It’s official now. Ted Simmons will be wearing a Cardinals cap on his plaque when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame next July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Hall of Fame, in concert with the former Cardinals catching star, made that decision Friday and Simmons relayed that decision exclusively to the Post-Dispatch.
Simmons played 21 seasons in the major leagues but the majority of that was with the Cardinals from 1968-80. He also spent five seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he went to the World Series in 1982 and played in the postseason in 1981, and three seasons with Atlanta.
The switch-hitter who averaged .285 for his career and who had 2,472 hits and 1,389 runs batted in, becomes the first Cardinals player who played most of his career as a catcher with the club to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Simmons was selected to the 2020 class on Dec. 8 along with longtime players’ association chieftain Marvin Miller in balloting done by the Hall of Fame’s Modern Baseball Era committee.
Simmons said the Hall of Fame had a “considerable amount of weight” in the cap matter and he said, “I told them I would do whatever they expected me to do.
“Not surprisingly to anyone, it will eventually be the St. Louis signature on the cap when it occurs.
“The largest body of my work was assembled here,” Simmons said. “But I spent some very important years in Milwaukee and there were a couple of teammates who were very strong advocates on behalf of my induction and I want those people to know that I appreciate the fan base and that advocacy.”
Hall of Fame shortstop Robin Yount was a member of the 16-man Modern Baseball Era committee this year, as was former Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who once had hired Simmons as a bench coach. Yount and former Milwaukee pitcher Don Sutton, teammates of Simmons in the 1982 World Series, had been members of the 2017 committee when Simmons missed election by just one vote.
Simmons also paid tribute to the Braves' organization. “I only spent three years in Atlanta as a player but it’s where I’ve spent five years as a major league scout and employee,” he said. “They’re very close and dear to myself and my family as well.
“It’s probably a fairly obvious selection to go with the Cardinals signature on the cap but it’s very important that I say the people in Milwaukee and Atlanta mean a great deal to me. But the body of my work was essentially built as a Cardinal and it would be only appropriate that the St. Louis signature would be on the cap.”
Voting results on more current players, done by 10-year members of the Baseball Writers of America, will be announced in January, with former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter sure to be voted in, perhaps unanimously, as was Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera last year.
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