Friday, April 18, 2014

Cardinals Hall of Fame Vote

In case you've missed it, in connection with the opening of the Cardinals' Ballpark Village, the team is letting fans vote on the two former Cardinals that they would like inducted into the Cardinals' Hall of Fame.  You can vote over at the Cards website (link) and select two players from the following list:

  1. Jim Edmonds
  2. Bob Forsch
  3. Keith Hernandez
  4. Willie McGee
  5. Mark McGwire
  6. Matt Morris
  7. Ted Simmons
  8. Joe Torre
The United Cardinals Bloggers are all making our selections for the Cardinals Hall of Fame as part of our April project.  Here are the two players I am voting for and why:

Ted Simmons

One of the best hitting catchers of his time, Simmons is often overlooked as he played during the same era as Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk. 

In a 2013 version of the 50 Best Baseball Players not in the Hall of Fame, former senior research associate for the Hall of Fame, Bill Deane, wrote this about Simmons:

As a teenager in the mid-1970s, I’d hear people debating about who was the best catcher in baseball: Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, or Thurman Munson? I’d say, “What about Ted Simmons? The guy hit .332 with 100 RBI!” I’d get only puzzled looks from people who were barely aware that St. Louis had a team.

That exemplified Simmons’s problems in getting attention throughout his career: He played in media-Siberias and was overshadowed by two contemporary HOF catchers. But consider their average HR-RBI-AVG stats from 1971-80: Bench (27-93-.263), Fisk (16-57-.285), Simmons (17-90-.301).
Ted Simmons retired as the all-time leader in hits and doubles among catchers, and ranked second in RBI behind only Yogi Berra. Only Ivan Rodriguez has surpassed him in those categories since.
Simmons was one of the ten best all-around catchers in baseball history. He deserves serious consideration for Cooperstown.
 If the Baseball Hall of Fame won't honor Simmons, then I would make him the first Cardinals player voted into their Hall of Fame. 

Bob Forsch

I'll admit to a bit of personal bias here, as Forsch was one of my personal favorites growing up, but there is no question that Forsch had an outstanding career as a Cardinal.

His name litters the Cardinals record book:
  • 3rd in career wins (163), behind Bob Gibson and Jesse Haines
  • 5th in career strikeouts (1,079)
  • 3rd in career innings (2,658.2)
  • 2nd in games started (401)
  • 4th in total games (455)
  • 9th in career shutouts (19)
  • The only pitcher in Cardinals history with two no-hitters
He was pretty good with the bat too, hitting .213 for his career with 12 homers.

Sure, he wasn't as dominant as Gibson, but he had a career 3.67 ERA with the Cards and a .562 winning percentage.  He helped set the tone for the Cardinals victory over the Atlanta Braves in the 1982 playoffs, shutting out the Braves in the first game and was part of the Cards 3 World Series teams during that decade.

So, for those reason, and because I had a serious man-crush on him back in the day, he's my second choice for the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

What's yours?

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