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Friday, March 27, 2020

Ted Simmons and the Bizarre Brawl

One of the benefits of working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the opportunity to meet newly elected Hall of Famers during their wintertime orientation visits to Cooperstown. Earlier this month, staff members had their chance to talk to Ted Simmons, who finally earned election to the Hall through the Era Committee that met and voted in December.

As a fan of Simmons, I was glad to see him earn his place in Cooperstown. I especially wanted to meet him and was not disappointed. It would be hard to meet a former player more gracious, more outgoing, and more appreciative than Simmons, who spent several minutes with almost every staff member during a meet-and-greet in the Hall’s Learning Center.

As cordial as Simmons was during his orientation visit to central New York, it’s easy to forget just how competitive he was as a player. He was a hard-nosed, rough-and-tumble catcher who played the game all-out, drawing the respect of his teammates at stops in St. Louis, Milwaukee and Atlanta during a career that touched three decades. Like many of the great catchers of teh 1970s and ‘80s, Simmons showed remarkable toughness; over a 10-year span, he averaged 135 games behind the plate, often playing with aches and pains while still maintaining a standard of hitting that belied the wear and tear of the position.

Simmons was a fiery player, too, one who could become angered in the pursuit of winning. In the latter stages of 1974, Simmons became a prime participant in one of the strangest brawls I’ve ever seen in watching the game over the past 50 years. It was not your typical baseball fight given the strange way it began, with two members of the Chicago Cubs stepping into the batter’s box at the same time.

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:15 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: brawl, cooperstown, history, ted simmons

 

 

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