(Updated Aug. 27, 2015)
An indicator of how special a hitter Ted Simmons was is the number of four-hit games he had for the Cardinals.
Simmons achieved four hits in a game 19 times as a Cardinal.
Yadier Molina has 17 four-hit games as a Cardinal.
Since 1900, Simmons and Molina have the most four-hit games as catchers among Cardinals, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Simmons had more four-hit games (six) against the Cubs than any other opponent. (For his entire big-league career, Simmons hit .334, 230-for-688, against the Cubs.)
Here is a look at Simmons’ five most notable four-hit games as a Cardinal:
_ Cardinals 11, Pirates 0, Aug. 14, 1971, at Pittsburgh: In a previous blog item, I called this Simmons’ greatest game as a Cardinal. Simmons caught Bob Gibson’s only career no-hitter and went 4-for-6 with a RBI and two runs scored from the No. 5 spot in the batting order. It was Simmons’ first four-hit game in the big leagues.
Simmons is the only Cardinals catcher to achieve four hits in a game in which he caught a no-hitter.
Simmons’ four hits came against three pitchers: a RBI-single off Bob Johnson in the first, a fifth-inning double off Bob Moose, and singles in the sixth and eighth innings off Bob Veale. Boxscore
In the book “The Ted Simmons Story” (1977, Putnam), Simmons says of the no-hit game by Gibson, “I’d never seen anything like it. I guess it will always remain my biggest thrill in baseball.”
_ Cardinals 2, Cubs 1, Sept. 30, 1972, at Chicago: In an admirable display of durability and productivity, Simmons was 4-for-7, scored the winning run, caught all 16 innings, made 15 putouts and committed no errors in a game that took 4:49 to complete.
In the 16th, Simmons led off with a double against Tom Phoebus. With out one, second baseman Ted Sizemore drove in Simmons with a single to left, breaking the 1-1 tie. Boxscore
_ Cardinals 8, Reds 0, June 13, 1973, at Cincinnati: Simmons came stunningly close to catching another no-hitter while collecting four hits.
Rick Wise held the Reds hitless until second baseman Joe Morgan singled to center with one out in the ninth. Wise settled for a one-hitter and the win.
Morgan singled sharply on a 2-and-1 belt-high fastball. Simmons had called for a curve.
“You have to go with your pitcher _ he’s the man who’s going for the no-hitter,” Simmons said to The Sporting News. “He wanted to challenge them with his best pitch. I thought when Pete Rose (first batter in the ninth) flied out, the no-hitter was in the bag. Rick had pinpoint control. He was painting the outside corners on both right- and left-handed batters.”
Simmons was 4-for-5, including a two-run single off Jack Billingham in the Cardinals’ seven-run third inning. Boxscore
_ Cardinals 8, Braves 7, May 4, 1976, at Atlanta: Simmons was 4-for-5 with three RBI, including the game-winning hit.
With the score 7-7 in the 12th, Simmons hit a one-out double to the right-center field gap off Adrian Devine, scoring Bake McBride from first. Boxscore
It was Simmons’ second four-hit game in four days. As the starting left fielder, he had four hits on May 1 against the Dodgers.
_ Cardinals 8, Braves 5, June 9, 1980, at Atlanta: Simmons played an integral role in assuring Whitey Herzog’s first game as St. Louis manager was a success. Simmons was 4-for-4 and scored three runs.
In the 10th, with the score tied 5-5 and Larry Bradford pitching, first baseman Keith Hernandez walked and Simmons followed with a single to center. Bradford was replaced by Gene Garber, who yielded a three-run home run to the first batter he faced, outfielder George Hendrick. Boxscore
Previously: The story of how Ted Simmons became a Cardinal