A heartfelt letter to the Modern Baseball Era Committee re: Ted Simmons

Diane Schultz, Founder

November 4, 2017

Modern Baseball Era Committee
National Baseball Hall of Fame
Cooperstown, NY

 Re:    Ted Lyle SimmonsSimba1
Position:   Catcher
Teams:    St. Louis Cardinals, 1968-1980
Milwaukee Brewers, 1981-1985
Atlanta Braves, 1986-1988

Dear Committee Members:

I am writing to you in reference to Ted Simmons, one of the best catchers ever.  It is my understanding that you are going to announce the 10 person Modern Baseball Era ballot on Monday, November 6.  I hope and pray that I am not too late to argue my case that Ted Simmons belongs on the Modern Baseball Era ballot.

My fellow blogger Mark Tomasek of Retrosimba.org has assembled the statistics that show that Mr. Simmons deserves to become an immortal in the Baseball Hall of Fame and I quote them here:

Simmons ranks second all-time among players whose primary position was catcher in each of three significant hitting categories: hits (2,472), RBI (1,389) and doubles (483). He trails only Yogi Berra (1,430) in RBI. Ivan Rodriguez leads in hits (2,844) and doubles (572).

He was named to the all-star team eight times, six as a Cardinal.

Simmons had 90 or more RBI in a season eight times, six as a Cardinal.

A durable, tough athlete who toiled most of his summers in St. Louis’ searing heat, Simmons played in 150 or more games in seven consecutive seasons (1972-78).

Simmons had a slugging percentage of .500 or better three seasons in a row (1977-80). That is remarkably consistent high-level production. Neither Johnny Bench nor Yogi Berra nor Carlton Fisk, for example, achieved .500 or better slugging percentages three straight years.

He ranks third in career total bases (3,793) by a player whose primary position was catcher. Only Ivan Rodriguez (4,451) and Carlton Fisk (3,999) have more.

In 1975, Simmons established the National League single-season record for most hits by a catcher. He hit .332 that year and 188 of his 193 hits came while in the lineup as a catcher.

He holds most of the Cardinals career and single-season hitting records for a catcher. In a franchise rich with success (11 World Series titles) and notable catchers (Roger Bresnahan, Walker Cooper, Tim McCarver, Darrell Porter, Tony Pena and Yadier Molina), Simmons is the best hitter of the bunch.

While he wasn’t a great defensive catcher, he was much better than generally recognized. He twice (1972 and ’78) led NL catchers in assists, and twice (1976 and ’78) led NL catchers in number of runners caught attempting to steal.

Numbers and statistics do not lie.  Mr. Simmons has the bona fides to be elected to the Hall of Fame.  Indeed, Mr. Simmons’ election to the Hall of Fame is long overdue.

Mr. Simmons was inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015, and I was in attendance to see my childhood favorite ballplayer be inducted. (And being the emotional woman that I am, I cried like a baby.)  Simba’s mane has grown silver over the years (and cut shorter), but he was as well-spoken as ever.  On behalf of myself and Cardinals/Brewers/Braves fans everywhere, my request is that you place Mr. Simmons on the Modern Baseball Era 2017 ballot.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  I look forward to the news of Mr. Simmons’ addition to the Modern Baseball Era ballot, and Mr. Simmons’ subsequent election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Very truly yours,

Diane M. Schultz


Bibliography:  “10 reasons why Ted Simmons is a Hall of Famer,” https://retrosimba.com/2010/11/15/10-reasons-why-simmons-is-a-hall-of-famer/ 

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