Skip to main content

'56 of the month: Curt Simmons


As fantastic of a card as it is, I didn't receive "just" a 1955 Jackie Robinson card from Phungo headquarters.

Oh, no, there were other goodies, too.

Like this '56 of the month.

I've always had a mild interest in the Phillies players of yore. Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Chris Short, Dick Allen, Curt Simmons. I think it's because the Phillies are my Plan B team and basically have been since the very first year I collected cards.

But there was a little extra intrigue with Simmons. That's because at a card show around 1980 or so, I landed a 1962 card of Simmons. He was a not a Phillie by that point, but the card was absolutely free. It came out of one of those card gumball machines. Do you remember those? The only time I saw them were at card shows. You deposited your money -- I don't remember how much, it wasn't a lot -- and out popped a vintagey card.

On that particular trip to the card gumball machine, my prize was a miscut Simmons in a Cardinals uniform. It was the first 1962 card I had owned. It looked rather ancient.

Although not familiar with Curt at the time, I knew the name Simmons. I knew Ted Simmons, the Cardinals all-star catcher. And I had read about Al Simmons, of the great Philadelphia A's teams of the 1920s and '30s. I thought Curt Simmons must be the link in the middle. I assumed they were all related and what a great Simmons dynasty they had built in baseball!!!! How come nobody was writing stories about this?

Well, that's because, sadly, they're not related. So much for the Simmons dynasty.

Anyway, I don't have that card anymore. I think I shipped it off to madding, or someone.

That means I've gone without a Simmons card for too long. And it means this card is quite welcome.

Simmons, as you may know, was a member of the 1950 Philadelphia Whiz Kids team. In fact, he's one of only five surviving members of that team after the recent death of Roberts. Simmons played nearly 20 years in the major leagues, beginning as an 18-year-old. He impressed Philadelphia as a high school kid, nearly leading an all-star team of high school players to a victory over the Phillies in an exhibition game in 1947. He was in the major leagues that same year.

Simmons did not appear in the World Series against the Yankees in 1950, possibly the reason the Yankees had it so easy in that Series. Simmons was called into active duty during the Korean War late in the season. He was granted leave for the Series, but not as a player. Still, he wanted to show up to root on his teammates, and he was there to see them get swept.

But later Simmons would get his revenge. As a member of the Cardinals in 1964, he helped St. Louis to the Series and the Cardinals beat the Yankees. Now that is sweet.


Simmons was a successful pitcher for two of my favorite National League teams, the Phillies and Cardinals. And he was left-handed. So there were a lot of reasons for me to root for him -- even if he retired when I was around 2 years old.

Fifth all-time in victories in Phillies franchise history, Simmons is still going at age 81. He lives in Pennsylvania and runs a golf course.

Many thanks to Phungo for this card, the Jackie card, and THESE fine cards:


That's quite an eclectic mix, isn't it?

He also sent this:



No, not the minis. He sent pages to fit the minis!!!!! Woo-hooooooooooo! I really drag my butt on getting pages, especially these kind, since I have to order them online and I have a mental block when it comes to ordering pages/binders/yawn-oh-gracious-they're-so-boring through the mail.

But I'm not telling anybody anything they don't know: these pages make the minis look great. It makes you want to collect nothing but minis.

I also received one other 1956 card from Phungo. But that card requires some definite research. Maybe of the investigative kind. If I don't get too lazy.

Comments

Kevin said…
When I was younger, the hobby shop nearest my house had one of those vending machines. I only remember buying from the machine once, but oddly enough I can still recall some of the cards that were dispensed: 1987 Topps Hal McRae, 1985 Topps Jerry Willard, and a ProCards minor league card of Gil Heredia with the Phoenix Firebirds. My memory cells work in odd and random ways.

There was also a vending machine at Lackawanna County Stadium, and that one I patronized nearly every time I went to a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons game on my family's vacations. For years it was stocked with 1992 Fleer, 1991 Upper Deck, 1993 Classic minor leagues, and the like. The last time I remember seeing that machine was probably 3 or 4 years ago. At that time I pulled some 2005 Donruss and early 2000s Diamond Kings from it.

Popular posts from this blog

Stuck in traffic with Series 2

In the whirlwind that has been my life this month, I found myself going absolutely nowhere for a portion of Thursday afternoon. I was in the middle of yet another road trip, the third one this week. This one was for work, and because it was job-related, it became quickly apparent that it would be a waste of time. The only thing that could save it was a side visit to the nearby Walmart to see if I could spot some Topps Series 2. I found it right away, which was shocking as I was pretty much in the middle of the country, where SUVs share the road with tractors and buggies. Who knew that the Amish wanted Series 2, too? The problem was getting back into civilization to open the contents of the 72-card hanger box I bought. The neighboring village is undergoing a summer construction project smack in the middle of downtown. It's not much of a downtown, but the main road happens to be the main artery in the entire county. Everyone -- and by everyone I mean every tractor trailer ha

Heading upstate

  Back in 1999, Sports Illustrated published an edition at the end of the year rating the top 50 athletes of the century for every state.   As a lifelong Upstate New Yorker, I braced for a list of New York State athletes that consisted almost entirely of downstate natives, that is, folks from the greater NYC area and Long Island.   We Upstaters are used to New York City trampling all over the rest of the state. They have the most people, the loudest voices. It happens all the time. It's a phenomenon unique to this state. Heck, there are still people out there who, when you tell them you're from New York, automatically think you're from NYC. They don't think of cows and chickens when they think of New York. But trust me, there are a lot of cows and chickens in New York State. Especially cows.   So, anyway, when I counted up the baseball players that SI listed as the greatest from New York State, six of the nine were from New York City or Long Island. I was surprised all

G.O.A.T, the '80s: 30-21

  I often call this current period of the television sports calendar the black hole of sports programming. The time between the end of the Super Bowl and the beginning of televised Spring Training baseball games is an empty void when I'm looking for something to watch on traditional television. I don't watch the NBA and the NHL on TV holds my interest for maybe a period. College basketball I can't watch until the tournament. This didn't used to be as much of a problem back when I could turn instead to my favorite sitcoms in February. Do you remember when February was "sweeps month"? (Maybe it still is, I don't know). Networks would make sure that every top show aired original episodes that month, no reruns. So you'd always have something to view during the week even when the sports scene was boring. (I know, people have multiple streaming viewing options now. But I find myself going weeks sometimes before I see something I want to view on Netflix or Am