Thursday, April 1, 2021

Who The Hell is Ted Simmons?

You folks might laugh at this one - how can this guy call himself a baseball fan - but until the past year, I barely had any idea of the baseball player Ted Simmons. I'm talking the Hall of Famer Ted Simmons. A catcher who was active and playing during some of my peak years of baseball fandom when I was a kid and teenager, yet who for some reason almost completely escaped my notice while he was playing.

I was vaguely aware that there was a catcher named Ted Simmons playing around this time - or was it Ted Sizemore?!? (answer: both, though the latter was an infielder) - but when I learned recently that this particular player from the late 60s/late 80s was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and that there were several of you out there collecting his cards, I was like....who??

It's not like I wasn't watching every All-Star Game and postseason series back then. I was. I picked apart box scores; I read The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated every week - even Baseball Digest - yet Ted Simmons barely registered for me. It is difficult to keep track of 750-some-odd major leaguers each year for sure, but you think this guy would have cracked my consciousness. I wonder who I'm totally missing out on now. 

In his 21 seasons, Simmons was an All-Star 8 times. Three of those were before the age I personally turned 10, so I suppose I can be forgiven for that. I guess once 1977 came around - he hit .318 with a .408 OBP - I was most tuned to whatever the Cincinnati Reds (the Big Red Machine) and Los Angeles Dodgers (Garvey/Cey/Russell/ Lopes) were doing, to say nothing of the New York Yankees, who were the main team being talked about that year, and pretty much most years during my youth.

Ted Simmons over in St. Louis didn't register against all of that, nor afterward when he was part of that "Harvey's Wallbangers" early 80s Brewers team that stormed the playoffs.....I remember Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas...but Ted Simmons? Nah. 

Anyway, here's his 1983 All-Star card. Hell of a player, that Ted Simmons. Happy collecting.


  1. I liked Simmons, mostly because I was obsessed with Batting Average, and for a catcher, he was darned good! But yeah, he didn't get the notoriety of a lot of other 70s stars.

  2. I was definitely one of the people who said "who?" when he was elected to the HOF.

  3. Growing up, I never would have realized how great he was. He was on the tail end of his career, and the backs of his cards didn't light up with italicized stats he led in. It wasn't until much later I got to appreciate him.

  4. If you collected in '75, you'd definitely know who Simmons was. ... Also, that thing where he played for the Cardinals for so many years, then went to the Brewers and then played his old team in the World Series not even 2 years later was wild!

    1. I didn't. I turned 8 that year, and started collecting the following year....but still amazed he never registered for me.

  5. I've only learned about him in the last couple of years when he started popping up in so many blog posts.

  6. Yes I remember him. Mostly from my 1971 Topps card of his. He was one of the guys who I "super collected" back in the late 70s early 80s before it was called "Super Collecting". Well YES and NO actually those guys I probably just "Player Collected" than "Super Collected". Back them most of the Super Stars of the game I collected whether you call it SUPER Collecting or just plain Player Collecting.

  7. I'm gonna guess my first card of Simmons was the one that came in my 1981 Fleer set that my parents purchased for me. But the one that actually stands out in my memory right now is the 1983 Topps Super Veteran subset card of him. And now his 1984 Topps Glossy All-Star card that I've seen for the second time in 2 hours.

  8. Shook his hand when we had the All Star Game and he asked me for directions. He's not that big!

  9. He had the misfortune of playing in the NL at the same time that Johnny Bench was. He's a legitimate top 10 all time catcher but most of the fans didn't really look past Johnny.


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