All Star again (he went 0 for 1) and batted .310 with 13 HR and 90 RBI. Simmons had a lower batting average (.272) in 1974 but hit for more power (20 HR, 103 RBI). He was selected to the All Star game but didn't get in the game.
  • Simmons had what was probably his best year in 1975 but wasn't selected to the All Star Game. He batted .332 with 18 HR and 100 RBI and was 6th in NL MVP voting. Ted's power numbers were way down in 1976 -- he batted .291 but hit only five home runs and knocked in only 75 runs.
  • In 1977 Ted had another good year (.318, 21 HR, 95 RBI), made the All Star team (he was 0 for 3 as a sub for Johnny Bench), and was 9th in MVP voting. Simmons was voted to the 1978 All Star Game as a starter by the fans. He went 1 for 3 in the game. Ted batted .287 with 22 HR and 80 RBI in '78.
  • Ted batted .286 with a career-high 26 home runs in 1979. He was on the 1979 NL All Star team but didn't play. The team had five catchers (Bench, Simmons, Gary Carter, John Stearns, and starter Bob Boone) that year. His final year with the Cardinals was 1980. Simmons batted .303 with 21 HR and 98 RBI. Ted didn't get along with new manager Whitey Herzog. He was packaged with Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich in a big trade with the Milwaukee Brewers after the 1980 season.
  • Simmons made the AL All Star team in 1981 (he had a pinch hit RBI single) although he had an awful year. He batted .216 with 14 HR and 61 RBI. Ted batted .222 in the 1981 ALDS. Simmons had a better year for the Brewers in 1982 -- he batted .269 with 23 HR and 97 RBI. He didn't do much in the post season (.167 in the ALCS and .174 in the World Series).
  • In 1983 Ted made the All Star team for the last time. He was the starting catcher for the American League and went 0 for 2. He batted .308 with 13 RBI and 108 RBI in '83. By this time Ted was spending more time as the designated hitter. After the 1983 season Simmons became a free agent and decided to resign with the Brewers.
  • The 1984 season was Ted's worst season as a regular player. He batted .221 with 4 HR and 52 RBI. Simmons had a better year in 1985, his last as a regular player. He batted .273 with 12 HR and 76 RBI. During spring training in 1986 the Brewers traded Simmons to the Atlanta Braves for Rick Cerone and two minor leaguers.
  • Simmons spent the last three seasons of his career as a pinch hitter and backup for the Braves. After the 1988 season Ted retired and was hired by ex-teammate Dal Maxvill as Director of Player Development for the Cardinals.
  • After his playing career Simmons was a front office executive for several years. He became the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992 but stepped down in June 1993 after he had a heart attack. Ted was Director of Player Development for the Cardinals and the San Diego Padres. He was the bench coach for the Brewers in 2008 and for the Padres in 2009.
  • Baseball Prospectus 2008 interview with Simmons

  • Liked to face: Burt Hooton (.345 in 87 AB); Rick Reuschel (.357 in 84 AB); Ernie McAnally (.552 in 29 AB); Jack Billingham (.444 in 45 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jack Morris (.158 in 38 AB); Ed Whitson (.111 in 27 AB); Frank Tanana (.063 in 32 AB); Phil Niekro (.203 in 79 AB)


  1. A forgotten great. Awesome links to articles about him!

  2. Simmons is the source of great debates with my friends. I believe he is absolutely a Hall of Famer. Of course, my friends tell me I have a mancrush on him (which might be true). Still, like the article stated, even if he doesn't belong in the HOF, he certainly deserved more consideration.

  3. Hall of fame player? Maybe. Hall of fame haircut? Definitely!

  4. Simmons looks like he should be on the Partridge Family, with that haircut!