Friday, November 7, 2014

#39 Curt Simmons - former Phillie and Cardinal pitching great's last card.

Curt Simmons had a long and successful career pitching in the Majors and this is his final card. It is a timely choice for his final card because his career ended in October of '67. Simmons was a 5'10" lanky southpaw who., with Roberts, helped anchor the Phillies starting rotation. He won 17 games in 1950 as one of the Phillie 'Whiz Kids' though he did not appear in the Series that year. He spent 1951 in the service but returned to be an all star in '52, '53 and '57.

Injuries caught up to him in '60 and during this time he was a 31 year old free agent. He was unemployed for all of three days before the Cardinals signed him. It wasn't long before he picked up where he left off in the mid 50's. In '64 he won 18 games for the pennant winning Cardinals. He earned a loss in his two starts in the World Series but gained a World Series ring.

Following the series, Simmons, 36 struggled to regain the form he had for much of his career. He went 9-15 for a .500 Cardinal team in '65. He split his time in 1966 with the Cardinals and Cubs and finished his career in '67 with the Cubs and Angels.

Simmons had 20 major baseball cards made during his career dating back to 1949. Bowman made 7 of them and they were bought out after making their final set in 1955. The players who were regulars on the '1950's cards always grabbed my attention because even at an early age, I felt the older the card, the better. Collecting the latest rookie star card or the latest slick set was cheaper and easier to do (just by packs at the Thrift Drug store), Getting the oldies were harder. You needed to beg to go to a card show or a card store. I have fond memories of both of these places.

I admit, I never collected any of Simmons' cards. But I would have gladly if I were a Phillie fan living near Philadelphia. His cards would be easier to find, I'd know more about his history and best of all, I could afford them because Robin Roberts and Bob Gibson's cards were expensive, but Simmons' cards were affordable even though he was valuable to the same teams those pitchers played for.

This is a good looking card. It is closer than a standard head and shoulder shot of the player. But the photo used works well with the color of the Cubs lettering. The signature however is half lost in Simmons' hairline.

Again, I am feeling my age. Simmons didn't look like a young man in this photo. To a 9 year old, he looks every bit his age and then some; you'd add up on the back and then add 15 more years. But now, I am rapidly catching up to his retirement age. and I admire this man's longevity in the league.

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