MILWAUKEE — Down 3-2 in the eighth inning with one out and the bases loaded, Ted Simmons strolled to the plate. Until recently, this was a sight Brewers fans dreaded. Simmons was the human rally killer, known most for grounding into poorly timed double plays.
Today, Simmons lined a double that was just fair down the left field line, scoring two to give the Brewers a 4-3 lead. This is the Ted Simmons that should be feared by the opposition.
It wasn’t long ago that Ted Simmons was an over-the-hill catcher on his way off of the Brewers’ team. He was one of three catchers on the roster, didn’t see eye-to-eye with former manager Buck Rodgers, and grossly underperformed when compared to his reputation as an offensive-minded catcher.
Truth is, since coming to the Brewers prior to the 1981 season, Simmons had only been “offensive” in the least flattering way. He hit a meager .216 last season and was hitting .218 on June 12 when he decided to stop talking to the press.
“He talks to me every day,” Harvey Kuenn joked. “I don’t think it makes any difference whatsoever. Maybe he’s just superstitious.”
Since making his silence pact, Simmons’ bat has done the talking for him. Since May 19, he’s hit .305 with 12 homers and 34 RBI. During his past 17 games, Simmons is hitting .380 with six homers and 20 RBI.
Whether it is the source of his success or not, keeping silent isn’t the only change he’s made. He also has taken a new approach at the plate, taking a pronounced crouch that Cecil Cooper can appreciate.
“It looks to me that since he’s started crouching he gets a better look at the strike zone,” Cooper told the Milwaukee Sentinel. “Before he would chase the high fastball or chase the bad breaking ball down low. Now, he’s not doing that.”
Whatever Simmons is doing, keep doing it. Keep crouching. Keep silent. Keep knocking in runs.
Today’s win marked six straight for the Brewers, who maintained a half game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East. Boston beat the Royals 7-3.
Game Notes: Pete Ladd arrived from the minors to replace the injured Jamie Easterly. The 26-year-old reliever is known most for his freakish size. Nicknamed “Big Foot,” the imposing Ladd is 6’3″ and 238 pounds, wears a 7 7/8 sized hat and a size 15 shoe. Ladd was 10-2 with a 2.89 ERA and eight saves in the minors, allowing 43 hits and striking out 63 in 56 innings of relief.