Former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons is among nine former major-league players who are to be considered Sunday for inclusion in the Hall of Fame by its 16-man modern era committee when it meets in San Diego in conjunction with this week’s winter meetings.
Simmons fell one vote short of being elected two years ago after largely being passed over in previous elections. He had 2,472 hits in his 21-season career, averaging .285 with 1,389 runs batted in. Simmons, a member of the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame, played for the Redbirds from 1968-80 then finished with Milwaukee and Atlanta. He made eight All-Star teams.
Also on this year’s ballot are Dwight Evans, Thurman Munson, Lou Whitaker, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and Dave Parker. Former union head Marvin Miller also is up for election.
Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast will earn election to the Hall of Fame and will be inducted in Cooperstown next July. The group will consider candidates from 1970-87.
The committee includes former Cardinals, Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and pitcher Dennis Eckersley, as well as ex-general manager Walt Jocketty.
The Hall of Fame has four committees. The golden days (1950-69) and early baseball (before 1950) committees meet in December 2020 and the today’s game (1988 to present) committee meets in December 2021.
Royals add Rosenthal
The Kansas City Royals signed former Cardinals All-Star reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a $2 million minor-league contract that includes an invitation to big-league spring training and up to $2.25 million in bonuses if he makes the major-league roster.
Rosenthal, 29, was dismal with the Detroit Tigers and Washington Nationals last season, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in 22 appearances. The came after Rosenthal had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and missed the entire 2018 season. His performance this year was a far cry from his 2015 form, when Rosenthal had a 2.10 ERA while making 48 saves and helping the Cardinals to a 100-win season and the NL Central title.
Rosenthal will be reunited in Kansas City with new Royals manager Mike Matheny, who was the manager with the Cards during his best seasons.
Feds investigate Cubs
Federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into whether the Chicago Cubs’ $1 billion, five-year renovation of Wrigley Field meets accessibility requirements for disabled spectators,the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Cubs filed notice of the review Thursday in Chicago federal court, where the team is defending itself against a lawsuit brought by a wheelchair-bound fan who alleges that seating in the ballpark is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and is in fact worse than before the renovation.
The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois initiated an ADA compliance review to ensure Wrigley Field is “readily accessible” to those with disabilities, the filing said.
“The Cubs are completing a five-year renovation of Wrigley Field which we believe has significantly increased the accessibility of the ballpark,” an attorney representing the Cubs said in a letter to the judge overseeing the case. The letter said compliance with the ADA “is of critical importance to the Cubs, as is ensuring the accessibility to all fans to Wrigley Field, a historic and aging ballpark with a limited physical footprint.”
In the wake of the Justice Department review, the Cubs told the judge they are putting on hold plans to install additional accessible seating before opening day in March.
The team plans to “fully cooperate” with the review, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said in a statement.
Launched in 2014, the extensive $1 billion renovation of 105-year-old Wrigley Field is nearly complete. The project includes a bleachers expansion, outfield video boards, an expanded grandstand concourse and other amenities.
In December 2017, Chicago attorney David A. Cerda filed a lawsuit against the team on behalf of his son, David F. Cerda, a lifelong Cubs fan who uses a wheelchair because of muscular dystrophy. The lawsuit, which is ongoing, alleges the renovated Wrigley Field doesn’t have enough accessible seats, and seats that do accommodate disabled fans are not dispersed properly in the ballpark, in violation of ADA requirements.
“They went backwards,” the elder Cerda said Friday. “They made it worse.”
In 2010, the ADA implemented new technical standards requiring wheelchair seating locations that are “substantially equivalent to, or better than, the choices of seating locations and viewing angles available to other spectators.”
Before the renovation, historic Wrigley Field was exempted from certain ADA seating requirements. But the extent of the renovations, from demolition of the left and right field bleachers to the lower box seats, requires them to be compliant with the 2010 seating standards, Cerda said.
Dan Caesar • 314-340-8175
@caesardan on Twitter