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Player Profile: Al Simmons

May 23, 2017


It is not often, it seems, that truly great players are underrated, and almost forgotten in the pages of baseball’s storied history. Al Simmons can be counted among those men.

Born Aloisius Szymanski on this date in 1902, the Hall of Fame outfielder helped lead the Philadelphia Athletics to back-to-back World Series titles in 1929 and 1930.

Simmons’ 1,828 RBIs puts him 20th on the all-time list, while his .334 average ranks 23rd. He was a solid power hitter, knocking 307 for his career and slugging .535 over the course of 20-year career.

Simmons and fearsome Hall of Fame first baseman Jimmie Foxx proved to be a dynamic duo during the Athletics’ run to three straight World Series. During that period, Simmons averaged 150 RBIs and more than 30 home runs per year to compliment his torrid .378 batting average.

However fine a ballplayer Simmons was, his story is truly just one piece of the A’s mini-dynasty that history has seemed to sweep under its rug. The only thing blocking their path to becoming a true dynasty was a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games in the 1931 World Series.

Besides Simmons and Foxx, who ended the more legendary of the two with 534 homers, the A’s lineup also featured Hall of Fame catcher Mickey “Black Mike” Cochrane, who was known for his volatile temper and competitive spirit (Mickey Mantle would later be named for Cochrane).

Philadelphia was managed by the sharp-dressing Connie Mack, who was known for sporting a suit and tie in the dugout. Hall of Famer Lefty Grove anchored the pitching staff, a 300-game winner who posted a 79-15 record over the period to go with a 2.46 ERA.

Despite the number of star players on the Athletics, Mack was asked who the most valuable player he’d seen was. The answer was Simmons. “If only I could have nine players named Al Simmons,” Mack said.

After the 1931 season, Simmons played 12 more years in the majors with the A’s, White Sox, Tigers, Senators, Braves, Reds and Red Sox. Bill James’ Hall of Fame Monitor scores him at 226 (likely Hall of Famers score 100).

New York Giants skipper John McGraw called Simmons the greatest ballplayer at that time. In reality, experts would likely not agree. But are those near-dynasty A’s teams, Led by Foxx, Grove and Simmons, some of the greatest squads ever? That seems a much easier debate.


*Stats and info provided by Baseball Reference, Baseball Fever and the Society for American Baseball research.



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