By Howard Balzer
To say the least, it was a long time coming.
But the wait finally ended Sunday in San Diego when the Modern Baseball Era Committee elected former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Simmons’ final season was 1988 and he will turn 71 two weeks after the enshrinement ceremony next summer. On the committee were former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith and former general manager Walt Jocketty.
A switch-hitting catcher, Simmons played 21 seasons in the majors, including 13 with the Cardinals, five with Milwaukee and three with Atlanta. Simmons needed 12 votes from the 16-person committee and garnered 13. Former head of the Major League Baseball Players Association Marvin Miller was also elected, getting 12 of the 16 votes.
Others on the ballot included Dwight Evans (8 votes), Dave Parker (7), and Steve Garvey and Lou Whitaker (6). Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Thurmon Munson and Dale Murphy received three or fewer votes.
Simmons had fallen short in three previous veterans’ elections and missed by one vote two years ago.
Said Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. in a statement, “On behalf of the entire St. Louis Cardinals organization, I would like to congratulate Ted on this well-deserved honor and his selection among the greats to have ever played the game. Since being drafted by the Cardinals as a teenager, Ted Simmons has remained an active contributor to Major League Baseball at many levels both on, and off the field.”
Simmons was elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015 and will be the 50th person associated with the Cardinals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.