St. Louis Cardinals

Committee that includes Brett and Carew will reconsider Ted Simmons’ Hall of Fame credentials

Former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons delivers his remarks during St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at Ballpark Village in St. Louis on August 15, 2015.
Former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons delivers his remarks during St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at Ballpark Village in St. Louis on August 15, 2015. UPI

Hall of Fame players George Brett, Rod Carew, Dennis Eckersley, Don Sutton, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount will be on the 16-man committee that decides Sunday if anyone formerly passed over for Cooperstown will now get elected.

Former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons is among the 10 candidates being considered for enshrinement.

Seventy-five percent – 12 votes – are needed for election. Results will be announced at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Florida next week.

Simmons arrives on the ballot as a perfect case study for the newly-formed committee. The switch-hitting catcher got just 17 votes from the nation’s sports writers on his first year of eligibility in 1994. With less than 5 percent of the total vote, he fell off the ballot.

But some sports columnists have made the case for Simmons in recent years, arguing that he was overshadowed by contemporaries such as Johnny Bench and that his defensive skills were undervalued.

Simmons batted .285 over his 21-year career with 1,389 RBIs and 2,472 hits. All of those figures are higher than any catcher of his era including current Hall of Famers Bench, Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk.

Simmons spent his 13 best seasons in St. Louis. He hit .298 as a member of the Cardinals, topping the .300 mark six times. He also hit 20 home runs in five season, had 100 or more RBIs twice, and was elected to six of his eight All Star Games.

He’s already a member of the Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers halls of fame.

Other notable players being considered by the committee are Steve Garvey, Jack Morris and Tommy John, along with longtime players’ union head Marvin Miller. Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Luis Tiant and Alan Trammell also are on the Modern Baseball Era ballot, which recognizes those whose biggest contributions came from 1970-87.

The Hall said Monday that two other Hall of Famers, former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox and current Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz, also are on the committee.

The panel also includes New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston and three current team controlling owners: Cincinnati CEO Bob Castellini, St. Louis CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. and Kansas City chairman David Glass.

There are two media members: Bob Elliott, formerly of the Toronto Sun; and Jayson Stark, formerly of The Philadelphia Inquirer and ESPN. Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official statistician, also is on the panel.

Garvey was a 10-time All-Star first baseman and Morris won 254 times, plus pitched a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series for Minnesota. John won 288 games over 26 seasons, a career extended by the pioneering elbow surgery that bears his name.

Miller headed the players’ union from 1966-82 and will be on the ballot for the seventh time. He received 44 percent in 2003 and 63 percent in 2007 when all Hall of Famers could vote on the veterans panel. After the Hall downsized the committee, he got 3 of 12 votes in 2007, 7 of 12 in 2009 and 11 of 16 in 2010 – one fewer than the necessary 75 percent. Four years ago, he was at least six votes shy.

In 2008, four years before he died, Miller sent a letter to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America saying he didn’t want to be considered anymore.

The BBWAA annual vote on players will be announced Jan. 24. That 33-man ballot includes Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel among 19 first-time candidates and Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Edgar Martinez, Roger Clemens are Barry Bonds among holdovers. Inductions are scheduled for July 29.

BND Sports Editor Todd Eschman contributed to this story: 618-239-2540, @tceschman