Sunday, March 9, 2014

Curt Simmons (#22)

I posted Curt Simmons’ final card on my 1967 blog several years ago, but it was part of a multi-card post about the players’ crew cuts, and didn’t get into their playing careers, so Curt is back for a 2nd look.

Curt Simmons had a 20-year career (1947-67) playing for 4 teams, mostly for the Phillies, and later the Cardinals.

Simmons was signed by the Phillies in 1947, and pitched that season for the Wilmington (DE) Blue Rocks, the Phillies’ class-B team. He compiled a 13-5 record, then made his major-league debut with the Phillies at age 18 during a September call-up.

In 1948, southpaw Curt joined 21-year-old righthander Robin Roberts in a rotation that also included 39-year-old Dutch Leonard and 38-year-old Schoolboy Rowe, both of who began their careers in 1933.

By 1950, Roberts and Simmons were the Phillies’ #1 and #2 starters, leading them to their first post-season since 1915. Curt missed the final month of the 1950 season and the World Series, due to his call-up to active military service during the Korean War.

Curt was a solid member of the team’s starting rotation from 1950 to 1957 (except for missing all of 1951 due to military service). He also made the All-Star team in ’52, ’53, and ’57.

Simmons had an off-year in 1958, and came down with a sore arm in 1959, spending part of that season in the minors. The Phillies released him in mid-May 1960, after only 4 starts.

Simmons was picked up by the Cardinals three days later, and spent the next 6 years in their starting rotation. He won a career-high 18 games in 1964, and together with Bob Gibson’s 19 wins and Ray Sadecki’s 20 wins, they twirled the team to a World Championship.

He experienced another off-year in 1965, and with a slow start in 1966, he was sold to the Cubs in late June. Simmons pitched for the Cubs just over 1 calendar year before moving on the the Angels in early-August 1967.

He was released after the season, ending his 20-year career. He finished with a career record of 193-183, with 1697 strikeouts.

Simmons and White Sox’ catcher Smoky Burgess were the last 2 players to retire that had played in the 1940s.


Commishbob said...

I'm glad YOU post this one. I just scanned mine and it's pretty brutal. I didn't know that about Simmons and Smoky B. being the last guys from the 40s to retire. Cool fact.

Love Polo Grounds cards.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Bob, those two and Joe Nuxhall were the only 3 players from the 1940s w/ cards in the 1967 set. and Nuxy retired BEFORE the '67 season.