Modern Baseball Committee (1970 – 1987): The 2018 Election

Modern Baseball Committee (1970 – 1987): The 2018 Election
07 Dec
2017
Not in Hall of Fame

Index



Shortstop: Alan Trammell

Fresh from his 15-year sojourn on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, Alan Trammell had a one-year respite before he landed on the Modern Baseball ballot. And while a brief transitional period from one evaluation to another might not have worked for Mark McGwire when he appeared on the Today's Game ballot last year, it might work for Trammell, who had been building support on the BBWAA ballot despite the mid-decade logjam before his time ran out.

Because Trammell's career has been fresh in the memory over the last few years, and because I have written about Trammell's case for this site a number of times, most recently in relation to Omar Vizquel's Hall of Fame chances as Vizquel debuts on the BBWAA ballot for 2018, I won't go into depth regarding his 20-year career, all of it with the Detroit Tigers, most of it as a shortstop with a handful of appearances at third base, and much of it spent working in tandem with second baseman Lou Whitaker as one of the longest-serving—and finest—keystone combinations in MLB history. (And Whitaker's Hall of Fame one-and-done injustice merits separate discussion.)

Alan Trammell Modern Baseball 02
Out of the frying pan--into the fire? Alan Trammell faces his first veterans committee evaluation soon after his stint with the writers.

The table below details the Hall of Fame statistics for Alan Trammell and his shortstop contemporaries, defined as those who played a significant amount of their careers between 1977 and 1996, the span of Trammell's career. Aggregate JAWS statistics are marked in bold; Trammell's statistics are marked in bold italic.

Hall of Fame Statistics for Alan Trammell and His Shortstop Contemporaries, Ranked by JAWS

Player

fWAR

bWAR

WAR7

JAWS

JAWS Rank

HoF Mon.

(≈100)

HoF Std.

(≈50)

OPS+

wRC+

+ Yount, Robin

66.5

77.0

47.2

62.1

5

132

52

115

113

+ Smith, Ozzie

67.6

76.5

42.3

59.4

8

142

35

87

90

Trammell, Alan

63.7

70.4

44.6

57.5

11

118

40

110

111

+ Larkin, Barry

67.0

70.2

43.1

56.7

13

120

47

116

118

All HoF SS (21)

NA

66.7

42.8

54.8

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Fernandez, Tony

43.5

45.1

30.3

37.7

34

75

32

101

102

Concepcion, Dave

39.7

39.8

29.7

34.8

45

106

29

88

88

+ Indicates a Hall of Famer.

Purely by bWAR and JAWS ratings, Trammell is above the line for the JAWS averages for all shortstops in the Hall of Fame, nudging ahead of Barry Larkin, who weathered three tries on the BBWAA ballot before gaining entrance to Cooperstown in 2012, just ahead of both the full-blown logjam and the full-blown PED backlash. (Please note that Barry Larkin has never been associated with PED.) At number 12 (and not shown above) is Derek Jeter, not only certain to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2020, but also an odds-on favorite to become the first unanimously-elected candidate in Hall of Fame history.

The two below-the-line contemporaries, Tony Fernandez and Dave Concepcion, are truly on a lower tier from the other four, three of whom are in the Hall, with Robin Yount, who did split his career between shortstop and center field although the majority of his games were at short, and Ozzie Smith (who never played anywhere except at short) elected in their first year of eligibility.

Why is Alan Trammell the anomaly, then?

The table below details selected hitting statistics, both qualitative and quantitative, for Alan Trammell and his contemporaries, ranked by adjusted weighted runs created.

Selected Hitting Statistics for Alan Trammell and His Shortstop Contemporaries, Ranked by Adjusted Weighted Runs Created

 

Slash Line

wRC+

PA

R

H

2B

SB

+ Larkin, Barry

.295/.371/.444

118

9057

1329

2340

441

379

+ Yount, Robin

.285/.342/.430

113

11,008

1632

3142

583

271

Trammell, Alan

.285/.352/.415

111

9376

1231

2365

412

236

Fernandez, Tony

.288/.347/.399

102

8793

1057

2276

414

246

+ Smith, Ozzie

.262/.337/.328

90

10,778

1257

2460

402

580

Concepcion, Dave

.267/.322/.357

88

9641

993

2326

389

321

+ Indicates a Hall of Famer.

Quantitatively, Yount is the outlier in the table above as he collected more than 3100 hits and nearly 600 doubles while all the other contemporaries compiled similar numbers, though Smith stole about twice as many bases as most of the others. Trammell is squarely within the norm for his contemporaries, neither auspicious nor deficient.

Qualitatively, Trammell is a match with Yount as both hit for the same average, and if Yount slugged a bit better than Trammell, then the latter got on base at a bit better clip than the former while Trammell is just below Yount in terms of adjusted weighted runs created; both offer more in that department than Fernandez, who is about league-average there despite a similar slash line.

Why is Alan Trammell the anomaly, then?

Defensive prowess at shortstop does factor into Hall of Fame consideration, more so than for other positions besides catcher, as flashy offensive statistics are usually the prime criteria examined. The table below details quantitative and qualitative defensive statistics for Alan Trammell and his contemporaries, ranked by defensive wins above replacement (dWAR), and including Total Zone total fielding runs above average, fielding percentage, range factor per nine innings (RF/9: 9 x [putouts + assists]/innings played), and aggregate league RF/9.

Fielding Statistics for Alan Trammell and His Shortstop Contemporaries, Ranked by dWAR

Player

Games

Putouts

Assists

Double Plays Turned

Total Zone

dWAR

Fld. Pct.

RF/9

League RF/9

+ Smith, Ozzie

2511

4249

8375

1590

239

43.4

.978

5.22

4.78

Trammell, Alan

2139

3391

6172

1307

81

22.0

.977

4.71

4.77

Concepcion, Dave

2178

3670

6594

1290

48

20.9

.964

5.03

4.97

Fernandez, Tony

1573

2708

4511

943

42

14.2

.980

4.83

4.66

+ Larkin, Barry

2085

3150

5858

1092

28

13.8

.975

4.62

4.57

+ Yount, Robin

1479

2588

4794

941

25

5.8

.964

4.99

4.90

+ Indicates a Hall of Fame member.

Among his contemporaries, Trammell ranks behind only Smith in dWAR, who is the all-time leader in that category among all position players; Trammell ranks 34th. Not surprisingly, Smith is also tops in Total Zone fielding runs above average (for shortstops since 1953); Trammell ranks 13th. Additionally, Trammell ranks 7th in double plays turned, 17th in assists, and 28th in putouts. And if Trammell is below the league average for range factor per nine innings, he is just a tick below Smith in fielding percentage.

Alan Trammell was one of the great two-way shortstops of his era, able to get it done both in the field and at the plate; moreover, he was one of the great two-way shortstops of any era, as were his contemporaries Barry Larkin, Robin Yount, and even Ozzie Smith, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

Why is Alan Trammell the anomaly, then?

That answer may lie in the "fame" portion of the Hall of Fame. The table below outlines seasonal awards and leaders statistics for Trammell and his contemporaries, ranked by the "black-ink test," or the weighted score of the number of times a player led his league in significant hitting statistics such as the "Triple Crown stats" (batting average, home runs, runs batted in) and others.

Awards and Leaders Statistics for Alan Trammell and His Shortstop Contemporaries, Ranked by Black-Ink Test

Player

MVP

MVP Top 10

All-Star

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

RoY

Black Ink

Gray Ink

+ Yount, Robin

2

2

3

3

1

0

14

120

Fernandez, Tony

0

1

5

0

4

0

3

51

+ Smith, Ozzie

0

1

15

1

13

0

2

51

+ Larkin, Barry

1

2

12

9

3

0

0

66

Trammell, Alan

0

3

6

3

4

0

0

48

Concepcion, Dave

0

2

9

2

5

0

0

25

+ Indicates a Hall of Famer.

Here is the Achilles heel in the Trammell case: Getting recognition and making an impression on the leaderboards. Simply put, Trammell lacks the Gaudy Stat or the Standout Season that would impress the traditionalists and their "eye test" of recognizing a Hall of Fame player.

Trammell's is a similar situation to a pair of recent Hall of Fame inductees, Bert Blyleven, elected in 2011, and Tim Raines, elected in 2017. Blyleven, who may lay claim to being the first "SABR darling" (Society for American Baseball Research), spent 14 years on a BBWAA ballot, not even cracking the 40-percent mark until his eighth year in 2005. He seemed destined to linger in the ballot hinterlands until his time ran out before researchers began to make the statistical case for a pitcher who may have pitched for two World Series-winning teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 and the Minnesota Twins in 1987, but who also toiled in obscurity for much of his career and won just 37 more games than he lost as he fell 13 wins shy of the vaunted 300-win plateau, a guarantee for the Hall of Fame unless your name is Roger Clemens and you are a poster child for performance-enhancing drugs.

Similarly, Tim Raines toiled in the obscure far reaches of Montreal as an Expo for the first 13 years of his career, the poor man's Rickey Henderson who won a batting title in 1986 and led the National League in stolen bases, including a career-high 90 bags in 1983, in four consecutive seasons. Like Blyleven, Raines seemed stuck in the middle rungs of the BBWAA ballot for his first five years, not broaching 50 percent until 2013, his sixth year, and perhaps as a result of Blyleven's 2011 election. However, Raines was affected by the 2014 decision by the Hall of Fame to reduce the amount of time a candidate may remain on the BBWAA ballot, from 15 years to 10 years; Raines, whose 69.5 percent showing in 2016, his penultimate year of eligibility, could not be guaranteed election on a still-overstuffed ballot the following year. However, Raines did slide head-first into the Hall with 86 percent of the vote in 2017.

But both Blyleven and Raines, while not flashing obvious Standout Seasons at any time during their careers—Blyleven never won a Cy Young Award and Raines was never a Most Valuable Player—each owns at least one Gaudy Stat. In fact, Blyleven owns two: He is fifth lifetime in strikeouts with 3701 and ninth lifetime in shutouts with 60. Given the current employment of starting pitching and barring any changes in scoring rules, it is highly unlikely that any pitcher is going to reach either of those marks in the foreseeable future. Raines also owns a Gaudy Stat: He is fifth lifetime in stolen bases with 808, one of only five players with 800 or more steals in Major League history, and that includes base-stealers from the 19th century, when the game and the quality of play was markedly different from the modern game established circa 1901.

Alan Trammell has neither a Gaudy Stat nor a Standout Season in his Hall of Fame arsenal. This is not to say that he did not have any outstanding seasons, as he did finish in the top ten for American League MVP voting three times. Moreover, he was the runner-up to the Toronto Blue Jays' George Bell in 1987, when Bell hit 47 home runs and drove in 134, leading the AL in that category while falling just two home runs behind the Oakland Athletics' Mark McGwire and his league-leading 49 big flies. (McGwire's 49 homers also established the single-season record for rookies until Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees passed McGwire with 52 home runs in 2017.)

Yet Trammell, whose .343 batting average was third in the AL behind Wade Boggs and Paul Molitor, did have a standout season in 1987 as he laid out a slash line of .343/.402/.551/.953, generating an OPS+ of 155, fifth-best in the league among all those big boppers, while smacking 34 doubles and 28 home runs, scoring 109 runs, sixth-best in the AL and only five runs fewer than league-leader Molitor, and driving in 105 runs, tenth-best in the league. Trammell's bWAR of 8.2 easily bested Bell's 5.0 (again, a retrospective assessment), and only Boggs's 8.3 bWAR was comparable to Trammell's among position players.

Furthermore, Trammell had a standout postseason in 1984 as the Tigers won their fourth World Series, their first in 16 years, and their last despite appearances in 2006 and 2012. Having lashed out four hits, including a triple and a home run, in 11 at-bats during the Tigers' three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series, scoring two runs and driving in three, Trammell upped the wattage in the World Series against the San Diego Padres. He hit safely in the first four games, with a double and a pair of home runs, as he scored five runs, knocked in six more, and produced a scorching .450/.500/.800/1.300 slash line to earn Most Valuable Player honors for the Series. (And as we will see below, starting pitcher Jack Morris had a pretty fair World Series outing too.)

Still, the lack of a Gaudy Stat or Standout Season in terms of traditional evaluation will hurt Alan Trammell as the Modern Baseball Committee ponders his legacy. Veterans committees have typically been behind the curve with respect to evaluation, in part because recent committee compositions have included former players elected to the Hall of Fame who naturally see the playing field from when they last stood upon it.

Alan Trammell Modern Baseball 01
Does Trammell have enough fame for the Hall of Fame?

Already this year we have seen Joe Morgan imploring BBWAA voters not to vote for players who used performance-enhancing drugs, this in the wake of recent BBWAA elections of Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, and Ivan Rodriguez, all three of whom have had at least suspicions cast upon them, and the uptick in support for PED-identified candidates including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

And although Trammell's career was over by the time PED usage was even being suspected (Trammell last qualified for a batting title in 1990; he retired following the 1996 season, having been a part-time player in his last three seasons), Morgan's old-line attitude is indicative of the committees' traditionalist thinking—and Morgan, who has been active in the Hall since his own first-ballot election in 1990, no doubt helped by his back-to-back MVPs in 1975 and 1976, projects a large influence on his fellow members.

All of which will continue to make Alan Trammell an anomaly, one of the best shortstops not only of his own era but in all of baseball history, an excellent hitter and a top-tier defender at one of the most challenging positions on the diamond who deserves to sit with Joe Morgan and other Hall of Fame players in future years as they decide the legacy of their fellow players whom the writers did not elect during their first shot at the Hall.

Alan Trammell should not be an anomaly. He is a Hall of Famer. The Modern Baseball Committee needs to heed its name and recognize Trammell as an exemplar of modern baseball.

Catcher: Ted Simmons

Alone among the nine players on the Modern Baseball ballot, Ted Simmons did not experience a lengthy stay on the BBWAA ballot—indeed, Simmons did not even survive his first appearance on the ballot in 1994, collecting just 3.7 percent of the vote to fade into obscurity. Neither did Simmons attract much attention after his whirlwind encounter with the BBWAA as he got a substantive look from a veterans committee only in 2014.

First reaching the Majors in 1968 with the St. Louis Cardinals for barely a sip from that cliché cup of coffee—four plate appearances in two games, albeit with a single and a walk—Simmons became the Cardinals' starting catcher by 1971, and although he was never considered primarily a power hitter as many catchers typically are, he was consistently a high-average hitter, batting .300 or better seven times in seasons in which he was qualified for a batting title. This included 1971 as he rattled off a .304/.347/.424/.771 slash line with 32 doubles, the first of nine years in which he hit 30 or more two-baggers including six consecutively starting in 1971.

And although he toiled under the shadow of the Cincinnati Reds' Johnny Bench, Simmons was a hitting star for the Cardinals throughout the 1970s as for a ten-year stretch, from 1971 to 1980, he posted a .301/.367/.466/.834 slash line, generating a 4.5 bWAR and a 131 OPS+, with seasonal averages of 163 hits, 32 doubles, 17 home runs, 71 runs scored, 90 runs batted in, and 58 walks against only 41 strikeouts; in fact, Simmons over his career walked 855 times while striking out just 694 times.

The table below details the Hall of Fame statistics for Ted Simmons and his catcher contemporaries, defined as those who played a significant amount of their careers between 1968 and 1988, the span of Simmons's career. Aggregate JAWS statistics are marked in bold; Simmons's statistics are marked in bold italic.

Hall of Fame Statistics for Ted Simmons and His Catcher Contemporaries, Ranked by JAWS

Player

fWAR

bWAR

WAR7

JAWS

JAWS Rank

HoF Mon.

(≈100)

HoF Std.

(≈50)

OPS+

wRC+

+ Bench, Johnny

74.8

75.0

47.1

61.0

1

214

45

126

125

+ Carter, Gary

69.4

69.9

48.3

59.1

2

135

41

115

116

+ Fisk, Carlton

68.3

68.3

37.5

52.9

4

120

49

117

117

All HoF C (15)

NA

53.4

34.4

43.9

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Simmons, Ted

54.2

50.1

34.6

42.4

10

124

44

118

116

Munson, Thurman

40.9

45.9

37.0

41.5

12

90

29

116

116

Tenace, Gene

45.0

46.8

34.9

40.9

13

7

30

136

140

+ Indicates a Hall of Famer.

Along with Hall of Famer Bench, Simmons also had to contend with Bench's Cooperstown cronies Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk among his contemporaries, with Thurman Munson, whose 1979 death in a small-plane crash ended his 11-year career during his age-32 season, likely to have compiled a serious Hall of Fame case had he lived.

Yet Simmons, whose JAWS statistics place him just under the line for the 15 catchers currently in the Hall of Fame—although his WAR7, his bWAR for his best seven seasons, nudges just above that line—is still ranked as the 10th-best catcher all-time, ahead of Hall of Famers Gabby Hartnett and Ernie Lombardi, let alone questionable veterans committee choices Rick Ferrell and Ray Schalk. And of the nine catchers ranked ahead of Simmons by JAWS, only Joe Mauer, still an active player, does not already have a plaque in Cooperstown.

Ted Simmons Modern Baseball 01
The writers dismissed Ted Simmons quickly--will the veterans committe embrace him?

The table below details selected hitting statistics, both qualitative and quantitative, for Ted Simmons and his contemporaries, ranked by adjusted weighted runs created.

Selected Hitting Statistics for Ted Simmons and His Catcher Contemporaries, Ranked by Adjusted Weighted Runs Created

 

Slash Line

wRC+

PA

H

2B

HR

RBI

Tenace, Gene

.241/.388/.429

140

5527

1060

179

201

674

+ Bench, Johnny

.267/.342/.476

125

8674

2048

381

389

1376

+ Fisk, Carlton

.269/.341/.457

117

9853

2356

421

376

1330

+ Carter, Gary

.262/.335/.439

116

9019

2092

371

324

1225

Simmons, Ted

.285/.348/.437

116

9685

2472

483

248

1389

Munson, Thurman

.292/.346/.410

116

5905

1558

229

113

701

Apart from Gene Tenace and the ubiquitous Johnny Bench who lead this sample, Simmons is comparable to his other contemporaries by adjusted weighted runs created. Simmons has the highest batting average and the second-highest on-base percentage, while quantitatively, with the second-most plate appearances, he tops the field in hits, doubles, and runs batted in.

Over his career, Simmons had nine seasons with 150 or more hits, seven of them consecutively from 1971 to 1977; nine seasons with 30 or more doubles, six of them consecutively from 1971 to 1976—and after dropping to "just" 25 doubles in 1977, he rebounded to hit 40, his career-high, the following year; six seasons with 20 or more home runs, four of them consecutively from 1977 to 1980 including a career-high 26 in 1979; and eight seasons with 90 or more runs batted in, four of them consecutively from 1972 to 1975 while he notched his career-high of 108 in 1983, his age-33 season.

In fact, Simmons had a renaissance year in 1983, now in his third season with the Milwaukee Brewers: In 153 games and 650 plate appearances, he banged out 185 hits including 39 doubles and 13 homers for a .308/.351/.448/.799 line that generated a 126 OPS+ as he scored 76 runs to go with those 108 RBI. Simmons even stole four bases in six attempts, his career-high for a notoriously slow-footed catcher who stole just 21 bases in his career while getting caught 33 times. And even though he was the Brewers' designated hitter for 66 games (Milwaukee was still in the American League in 1983), he still caught 86 games, starting 83 of those.

But along with shortstop, catcher is one position at which defensive prowess is considered seriously while evaluating a catcher for the Hall of Fame. The table below details quantitative and qualitative defensive statistics for Ted Simmons and his contemporaries, ranked by defensive wins above replacement (dWAR), and including Total Zone total fielding runs above average, fielding percentage, number of times baserunners were caught stealing, caught-stealing percentage, and the number of baserunners picked off by the catcher.

Fielding Statistics for Ted Simmons and His Catcher Contemporaries, Ranked by dWAR

Player

Games

Putouts

Assists

Total Zone

dWAR

Fld. Pct.

CS

CS Pct.

PO

+ Carter, Gary

2056

11,785

1203

106

25.5

.991

810

32%

51

+ Bench, Johnny

1742

9249

850

97

19.3

.990

469

43%

62

+ Fisk, Carlton

2226

11,369

1048

30

16.4

.988

665

34%

20

Munson, Thurman

1278

6253

742

34

11.6

.982

427

38%

39

Simmons, Ted

1771

8906

915

–8

4.7

.987

611

34%

33

Tenace, Gene

892

3945

441

–6

1.6

.986

290

36%

13

+ Indicates a Hall of Fame member.

As the old saying goes, as a defensive catcher, Ted Simmons was one hell of a hitter. His 4.7 dWAR reflects the positional adjustment of 10.0 bWAR given to catchers, and only Gene Tenace, with half as many games at catcher than Simmons, ranks lower. Nevertheless, Simmons holds his own with his contemporaries in a number of categories, even picking off 13 more runners than Carlton Fisk, who logged 455 more games behind the plate than did Simmons.

Nevertheless, great-hitting catchers with marginal defensive skills have not been excluded from the Hall of Fame, to which Ernie Lombardi and Mike Piazza can attest. But Lombardi and especially Piazza were both more auspicious in their offensive skills even though Simmons was always regarded as a great-hitting catcher.

Ted Simmons Modern Baseball 02
Delivering from both sides of the plate, Simmons is one of baseball's best-hitting catchers ever.

And strictly as a catcher, Simmons looks to be an even more impressive hitter. In 1733 games with 7279 plate appearances, he stroked 1908 hits including 364 doubles and 195 home runs for a .294/.358/.451/.809 line while scoring 851 runs and knocking in 1062 runs. His batting average on balls in play (BAbip) of .291, which can favor hitters with high strikeout totals since those strikeouts are removed from the number of total at-bats, looks even more impressive considering that Simmons struck out just 498 times in 6498 at-bats, or just once every 13.1 at-bats. And of his 666 walks, 160 of those were intentional as a catcher while his total number of 188 intentional walks ranks 20th all-time (tied with Chili Davis) as he is the only catcher within the top fifty; Mike Piazza is 53rd with 146 intentional passes.

Furthermore, Ted Simmons was also a great switch-hitting catcher, able to deliver from both sides of the plate. I had profiled Simmons previously while evaluating another switch-hitting catcher, Jorge Posada, as a borderline candidate on the 2017 BBWAA ballot. By a curious coincidence, Posada garnered just 3.8 percent of the vote and was a one-and-done just as Simmons was in 1994 with 3.7 percent of the vote. Now we have to wonder whether we will be having this conversation next year, when the Today's Game Committee might get a chance to evaluate Posada—and, if so, whether Simmons's outcome on the 2018 Modern Baseball ballot would have any effect.

The following table summarizes Ted Simmons's batting statistics as a left-handed- and right-handed batter.

Ted Simmons: Career Batting Statistics as a Left-handed Batter

Slash Line

BAbip

PA

Hits

2B

HR

BB

TB

Runs

RBI

.287/.350/.437/.787

.285

6204

1594

327

146

552

2427

722

873

Ted Simmons: Career Batting Statistics as a Right-handed Batter

Slash Line

BAbip

PA

Hits

2B

HR

BB

TB

Runs

RBI

.281/.345/.437/.782

.282

3481

878

156

102

303

1366

352

516


Simmons was a remarkably consistent hitter from either side of the plate, posting very similar slash lines as a left-handed and a right-handed hitter as the scaling of his counting numbers—he hit left-handed 64.1 percent of the time—aligns fairly closely. This made Simmons always a threat regardless who was pitching, left- or right-handed.

Jorge Posada slugged better and got on base better than did Simmons, and Posada, regarded as one of the "Core Four" of the New York Yankees' late-1990s and early 2000s dynasty along with Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, owns four World Series rings. Simmons made the postseason in only two years, 1981 and 1982, both times with the Brewers including the 1982 World Series against, ironically, his former team the Cardinals, who won the Series in seven games. Simmons hit poorly in that series and in two previous ones although he did hit two home runs against the Cardinals.

But how do Simmons's abilities, both offensively and defensively, translate into that more interpretive assessment of "fame"?

The table below outlines seasonal awards and leaders statistics for Simmons and his contemporaries, ranked by the "black-ink test," or the weighted score of the number of times a player led his league in significant hitting statistics such as the "Triple Crown stats" (batting average, home runs, runs batted in) and others.

Awards and Leaders Statistics for Ted Simmons and His Catcher Contemporaries, Ranked by Black-Ink Test

Player

MVP

MVP Top 10

All-Star

Silver Slugger

Gold Glove

RoY

Black Ink

Gray Ink

+ Bench, Johnny

2

5

14

0

10

1

20

93

+ Carter, Gary

0

4

11

5

3

0

4

75

+ Fisk, Carlton

0

4

11

3

1

1

1

54

Simmons, Ted

0

3

8

1

0

0

0

95

Munson, Thurman

1

3

7

NA

3

1

0

46

Tenace, Gene

0

0

1

0

0

0

4

38

+ Indicates a Hall of Famer.

If Simmons was not an obvious standout—understandable as he spend several seasons in Johnny Bench's shadow—neither was he unheralded, either, as he made eight All-Star appearances as well as finishing in the top ten for Most Valuable Player three times.

His highest showing was in 1975, when he finished sixth in a year that saw National League MVP winner Joe Morgan lash out a .327/.466/.508/.974 line with 27 doubles, 6 triples, and 17 home runs while scoring 107 runs, driving in 94, and stealing 67 bases (and caught only 10 times for an 87-percent success rate) while leading the Majors in walks (132) and on-base percentage (.466). Simmons was no slouch: his .332/.396/.491/.887 line generated a 142 OPS+ as he established career highs in hits (193) and batting average (.332) with 32 doubles, 18 home runs, 80 runs scored, and 100 RBI.

And if Simmons was never a league-leader in any significant statistical category, as shown by the black-ink column, he was a consistent presence in the gray-ink column for top-ten finishes as his 95 rating nudges past Bench's 93. Simmons did lead the Majors in intentional walks in back-to-back years, 1976 and 1977, although he also paced the Majors in grounding into double plays (29) in 1973, one of eight years in which he banged into 20 or more twin kills; he ranks 14th all-time in that category with 287, tied with Derek Jeter.

Alone among the nine players on the Modern Baseball ballot, Ted Simmons did not have but one chance to be evaluated by BBWAA voters, who dismissed him on his first ballot in 1994. Similarly, the Expansion Era Committee dismissed him 20 years later.

Ted Simmons does not deserve to be dismissed. Whether by counting numbers or qualitative analysis, he ranks among the best-hitting catchers in baseball history, and if he was never regarded as a good defensive catcher, neither was he an outright liability. A Most Valuable Player Award or even a World Series ring would have given him more prestige and visibility, but Ted Simmons has been overlooked for far too long. He belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Last modified on Saturday, 09 December 2017 17:15

Comments   

0 #2 Darryl Tahirali 2017-12-10 20:19
Thank you, Committee Chairman, although I had hoped that it was credible stuff I was posting so it would be convincing . . . guess we'll see how the committee voted tonight.
Quote
0 #1 Committee Chairman 2017-12-10 04:13
As always this is incredible stuff. The Committee should have your work be mandated reading!

Funny also how the longer i do this the more i have issues with Garvey and the HOF!
Quote

Add comment

Three ways to comment:

1) Login with your social account:


2) Register an account with us:

Click here!
Benefits of Registering

1) Comment on articles without restriction!  No more captchas or spam-filters!


2) Have your say!  Make your voice heard by voting in the polls.


3) Discuss in the forum.  Join the conversation, or start your own.


4) Start a social group or fan club.  Join one that already exists.  Share photos, events, updates, private messages and more with people who have similar i
nterests.


5) Customize your profile to make it your personal space on the web.

3) Or post as a guest:


Security code
Refresh