Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, and nine others have all been given a bronze bust as being some of the best catchers in the MLB. But one man is missing from that long list.
Ted "Simba" Simmons was just as good in his 21 years in the majors. Well 19, as he saw just seven games of action in his first two years combined of 1968-69 in St. Louis.
Once he was named the starting catcher for the Cardinals in the early '70's, it appeared that he never wanted to give the job up. Simmons started 150 or more games every year between 1972-78.
He was a Cardinal from 1968-80, then made it to Milwaukee from 1981-85, and helped the Brewers in their 1982 World Series run against his former team. He then went to Atlanta from 1986-88 to finish out his career, where his numbers were considerably off his normal output. He was named to the All-Star team eight times.
Since Bench, Fisk and Carter played in the same era as Simmons, let's compare Simba's numbers to those three greats.
Johnny Bench: .267; 2158 games; 7658 AB; 1091 R; 2048 hits; 381 doubles; 389 HR; 1376 RBI.
Gary Carter: .262; 2296 games, 7971 AB; 1025 R; 2092 hits; 371 doubles; 324 HR; 1225 RBI.
Carlton 'Pudge' Fisk: .269; 2499 games; 8756 AB; 1276 R; 2356 hits; 421 doubles; 376 HR; 1330 RBI.
Ted 'Simba' Simmons: .285; 2456 games; 8680 AB; 1074 R; 2472 hits; 483 doubles; 248 HR; 1389 RBI.
Simmons has the best batting average of the four, as well as the most hits. Actually, he has more hits than any other catcher in the Hall; Simmons also has more doubles than all the backstops in Cooperstown. He is second to only Yogi Berra in the RBI department too.
When will Simba get that famous call? And what is keeping him out?
Sure, he isn't the most-powerful hitting catcher, but his numbers don't lie. And in baseball, it's all about the numbers; Simmons' are plenty worthy.
Yes, he has only played in the post-season twice; with the Brewers both times, and doesn't have a ring. But how many other players are in Cooperstown without their share of hardware?
Simmons is now the bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, and is probably one of the most knowledgeable in the game.
He most likely will represent the Cardinals whenever he gets in, but Brewers fans will be just as proud to have him in Cooperstown.
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