One of Major League Baseball's top catchers from the 1970s and '80s, Ted Simmons holds a high spot in comparison to the best backstops of all-time. "Simba" has long been a favorite for Cardinals and Brewers collectors, but the interest in Ted Simmons cards should increase given his 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame induction.
The St. Louis Cardinals made Ted Simmons their full-time catcher in 1971. Although fellow National League catchers Johnny Bench and Gary Carter generally received more recognition, Simmons still managed to make eight All-Star Games during his career. Later, Simba joined the Brewers and helped the "Harvey's Wallbangers" team reach the World Series in 1982. At the time of his retirement, Simmons was the all-time leader in hits by a catcher, and the NL leader in switch-hit home runs.
The Ted Simmons rookie card appears in the classic 1971 Topps set, which has added to his favorability with collectors. He was a staple in most mainstream card releases throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Simmons also managed to work his way onto the checklists of some unique card and difficult-to-find card releases. Nevertheless, the majority of Simmons cards are affordable, relatively easy to find, and hail from some great looking and revered sets for the better part of two decades.
Although Ted Simmons has a good supply of cards from his active career, he is a player who has generally been excluded from modern card products. Several cards have been issued since he retired near the end of the 1980s, including a few certified autographs. That is likely to increase now that he is entering the Hall of Fame.
This guide explores some of the very best Ted Simmons cards. The list below highlights options from his entire career and beyond, identifying key options for collectors looking to add cards of this elite catcher.
Top 10 Ted Simmons Baseball Cards
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10. 1994 Miller Brewing Milwaukee Brewers 25th Anniversary Ted Simmons
In 1994, Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing created a set of baseball cards to commemorate the team’s 25th Anniversary. This includes two cards of their former star catcher Ted Simmons. The Miller Brewing Brewers set was originally issued in four booklets of 94 perforated cards, with a card for every player who appeared in uniform during the team’s 25 years in Milwaukee. While original booklets can be found, many collectors separated out the cards via the perforations, which makes the cards condition-sensitive. One of the Ted Simmons cards is a standard-issue portrait card that fits in with the rest of the set.
The second Simmons card features an action shot of the Cooperstown catcher. It also marks his place on the franchise’s 25th Anniversary team as one of the Brewers' best players alongside Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.
9. 1975 Hostess Ted Simmons #75
1975 Hostess kicked off what would become one of the most popular oddball card releases. The cards were attached to the panels on packages of Hostess snacks in groups of three. It's still possible to find the cards on their original panels, or in their original packaging, but the vast majority of these cards were cut by hand. Since they were hand-cut, the Hostess cards are naturally condition-sensitive. Simmons appeared in all of the sets that Hostess issued during the second half of the 1970s, but his 1975 card remains the most desirable. Simba's Hostess card can be found on panels with Rangers third baseman Jeff Burroughs and Twins pitcher Joe Decker, but these are extraordinarily rare and costly. Clean, hand-cut copies of this card are easy to find and generally affordable.
8. 1974 Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars Ted Simmons #21
Similar to Hostess, 1970s Kellogg's was a beloved food card set. The lenticular 3-D card fronts returned in 1974 after taking a one-year hiatus, and included the young All-Star catcher. The Hostess 3-D cards were available to collectors via a mail-in offer, so they avoided some of the pitfalls that can take place with food-based packaging. The fronts of the Kellogg's cards can develop cracks, but they are not too difficult to find in good condition. This is another early Simmons cards that offers collectors an affordable option, even for those looking to spend a little more money on high-grade copies
7. 1982 MLB All-Star Game Program Insert Ted Simmons
Major League Baseball inserted cards into their All-Star Game programs during the first half of the 1980s. The hand-cut cards came in a sheet, so some remain intact. As a player who appeared in the All-Star Game on a near-annual basis, Simmons has several of these All-Star inserts, all in a Brewers uniform. The 1982 All Star Game took place in Montreal, which has made the program inserts from that year a little tougher to come across.
6. 1972 Topps Ted Simmons #154
Home to the second-year Ted Simmons card, 1972 Topps was groundbreaking in several different facets, but most importantly for its unique design elements. The colors that were used on the '72 cards were bolder and brighter than previous Topps editions, and the print style on the cards was psychedelic and meant to resemble concert posters from the era. While this card features a rather buttoned-up Ted Simmons, the strong 1970s design elements make this an essential card for a player who built his Hall of Fame résumé during the decade.
5. 1975 Topps Ted Simmons #75
If you ask someone to describe the essential elements of a 1970s baseball card, you might very well end up with something similar to Simba's 1975 Topps card. The loud colors used on these cards were a perfect representation of the period, and while some argue that Topps pushed the envelope too far here, many collectors view this as the card giant's ultimate product from the decade. 1975 was also the first Topps card to show Simmons with long hair and his mutton chop sideburns, which were very much part of the catcher's persona at this time.
4. 2018 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs Ted Simmons #FFATS
As a fan-favorite player for St. Louis and Milwaukee, there has always been demand for Ted Simmons autographs, but very few choices. Better late than never, Simmons popped up in a few different products in recent years. Simba’s top autograph card to chase is from 2018 Topps Archives, which uses the 1977 Topps design and shows Simmons as a member of the Cardinals. The base signature has a white border, but there are colored variations of this card with limited print runs.
3. 1974 Topps Deckle Edge Ted Simmons #10
The 1974 Deckle Edge set was a test issue that Topps distributed around Massachusetts. The oversized (2 7/8" x 5") deckle-edged cards were sold in packs of two or three cards with a stick of gum. The design featured black-and-white photos of players with a blue facsimile signature on the front. Nearly a third of the 72-card checklist is Hall of Famers, which has made it a bit of a cult classic with collectors. For Ted Simmons fans, this card from early in his career is a challenge to find and can often be quite costly depending on the condition. Like all cards in the set, Simba's Deckle Edge card can have a white or gray back. The white back copies are considered more scarce and carry a premium.
2. 1970 St. Louis Cardinals Photocards Ted Simmons
The Cardinals issued player photocard sets for decades, starting in the mid-1950s and extending through the 1990s. The cards characteristically featured a black-and-white photo of the player along with a facsimile signature or printed name across the bottom with a white frame. Never given away as a set, the Cardinals photocards were generally used by players and the team for correspondence with fans. Simmons took over as the Cardinals full-time catcher halfway through the 1970 season. As there were no "traded" sets at the time, the Cardinals postcard became his first baseball card. Beyond the first-year Simmons, the 1970 Cardinals photocards set was loaded with Hall of Famers, including Joe Torre, Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, and Bob Gibson.
1. 1971 Topps Ted Simmons RC #117
A distinct set from the decade, the simple 1971 Topps design with black borders stands in stark contrast to the brighter and bolder designs that Topps would use throughout the 1970s. The 1971 set also offers collectors a deep checklist that is full of Hall of Fame talent like Nolan Ryan and Roberto Clemente. However, several of the star players with key rookie cards, including Bert Blyleven and Steve Garvey, have been a little slower to gain traction for Cooperstown. Of course, the 1971 Topps card is at the top of the list for Simmons collectors as his most important card. Graded copies are in high demand and sell for high dollars. Like all 1971 Topps cards, the Ted Simmons rookie is condition-sensitive and can have a large variance in price depending on the flaws of the card. No matter your budget, this is a must-own card for any serious collection of Simba cards. Signed versions are also very popular.