Modern Era Committee selects Simmons, Miller for Hall of Fame

SAN DIEGO - Catcher Ted Simmons, who played in the shadows of Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter, will join the three backstops in the Hall of Fame in July.

Simmons, who caught at least 150 games in eight different seasons, was voted into Cooperstown by the Hall’s Modern Era Committee Sunday at baseball’s Winter Meetings.

The Modern Era Committee, one of four rotating committees that considers various periods, also voted in Marvin Miller, the pioneering union executive that led the way in getting free agency and multi-year contracts worth millions of dollars for players.

The Modern Era Committee considers players from 1970 through 1987.

A candidate needs 11 of 16 votes to make Cooperstown. Simmons had 13 votes, Miller 12, Dwight Evans eight, Dave Parker seven, Steve Garvey and Lou Whitaker six each.

Miller was the only non-player on list of 10 that was considered. The ballot also had Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy and Tommy John, each of whom received three or fewer votes.

A group of 11 baseball historians determines the ballot. The Hall of Fame decides the 16 voters.

Miller, who died at 95 in 2012, is considered the Babe Ruth of baseball economics for the players, but the general consensus is that because several owners got on the committee, he hasn’t been voted in.

Miller was the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 through 1982. He led the players through five work stoppages. In addition to free agency, he also won arbitration for salary disputes and grievances.

In 2012, four years before his death, Miller wrote a letter to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, saying that he no longer wanted to be considered wanted to be considered by the Hall of Fame.

Miller was likely helped on this vote by the fact that there was only one owner - David Glass of the Kansas City Royals - on the committee, which included Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Eddie Murray, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley and Robin Young.

Simmons played 21 big league seasons, including 13 with St. Louis, five with Milwaukee and three with Atlanta.

The switch-hitter had 2,480 hits for his career with a .348 on-base percentage, a statistic that wasn’t appreciated during his time as it is in today’s game.

Simmons played in nine All-Star Games and he was the catcher for the Brewers, then an American League team, when they lost to St. Louis in the 1982 World Series.

Simmons will be the 19th catcher inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was eliminated from the ballot of the BBWAA in 1994 because he didn’t get at least 5 percent of the vote.

Simmons, now 70, missed in 2017 when the committee selected pitcher Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, players that helped the Detroit Tigers win the 1984 World Series.

Whitaker was a second baseman for the Tigers during that time. He and Trammell are the longest-running double play combination in baseball history.

Last year in Las Vegas, the committee selected Harold Baines and Lee Smith to be in Cooperstown.

The catchers with the strongest cases for Cooperstown now are San Francisco’s Buster Posey, Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and St. Louis’ Yadier Molina.