(Updated Aug. 12, 2015)
Ted Simmons was elected to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015.
He also deserves election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, though he has failed to garner enough support from the Baseball Writers Association of America and from a special Expansion Era committee.
Here are the top 10 reasons the former Cardinals catcher deserves to be elected to the national shrine:
1. Simmons ranks second all-time among players whose primary position was catcher in each of three significant hitting categories: hits (2,472), RBI (1,389) and doubles (483). He trails only Yogi Berra (1,430) in RBI. Ivan Rodriguez leads in hits (2,844) and doubles (572).
2. He was named to the all-star team eight times, six as a Cardinal.
3. Simmons had 90 or more RBI in a season eight times, six as a Cardinal.
4. A durable, tough athlete who toiled most of his summers in St. Louis’ searing heat, Simmons played in 150 or more games in seven consecutive seasons (1972-78).
5. Simmons had a slugging percentage of .500 or better three seasons in a row (1977-80). That is remarkably consistent high-level production. Neither Johnny Bench nor Yogi Berra nor Carlton Fisk, for example, achieved .500 or better slugging percentages three straight years.
6. He ranks third in career total bases (3,793) by a player whose primary position was catcher. Only Ivan Rodriguez (4,451) and Carlton Fisk (3,999) have more.
7. In 1975, Simmons established the National League single-season record for most hits by a catcher. He hit .332 that year and 188 of his 193 hits came while in the lineup as a catcher.
8. He holds most of the Cardinals career and single-season hitting records for a catcher. In a franchise rich with success (11 World Series titles) and notable catchers (Roger Bresnahan, Walker Cooper, Tim McCarver, Darrell Porter, Tony Pena and Yadier Molina), Simmons is the best hitter of the bunch.
9. While he wasn’t a great defensive catcher, he was much better than generally recognized. He twice (1972 and ’78) led NL catchers in assists, and twice (1976 and ’78) led NL catchers in number of runners caught attempting to steal.
10. In his book, “Tales from the Cardinals Dugout” (2003, Sports Publishing), pitcher Bob Forsch touts Simmons for the Hall of Fame. Forsch says Simmons hit productively even though “he didn’t get leg hits, and we had nobody in the lineup to protect him.” (Simmons twice led the NL in intentional walks). As for Simmons’ defense, Forsch wrote, “He didn’t have a strong arm, but he got rid of the ball quick … and Teddy called a good game.” Simmons caught Forsch’s 1978 no-hitter against the Phillies.