A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 103 Al Simmons (Number 10 Left Field)

Al Simmons timed his three best seasons of his career with the Philadelphia A’s winning their 3 pennants in a row forming a dynasty. In their book Dynasties Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein analyzed the 15th greatest MLB dynasties. Rob Neyer had them as the 7th best dynasty of the 20th century (of all time at that time) and Eddie Epstein had them as the 12th best dynasty.

Simmons won his two batting titles during those three years. Simmons had a life time average of .334 (23rd all time) hit .365, .381 and .390. The last two is when he won the batting title. He also had his only years he led the league in runs with 152 in 1930 and RBIs with 157 in 1929. Simmons was a great player from 1925 to 1935 and then slowed down at the age of 33 in 1935.

During the three World Series Simmons played in those three years (the A’s won the first two and lost the last in 7 games) he hit .300 in every series and hit 2 home runs in every series. This was interesting as he wasn’t a big homerun hitter.  He was an overall hitter who had good power. He did have 307 career homeruns and hit more than 30 3 times.

Simmons played a big role in the famous 10 run rally the Philadelphia A’s used to come back from an 8-0 deficit to win game 4 of the World Series over the Chicago Cubs and go up 3 games to 1 in the World Series. He hit a homerun to lead off the bottom of the seventh. That homerun changed the chances the A’s would win the game from 1 percent to 2 percent. Afterall a 7-run lead is almost impossible to come back from. When Simmons batted later in the inning it was now 8-7 Chicago with one out and Mickey Cochrane at first. Simmons singled to improve the A’s chances of winning from 39 percent to 46 percent as he put the tying run in scoring position, and he was now the potential winning run on first base. Simmons later scored the winning run with Jimmie Foxx coming in behind him on a Jimmy Dyke double. The A’s won 10-8.

One thing that isn’t mentioned much was George H. Burns the first baseman came up with a pinch in the inning. He got to bat twice in the inning as the A’s went thru the order. He made out both times. Unfortunately, George wasn’t young. He didn’t play in game 5 the last game of the series so this was his final game.  Burns had a solid career but didn’t quite make my 1,000 players. The other George Burns who played left field for the New York Giants made my list and earned over 600 points, so he is my borderline portion for getting in the hall of fame.

What isn’t as well known is the Phillies rallied to win again the next day and again Simmons played a key role. The A’s were down 2-0 coming into the bottom of the ninth. With one out Mule Haas hit a two-run homer to tie the game. After Mickey Cochrane grounded out, Simmons hit a double. Again, he was the potential winning run on second. The Cubs smartly walked Jimmie Foxx intentionally. Bing Miller then doubled Simmons home to win the game and series. It was the second game in a row that Simmons scored the winning run. That was a thrill.

Simmons had a career total of 2,927 career hits and some people have asked if he would have stayed to get 3,000 now days. However, Simmons didn’t hit for power any more starting at age 37. He played two more years, hitting for a decent average at age 38 but retired at age 39. With teams desperate during the war Simmons came back and tried to play two more years, but he definitely didn’t have what it took anymore and retired again. He would have had to crawl to 3,000.

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Author: Douglas Byzewski

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