The St. Louis Cardinals paid tribute to National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Ted Simmons on Saturday, July 31, before the team’s 6:15 PM game versus the Minnesota Twins. The tribute was highlighted by the unveiling and dedication of a Ted Simmons statue outside of Busch Stadium and the retirement of “Simba’s” uniform number 23.
Simmons wife Maryanne Ellison Simmons and other members of his family, along with fans were in attendance.
“Ted Simmons is one of the finest players to have worn the Birds on the Bat and will forever be a part of Cardinals history,” said Cardinals’ Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. “We are proud to honor Ted before his Hall of Fame induction… and add him to the exclusive group of ten individuals who have both a statue outside of Busch Stadium and their uniform number retired. ”
The tribute was Saturday afternoon with the unveiling and dedication of a bronze statue of Ted Simmons outside Busch Stadium at the intersection of 8th Street and Clark Avenue joined the existing 11 statues outside Busch Stadium and will be the first addition to the group since Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith’s statue was unveiled and dedicated in August 2002.
Other statues include Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, George Sisler (St. Louis Browns), James “Cool Papa” Bell (St. Louis Stars), Dizzy Dean, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and broadcaster Jack Buck.
The tribute continued with a pregame ceremony in which the organization officially retired Simmons’ number 23. Simmons becomes the 15th individual associated with the organization to have his number retired and first since Hall of Fame Manager Tony La Russa’s number 10 was retired in May 2012. The ceremony opened with Ted riding around the warning track in a Ford Mustang and concluded with Simmons throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.
Simmons will be officially inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. on Wednesday, September 8 with fellow Class of 2020 inductees Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and Marvin Miller. The Induction Ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 PM ET and will be broadcast live exclusively on MLB Network. Simmons and Walker will be the 50th and 51st individuals with ties to the St. Louis Cardinals organization to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Simmons, 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-hitter batted a career .285 with 248 home runs and 1,389 RBI in 2,456 games played.
The eight-time All-Star (six selections with St. Louis) and Silver Slugger award winner ranks among the franchise’s top-10 in career home runs (172), RBI (929), and total bases (2,626), and is still the Cardinals all-time single-season leader in home runs (26 in 1979) and RBI (96 in 1972) among catchers. 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.
The Ted Simmons statue was designed and completed by St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame sculptor Harry Weber. The plaque describes the statue as: Ted Simmons (A.K.A. “Simba”) belting an extra-base hit into the gap at Busch Stadium II.
To hear the Ceremony for Ted Simmons Statue:
Interview with Ted Simmons after statue dedication:
Original Article about Simmons going into the Hall of Fame, CLICK HERE.