Baseball Profiles
                            Catching Up: Ted Simmons                     
His journey to Cooperstown has given him an unbreakable passion for the game.
Memories and Dreams: The Official Magazine of the Hall of Fame
by Rick Hummel
Twenty-six years ago, Ted Simmons' Hall of Fame destiny appeared to be over before it began.
But time changed that - just like it did Simmons' off-the-field journey. And Simmons is grateful for both.
"The Hall of Fame: A lifetime of waiting," said Simmons, who has shared much of that lifetime with his wife of five decades, Maryanne. "And 50th wedding anniversary, which also is a lifetime waiting, right? There's all sorts of firsts."
Simmons, who played 21 big league seasons with the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves from 1968-88 and later served with several front offices, was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Modern Baseball Era Committee as part of the Class of 2020. He is the first player elected to the Hall of Fame by a veterans committee after dropping off the ballot after one year in the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America election, where candidates must receive at least five percent of the vote to remain under consideration.
In 1994, his first year eligible for the Hall of Fame, Simmons received 3.7% of the vote from the BBWAA electors. It was one of the first times in his athletic careeer that Simmons was not at the ehead of his class.
"I was a typical three-sport athlete and excelled in all of them," said Simmons, who grew up in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, MI. "By the time I was 14, 15 years old, the entire metropolitan area of Detroit knew who I was. 'He's going to wind up in the major leagues.' That kind of talk. ..."
On the athletic field, the 5-foot-11, 193-pound Simmons appeared to be carved from granite. Besides his ability to switch-hit, hit for power and bat fourth in a major league lineup, Simmons also was known for his leadership abilities.
"His best attributes were his strong will to win and his dedication to being out there every day," said former Cardinals relief ace Al Hrabosky. "He could motivate me better than anybody I've ever been around."

Ted Simmons with his three major league clubs.
Simmons, who remains in the game as a major league scout for the Braves, had big numbers in his career, such as 2,472 hits (second all time among players who appeared in at lesat 50 percent of their games as a catcher) and 1,389 RBI (also second on that list).
An eight-time All-Star, Simmons never struck out more than 57 times in a season, and he is one of only 12 players in history with at least 240 HRs and fewer than 700 Ks. And he was durable: Simmons is one of only six catchers with at least two seasons playing at least 150 games behind the plate (1973, 1975), and he ranked eighth all time in games caught (1,771) at the time of his retirement.
But he said, "I started out as a little boy hoping I'd end up playing the World Series and probably be elected to the Hall of Fame ... For most of the guys and girls who have those dreams, they aren't able to realize them. But I've been able to stay in this Disneyland my whole life."
In Simmons' first year with the Cardinals, Tim McCarver was the catcher for a team that won National League pennans in 1967 and 1968 and a World Series in 1967. McCarver would be dealt to Philadelphia ... after the 1969 season but returned to the Cardinals as an extra man in 1973.
"That year I came back, Ted Simmons hit more balls hard than anybody I've ever seen in the course of a season," McCarver said. "Honestly, I felt he could have gotten 350 hits that year. His outs were just ridiculous. And he was a warrior in every sense."
Simmons' defensive skills were questioned in some circles, but McCarver said, "Good catchers come in different ways. They come silently as far as calling a game. They come warrior-like from an offensive standpoint. They come in different ways as to how they help their team." ...
While still active in the game, until last December he didn't have too many things planned for late July. "I'd probably be across the street watching the Cardinals play some National League team," said Simmons, who wants to do something in baseball until the day "they vote me out."
But come July 26 in Cooperstown, Simmons will be inducted into the game's greatest fraternity - a place he will never leave.
                            Winning Record: Derek Jeter                     
Derek Jeter's talent, tenacity brought the Yankees back to the top.
Memories and Dreams: The Official Magazine of the Hall of Fame
by Tyler Kepner
Under owner George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees had made a habit of trading prospects for immediate needs.
A high school shortstop changed all that - a high school shortstop who seemed to have destiny waiting for him at Yankee Stadium.
"Gene Michael would tell everybody when (Derek) Jeter was coming through the system: 'He's not getting traded,'" said Brian Cashman, the Yankees' longtime general manager, referring to their early-'90s architect and protector of the sixth overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft. "People would hit on Stick (Michael) about Jeter when he was in the South Atlantic League and the Florida State League, and Gene was always like, 'We're not trading him, we're not trading, we're not trading him!'"
Derek Jeter would justify the Yankees' faith. He became the cornerstone of the revival of the big leagues' glamour franchise and served as a fresh hero for a battered industry. He was exactly who the team and the sport needed, at exactly the right time, collecting five championships and 3,465 hits - sixth on MLB's career list - whle serving as a role model fans could trust.
It all added up to a spellbinding resume that landed Jeter in the Hall of Fame in January on his first try. He received 99.7 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the highest percentage ever for a position player.
"This is something that was not a part of the dream when you're playing," Jeter said at a news conference in the afterglow of the announcement. "When you're playing, you're just trying to keep your job."
Lots of players say that, but Jeter demonstrated it before the 1996 season, when he won the A.L. Rookie of the Year Award by hitting .314 with 104 runs scored. The Yankees had installed Jeter as their shortstop that spring, wisely resisting a trade that would have sent Mariano Rivera to the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Felix Fermin. But Jeter never assumed he had a job.
Manager Joe Torre happened to catch a television interview with Jeter that Spring Training. Asked about taking over as the Yankees' starting shortstop, Jeter said: "I'm going to have an opportunity to win the job."
Torre repeats the story often as a way to illustrate Jeter's uncommon humility and maturity.
"He was all about accountability and respect," Torre said," without any sense of entitlement."

L-R: Derek Jeter, Gene Michael, Joe Torre
Jeter had watched the 1995 playoffs from the bench as a non-roster player, after batting .250 with no home runs in his 15-game cameo that season. He announced his presence on Opening Day in Cleveland on April 2, 1996, blasting a home run off Dennis Martinez while hitting ninth in the Yankees lineup. The Indians were the reigning A.L. champions but with that home run, a shift in the majors' power structure was under way.
That season, the Yankees returned to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1981 - when Jeter was 7 years old - and roared back from an 0-2 hole to beat the Braves in six games in the World Series. They triumphed again in 1998, 1999 and 2000, when Jeter hit .409 with two homers to thwart the Mets in New York's first Subway Series since 1956.
Jeter was the Most Valuable Player, of course, which is how it had to be. He was the prince of the city, Superman in spikes. That's how he seemed in October 2001, at least, dashing across the Oakland infield to rescue an errant throw, then flipping the ball to catcher Jorge Posada at the plate to preserve a slim lead in a must-win playoff game. (Watch the play ...)
The Yankees would lose the 2001 World Series and another in 2003, a year best known for their rousing comeback to beat Boston in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Yankees trailed by two runs in the eighth inning that night, five outs from elimination with Sox ace Pedro Martinez on the mound. Jeter's double started their famous game-tying rally, setting up current Yankees manager Aaron Boone's pennant-winning homer in the 11th inning.
"He is the greatest competitor that I have ever had the chance to play with," Boone said following Jeter's Hall of Fame announcement. "If anyone out there epitomizes what a Hall of Famer is, it's Derek Jeter."
It was during the 2003 season that owner George Steinbrenner named Jeter captain, following in the tradition of Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly and others. The role suited Jeter, a natural leader who shared Steinbrenner's competitive ethose.
The Yankees' next championship came in 2009, in their first season at the new Yankee Stadium. In a six-game victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, Jeter batted .407 with 11 hits, a career-high for his 33 Postseason series. His career .838 on-base plus slugging percentage in the Postseason was even better than his .817 mark in the regular season, and in 158 playoff games, he had an even 200 hits.
In other words, while facing the strongest competition and under the most pressure, Jeter found a way to be the best version of himself.
"Everything about him evoked winning," said his first major league manager, Buck Showalter. "With Derek, it was all about the team."
Jeter proudly notes that he played only one game in New York in his entire career with the Yankees eliminated from the Postseason - and it was his very last home game on Sept. 25, 2014. Jeter came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied and a runner at second. He lashed the first pitch from the Orioles' Evan Meek through the right side for a single, a quintessential Jeter hit that scored the winning run.
It was his final fairy tale for a player who lived his dream, and when it was over, Jeter made one last visit to shortstop, saving the stage alone as the cheers washed over him. He played 2,905 games, including the Postseason, and never played another defensive position.
In retirement, however, Jeter has made a significant move - in both location and job. At the end of the 2017 season, he became the chief executive officer and part-owner of the Miami Marlins, who have not reached the Postseason since beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.
"I want to win as much as anyone," Jeter said. "I didn't get into this to lose."
He has already done it once, with a playing career that helped restore the Yankees brand and draw back fans to the game. That journey ends now in Cooperstown, but the baseball legacy of Derek Jeter continues.