Former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons is going into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and he heads the list of honorees for the upcoming 62nd annual St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner.
The dinner will be held Jan. 19 at Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.
Simmons, who played for the Cardinals from 1968-80, will be awarded the Red Medal in honor of the late Red Schoendienst for invaluable service to baseball.
Tickets are available for the event, which also will celebrate pitcher Jack Flaherty as the St. Louis baseball man of the year. Other current Cardinals to be honored are second baseman Kolten Wong, rookie pitcher Giovanny Gallegos, rookie infielder Tommy Edman, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and manager Mike Shildt.
Tickets can be obtained through MetroTix (MetroTix.com) at 314-534-1111 They are priced at $250 and $150, with tables of 10 available at $2,500 and $1,500.
Simmons joined executive Marvin Miller and was among two individuals who received the necessary 75 percent of all ballots cast from the 10-name Modern Baseball Era vote.
“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,” said Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. in a news release. “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, who was a Cardinals first-round draft selection in 1967, played 13 of his 21 seasons with St. Louis, debuting in 1968 at the age of 19. The switch-hitting Simmons batted a career .285 with 248 home runs and 1,389 RBI in 2,456 games played. Simmons’ career RBI and hits (2,274) totals both rank 2nd all-time among catchers.
“Simba”, who was voted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015, batted .298 with 172 homers and 929 RBI in 1,564 games with the Cardinals from 1968-80 and ranks among the franchise’s top-10 in career home runs, RBI, total bases (2,626) and grand slams (7). Simmons is still the Cardinals all-time single-season leader in home runs (26 in 1979) and RBI (96 in 1972) among catchers.
An eight-time All-Star (six selections as a Cardinal), Simmons garnered MVP votes seven times, including a 6th place finish during the 1975 season. During the period of the Modern Baseball Era (1970-87), Simmons led all Major League catchers with his 2,447 hits, 477 doubles and 1,375 RBI, and ranked 2nd in runs scored (1,068) and 4th in homers (246).
Following his playing career, which included stints with Milwaukee and Atlanta, Simmons served as the Cardinals Director of Player Development from 1988-91 before taking the GM post in Pittsburgh in 1992.
Simmons will become the 50th person with ties to the St. Louis Cardinals organization to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame during its induction ceremony to be held on Sunday, July 26, 2020 in Cooperstown, NY.
The dinner will feature more than just Simmons’ achievement of reaching the Hall of Fame.
Wong will be presented his first Gold Glove, and Shildt will receive his National League manager of the year award, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Dylan Carlson, the oft-discussed outfielder who could force his way onto the regular-season roster in 2020, will be honored as the Cardinals’ minor league player of the year.
Will Clark, who closed his career with a flourish for the Cardinals in the final three months of 2000, will receive the Burnes Nostalgia Award on the 20th anniversary of his magical run. Baseball historian and sabermetrics founder Bill James will receive the Branch Rickey award for innovation in baseball.
Chairman Tom Stillman and longtime fan favorite Bob Plager, representing the Stanley Cup champion Blues, will receive the writers’ meritorious service award; and Carolyn Kindle Betz, who is part of pro sports’ first female ownership group with the new St. Louis soccer entry, also will be saluted.
Cardinals radio voice John Rooney will be the master of ceremonies for the 6:15 p.m. dinner, which is one of just two in the country staged by the baseball writers’ chapter in that town. New York is the other.