A little behind in noting this Yadi accomplishment and I would be remiss not to write a piece on Yadi becoming the all-time Cardinal’s game caught catcher surpassing Ted Simmons on April 7th. Yadi has now caught over 1,440 games for the red birds. Ted Simmons AKA Simba was THE catcher for the Redbirds from 1968-1980 or for the first 12 of 13 years of my Cardinal’s Nation’s existence. But I would be lying if I would say I remember too much about that and the 1982 World Series against the Brewers is the most vivid memory I have of Simmons.
Simmons was the Redbird’s first round pick in the 1967 MLB Draft. After converting Joe Torre from catcher to third baseman Ted became the full-time Card’s catcher. How good was Ted? Well for his 1972 All-Star year he had a .303 batting average, 16 home runs, and 96 runs batted in. Regarding his defense he had a .991 fielding % and led NL catchers in assists and putouts. This wasn’t a fluke because in 1973 he had a .310 batting average, 13 home runs, and 91 runs batted in. Again he led the league in assists but was second in putouts all of which netted him his second consecutive All-Star nod.
After a down year in 1974, or down by his standards Simmons hit 18 home runs, had 100 runs batted and a career-high .332 batting average. He finished second behind the “Bulldog” Bill Madlock for the NL batting championship and he set the NL record for hits by a catcher for a single season at 188.
Johnny Bench ruled the starter’s roost for the All-Star game (9 straight years) until Simmons was given the honor of starting the 1978 mid-Season Classic. What is amazing is that he led the Redbirds in RBIs every year from 1972 until 1978! In 1980, his last with the Birds he hit .303, had 21 home runs, and 98 runs batted in and won the inaugural Silver Slugger Award.
As the result of a feud with Whitey Herzog he was traded to the Brewers December 1980. For his career Ted Simmons played in 2,456 games, had 2,472 hits, 8,680 at bats, a .285 career batting average, 248 home runs, 1,389 runs batted in and a .348 on-base percentage. Defensively he had a .986 career fielding percentage. NOTE: all the above is modified from Wiki.
Yet after all of this he isn’t in the Hall of Fame-