Legendary Catcher to be Immortalized with Bronze Statue Unveiling and Dedication Outside Busch Stadium, Uniform No. 23 to be Retired by Organization
ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 15, 2021 – The St. Louis Cardinals organization announced today that it will pay 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 will be highlighted by the unveiling and dedication of a Ted Simmons statue outside of Busch Stadium and the retirement of “Simba’s” uniform number 23.
“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 this Fall and add him to the exclusive group of ten individuals who have both a statue outside of Busch Stadium and their uniform number retired. We hope our fans will come out in force to pay tribute to Ted and his family on July 31.”
The tribute will begin at 2:00 PM with the unveiling and dedication of a bronze statue of Ted Simmons outside Busch Stadium at the intersection of 8th Street and Clark Avenue. The statue, completed by St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame sculptor Harry Weber, will join 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 will continue with a pregame ceremony starting at approximately 6:00 PM in which the organization will officially retire Simmons’ number 23. Simmons will become 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 will open with Ted riding around the warning track in a Ford Mustang and conclude with Simmons throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.
Additionally, 30,000 fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a Ted Simmons bobblehead, presented by Coca-Cola and Dierbergs, as they enter the gates that evening.
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.
COURTESY ST. LOUIS CARDINALS & MLBpressbox.com