Friday, December 17, 2010

The Thinking Switch-Hitter

Here's a guy who played for a very long time, and at a position that was quite physically damaging:

Card #85 -- Ted Simmons, St. Louis Cardinals

Ted Simmons was one of the better-hitting catchers of his era, even if he was overshadowed by Johnny Bench for much of his career. He was well-renowned as a switch hitter and also known as one of the smartest men playing in the game.

In part due to his "smarts," Simmons was one of a small handful of players who began 1972 without a contract. After a short players' strike that delayed the opening of the season, a few decided to complete one season without being under contract to see if they could test the reserve clause. In Simmons' case, he became a valuable tool for the Cardinals and was eventually offered a deal before the season was through. He remained with the Cards until after the 1980 season, when disagreements with manager Whitey Herzog got him banished to Milwaukee.

In 1982, Ted Simmons had the pleasure of facing off against his old team in the World Series. The Brewers lost, but not due to a lack of effort on the part of Ted Simmons, who hit two home runs. He stayed with the Brewers until being traded the the Braves in '86. After three years as a utility player and pinch hitter, Simmons retired.

When he hung up his mask for good, Ted Simmons held several all-time records as a catcher including hits and doubles. He also held the National League's record for home runs by a switch-hitter. All of these marks have since been broken, but that doesn't diminish the role he played over a 21-year career at one of the hardest positions in the game.


  1. So why isn't Simba in the HOF? It boggles my mind.

  2. For hair and eyes alone, he should be in the hall of fame. Great looking guy, awesome player, intelligent, well thought of during his career and afterwards. He should be there and in my opinion, will be in the next few years. There's just too much momentum and far too many backers whose influence may just enable his enshrinement. I will be there rooting him on when it happens. Can't wait.