SAN DIEGO – Ted Simmons can thank WAR, on-base percentage and other modern measures of baseball players for helping him reach the Hall of Fame 31 years after he retired.
The eight-time All-Star catcher was elected to the Hall by a veterans committee after falling one vote short two years ago.
Simmons received 13 of 16 votes when the modern era committee gathered Sunday ahead of the winter meetings. Also elected was Marvin Miller, the union leader who revolutionized baseball by empowering players to negotiate multimillion-dollar contracts and to play for teams of their own choosing.
"This is a great, great day in my life," Simmons said during a conference call. "It's obviously a very special day for me and Marvin's family and I'm just very, very pleased to be a part of it."
Primarily a catcher in a 21-year big league career, the switch hitter batted .285 with 248 homers and 1,389 RBI for St. Louis (1968-80), Milwaukee (1981-85) and Atlanta (1986-88). Simmons hit .300 or higher seven times and finished with 2,472 hits. Among players who were primarily catchers, his RBI total is second to Yogi Berra's 1,430 and his hits are second to Ivan Rodriguez's 2,844. He had a career .348 on-base percentage and struck out only 694 times in 8,680 at-bats.
Simmons played in his only postseason in 1982, when the Brewers lost in seven games to St. Louis in the World Series. That year Simmons hit 23 homers and drove in 97 runs for "Harvey's Wallbangers."
Simmons was traded to Milwaukee on Dec. 12, 1980, along with pitchers Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich, for David Green, Dave LaPoint, Sixto Lezcano and Lary Sorensen.
He will be inducted into Cooperstown during ceremonies on July 26 along with any players chosen next month by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Simmons made only one appearance on the BBWAA ballot, receiving 17 of 456 votes (3.7%) in 1994, falling shy of the 5% threshold to remain on the ballot.
He has benefited from modern metrics such as a Baseball Reference WAR of 50.3. Eight other players who were primarily catchers topped 50, and they are all in the Hall: Johnny Bench, Berra, Gary Carter, Bill Dickey, Carlton Fisk, Gabby Hartnett, Mike Piazza and Rodriguez.
Simmons said he thought his one-and-done on the BBWAA ballot would forever keep him out of Cooperstown.
"If it weren't for the analytics people, my career as a potential Hall of Famer probably would have been shut down and forgotten about a long time ago," he said.
Miller, who died at age 95 in 2012, led the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966-82, a time when players gained the right to free agency after six seasons of big league service, to salary arbitration and to grievance arbitration. He led the union through five work stoppages and was an adviser during three more after he retired.
After several turndowns, Miller had asked not to be considered for the Hall, calling the process "a farce." He asked his children not to participate.
"It would have been a great honor 20 years ago," Miller's daughter Susan said.
Dave Parker received seven votes, and Steve Garvey and Lou Whitaker six each. Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson and Dale Murphy all got three or fewer.