Cards All-Time Top 40 – Ted Simmons #11


Posted Feb 13, 2007


The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their long-time star catcher from the 1970’s, Ted Simmons.

Ted Lyle Simmons

The Basics

Position

Bat

Thw

Total Yrs

Yrs in StL

HR

RBI

SB

Avg

Catcher

Both

Right

1968-1988

1968-1980

172

929

11

.298

The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ

All-Star

MVP

Cy Young

Gold Glove

 -

 -

 -

6

 -

NA

 -

Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Simmons’ career stats available from baseball-reference.com.

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (14): Simmons has a higher ranking on another list – the names of former Cardinals who should be in the Hall of Fame but aren’t, joining Ken Boyer, Marty Marion and Terry Moore.

Simmons had the misfortune of playing in an era when the All-Star catching honors were dominated by Johnny Bench, and also during an era when the Cardinals weren’t good enough to make postseason appearances, so virtually nobody saw Simmons outside of St. Louis.

He caught a franchise record 1,440 games, hit 20 or more home runs five times (when it was hard to hit homers in St. Louis) and drove in 90 or more runs six times.

Jerry Modene (12): Poor Simba; he had to play an era when Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Thurman Munson were getting all the headlines, and in an era when the Cardinals were slipping into mediocrity to boot.

Simmons nevertheless rates as one of the all-time great hitters among catchers with an unfair reputation for defensive shortcomings (thanks a lot, Whitey) – he was a lion behind the plate (pun intended) and a much better defensive catcher than, say, Mike Piazza, and probably a better overall player than Munson – and perhaps as good as Fisk.

So he couldn’t reach the level of Johnny Bench, but who in baseball history could? Maybe Berra, maybe Campanella, maybe Piazza if you’re willing to overlook the fact that the man, even in the prime of his career, was a clod defensively.

But there’s no shame in being the second-best catcher of his era. It is a shame that Simmons will never make the Hall of Fame.

Ray Mileur (13): Ted Simmons is one of three Cardinals that I believe belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame, with the other two, Ken Boyer and manager Billy Southworth.

Simmons has caught more games than any catcher in Cardinals history and still to this day ranks in the club’s top 10 list in; total bases (8th-2626), RBI (6th-929), doubles (10th-332), walks (8th-624), hits (10th-1704), and home runs (9th-172). He finished his 21 years in the majors with 2,472 hits, 248 home runs, 1,389 RBI and a lifetime batting average of .285.

Sportswriter Jeff Murdock once said it best, “Simmons ranks in the top 5 among catchers in 15 categories and in the top 10 in 17 categories. He excelled in reaching base, driving in runs, getting extra base hits, and motivating his teammates to succeed--all while meeting the challenges of switch hitting and playing the most physically demanding position in baseball. All those facts add up to one simple statement: Ted Simmons deserves a plaque in Cooperstown.“

I agree with Murdock. Simmons is the best catcher in Cardinals’ history and deserves this high ranking among the All-Time Cardinal greats and a plaque in Cooperstown.

Brian Walton (15): Simmons had star potential from the very beginning. Drafted tenth overall in 1967 at the age of 17, he made his first appearance in the majors the next year. Groomed to replace the popular Tim McCarver behind the plate, Simmons was a regular before the age of 21.

As a Cardinal, he batted above .300 and topped 90 RBIs six times and reached 20 home runs five different seasons, switch-hitting all the while. In fact, Simmons set the National League career home run record for a switch-hitter with 182 and slammed 483 career doubles.

My worst feelings about the otherwise-exciting 1982 World Series were in seeing the man who may have deserved to enjoy it the most, Ted Simmons, hitting home runs for the opposing Milwaukee Brewers instead of the Cardinals. Though he had departed from St. Louis via trade at the age of 31 following the 1980 season, Simmons had already cemented his legacy as the greatest catcher in franchise history.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


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