That number in parentheses? That's the highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes Simmons garnered; it takes 75 percent for election. Simmons got 17 votes (3.74 percent of the electorate) in 1994, his first year of eligibility – and also his last, as he fell off the ballot for lack of support. But just for a moment, wipe the name "Ted Simmons" from your mind and let me describe a nameless player: "decent defensive catcher, eight-time All-Star with 2,472 career hits, No. 1 among players who spent most of their careers behind the plate." Sound like a Hall of Famer to you? I haven't even mentioned nameless player's power; his 778 extra-base hits rank behind only Carlton Fisk among catchers.
As I suspect you've suspected, this player does have a name, and it's Ted Simmons. Oh, I know people think Simmons was an awful catcher, but for the first half of his career, he was decent enough. He wasn't Johnny Bench (nobody was), and people probably held that against him. And Simmons' career didn't end on a happy note; he spent his last five seasons as a weak-hitting DH/PH type, and people probably held that against him, too. But Simmons was a great player, and all the Hall of Fame voters in North America won't convince me otherwise.
I've been giving some more thought to catcher defensive stats and most seem pretty flawed considering
1. A majority of the plays a catcher makes are bunts or swinging bunting with the rest being popouts. Bunts don't really test range or arm strength. And I don't have any stats to back this up but I'd guess only a handful of popouts a year test range.
2. Catchers receive a putout for every K. Same problem with determining RF for 1B.
To me the only defense stats for a catcher that make sense are CS%, PB and FLD%. Not to say these are perfect. CS% is affected by the pitcher, PB and FLD% can both be skewed by the offical scorer. Unless you are a believer in CERA (which I'm not) I don't see a better way to judge a catcher's defense unless you come up with something like non-force outs at home or lead runners thrown out on bunts. And even if you do a majority of the catcher's defensive contributions are still going to come from stopping the other team's running game.
joshheines wrote:Carter, on the other hand, should be regarded as one of the top defensive catchers of all-time. During his peak defensive years (1978 - 1983) Carter saved his team 20 runs over the average catcher for his defense alone. Carter was as good as Pudge is today (or was in his on hey-day). Carter produced about 9.35 wins over a replacement level player for 10 years. Simmons peak of 9.2 wins contributed above a replacement player doesn't even match Carter's 10 year average. This is not to say Simmons isn't really good, but at best he's a very questionable HOFer. While in my mind Carter is among the elite catchers.
Do you have a link for some of this? I've never thought of Carter as an elite defensive catcher, definately not on I-Rod's level.
Here's two links and you can look at the numbers yourself.
Look at FRAA - It stands for Fielding Runs Above Average, or the runs this players saved over the average defensive catcher. Look at it for adjusted all-time because this will remove any decade, time or era bias the numbers may show. Carter saved 149 runs. As of today, Pudge has saved 196 runs. Once Carter hit 34 he became a below average defender. Pudge is now 34. I expect that if Pudge stays behind the plate a few more years he will become a below average defender and his numbers will come back to Carters; however, Pudge will still finish with better numbers.
I would not look at FRAA, because it is too subjective for catchers. The worst defensive catchers will have the most assists (because everybody runs on them giving them the most chances to rack up assists) and the best defensive catchers, bench, I-rod, have fewer assists because no one tests thier arm.