The Baseball Hall of Fame announced yesterday that nine players and one executive will be on the ballot for inclusion in the Hall via their secondary entry system for players who are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA and other contributors. (This was the avenue for Bud Selig’s selection.) The “Modern Era” includes 1970-1987.
The others on the list include Players’ Union rep Marvin Miller, and ex-players Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Luis Tiant, and Alan Trammell.
Despite credentials that would place him squarely in the middle range of Hall of Fame catchers, Simmons received only 3.7% of the votes in his 1994 appearance (he retired after the 1988 campaign) and fell off of the ballot. Simmons’ career stats closely resemble Ivan Rodriquez, and Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk are also close comps.
Simmons played for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1981 through 1985 after spending his first thirteen campaigns with the St. Louis Cardinals. He appeared in 137 games for the Brewers’ 1982 AL champs and 153 games the following season. He drove in a career high 108 runs in 1983 for the Crew.
In all, Simmons played for 21 seasons with an overall OPS of .785. The switch hitter had 483 career doubles and 248 career homers. The only catcher in the Hall with more doubles or hits (Simmons had 2,472) is Ivan Rodriguez. He was an eight time All Star and won one Silver Slugger.
His top WAR seasons were 1973 and 1978, with 5.5. He totaled 4.0 in his ‘83 season with Milwaukee, and posted 50.1 WAR for his career.
Dave Parker also has a Brewer connection, playing his age 39 season in 1990 with Milwaukee. Parker played in 157 games for Milwaukee, with 21 homers and 92 RBI. Parker retired after the 1991 season.
Any of these players would make a worthy addition to the Hall of Fame, and Simmons has as good a claim as any and better than some. I would personally like to see Marvin Miller included. His influence heading up the Players’ Union in a time of great change in owner/player dynamics is extremely important to baseball history.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference