Remembering 1964: Word Association with Curt Simmons.

PSCA: Thank you for your time and your insight and answers to my questions today. I'd like to conclude this interview with a word association where I give you a name and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind.

Curt Simmons: OK. We can do that.

PSCA: Stan Musial.

Curt Simmons: He was a good hitter, but I was a tough lefthanded pitcher. I got him out pretty well. He was a great guy and he never got upset. i went to him once and said "You've got to get upset with somebody, sometime." He said, "when you hit .350 you don't have to get mad at anybody."

PSCA: Bill White.

Curt Simmons: Another great guy. He lives in the area here and I saw him not too long ago. He was in a bookstore signing copies of a book he wrote. Bobby Shantz and I went over and signed some autographs. Outgoing. First class guy.

PSCA: Ken Boyer.

Curt Simmons: Another tough guy. Great third baseman. Good hitter. Solid guy for the Cardinals when I was there.

PSCA: Julian Javier.

Curt Simmons: He came up to the Cardinals about a week after I got there and Solly asked me to room with him. He seemed like a nice guy but he didn't speak a word of English. Nice guy and he could really run. Good player.

PSCA: Curt Flood.

Curt Simmons: Good hitter. Helluva center fielder. We sure had a great nucleus there.

PSCA: Bob Gibson.

Curt Simmons: He was tough. Heckuva player. Heckuvan athlete. He had a real live arm and was coming into his own in 63 and 64. Great natural player. Good fastball and a little bit mean too. In those days you could bust a guy inside. Now, they issue warnings whenever a guy throws inside.

PSCA: Tim McCarver.

Curt Simmons: Excitable young fellow. He was 19 and I was like 31. I remember one time early on he called for a change. I called him out to the mound and told him we challenge hitters up here and I wanted to throw my fastball. He goes OK OK. Blocked the plate real well. Could run for a catcher. Good athlete. Good runner.

PSCA: Johnny Keane

Curt Simmons: Nice guy. He coached third base for Solly Hemus and then he got his chance. We would go out after games with Alex Grammas and have a beer and just talk baseball forever. Really nice guy. Did a good job.

PSCA: Red Schoendienst.

Curt Simmons: Nice guy. We were good friends. Heckuva ballplayer. Good baseball guy.

PSCA: Dick Groat.

Curt Simmons: Another good veteran ballplayer. Battler. Good sharp guy. Not great range at shortstop. Good hitter. Good hands.

PSCA: Mike Shannon

Curt Simmons. He was just coming into his own. Let me tell you a story. We were playing the Giants one day. McCarver is hurt and Uecker got his hand messed up. Red asked who could catch. Mike offered. Well, he might as well have just told the hitter what pitch was coming. When he gave the signs, his fingers were on the ground. I got shelled that day. Mike wasn't a good catcher. (Note: According to Baseball Reference, Mike Shannon made his major league catching debut on August 8, 1965 against the San Francisco Giants. Bob Uecker started but had to come out after just one batter. Simmons gave up 8 hits in 2 and 1/3 to take the loss. Shannon went on to catch three more games in 1965 and concluded his catching career with a single inning in 1966) He turned out to be a heckuva a ball player.

PSCA: Bob Uecker.

Curt Simmons: Didn't play much. Actually was a good catcher. Had power. Only played when McCarver got hurt. Nowadays a catcher doesn't usually play a day game after a night game. They didn't do that then.

PSCA: Ray Washburn.

Curt Simmons: Good stuff. Slider. Fastball. He was a tough guy.

PSCA: Gussie Busch.

Curt Simmons: I didn't know him. I never met him. I was at a banquet once before the start of the season. Jack Buck was the emcee. I was going to be pitching the home opener. Mr. Busch got up there and said "Simmons better pitch good otherwise I'll have the highest paid left handed beer truck driver in the company."

PSCA: Bing Devine.

Curt Simmons. I didn't know him that well. Nice guy. Pretty fair guy. They got me for nothing. I ended up getting some pretty nice raises.

PSCA: St. Louis fans.

Curt Simmons. Good if you won. I'm from the East and Philly and they will boo you. I remember Del Ennis and every time he made an out they would boo him. The East Coast was way tougher than in St. Louis.

PSCA: Jack Buck.

Curt Simmons: Nice guy. Didn't know him real well. After I was done he asked me if I wanted to be a color guy for radio. I gave it a try. I wasn't very good. I had no experience.

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