100 Greatest Phillies: 27 – Curt Simmons – Phillies Nation
100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 27 – Curt Simmons

Curt Simmons
Starting Pitcher

Career w/Phillies: 1939.2 IP / 115-110 / 3.66 ERA / 1052 K

Signed by the Phillies after striking out a bunch of them in a high school vs. Phillies exhibition, Curt Simmons was destined for great things. Making his professional debut at age 18, the Egypt, Pa., native slowly became one of the Phillies greatest pitchers. Seventh on the franchise list in strikeouts and fifth in wins, Simmons spent parts of 14 seasons in Philadelphia. He came into his own in 1950 as a Whiz Kid, a 21-year-old who recorded a 17-8 record with a 3.40 ERA. He missed the World Series, serving in Korea, but returned for the 1952 season when he really dominated. That year he went 14-8 with a 2.82 ERA, earning his first All-Star berth. He returned to the game in 1953, recording a 16-13 ERA with a 3.21 ERA. He would have a few more fine seasons with the Phils, but fell victim to poor win-loss records because of some bad teams. Thinking he was finished, the Phillies released Simmons in 1960, but he returned to prominence for a few seasons with the Cardinals. He retired at age 39 in 1968, and he’ll be 80 in May.

Comment: A Lehigh County boy made good in the big city, Simmons is clearly one of the franchise’s greatest pitchers. In fact, by this count, he’s the eighth-greatest pitcher in franchise history. If only he played on some better teams, he could’ve won maybe 150 games as a Phillie. Alas …



  1. BurrGundy

    February 28, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Curt Simmons was a winner and it is great to see him remembered here. Another thing about Simmons — I believe he lost part of his left foot in an accident with a lawnmower. Still, this didn’t stop him for ‘mowing ’em down’ in the big leagues.

  2. Fran

    February 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Its amazing how players back then would miss the world series in order to fight for their country. Try to find one guy in the majors that would do that in this day and age. Guys like manny are rejecting 1 year 25 million dollar contracts. Amazing.

  3. James Kay

    February 28, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Simmons is definitely a hard core old school Phillie who deserves inclusion on the list. He had one of the most unorthodox pitching motions of all time, but he still got it done. After being released by the Phils in 1960, he took special delight in defeating his former team. However, as the photograph in the link that follows shows, the Phillies managed to tattoo him occasionally. The unhappy pitcher on the mound is Curt.
    Did Wes Covington make this list? Talk about laid back charisma and a classic batting stance.

  4. Chris

    February 28, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    patrick tillman from the arizona cardinals…

    sounds like you could make a good movie about curt simmons…

  5. MDefl

    February 28, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Simmons is an intensely private person. I doubt that he would want a movie made about himself. He was a very good pitcher.

  6. Bruce

    February 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Wes Covington!! I remember him for having the most ferocious swing I have ever seen from a major leaguer. And when he made contact (not consistently).. fans ducked for cover. (chuckling)

  7. ashmidt

    March 1, 2009 at 12:01 am

    phils thought he was washed up and released him, he went on to win 78 more games, he had to be better then some of the pitchers they were throwing out there in 60 and 61, what killed me though was he won 18 games for the 64 cardinals who beat out our beloved phils on the last day of the season. great pick, is chris short still out there ? speaking of philly leftys, the all time lefty in this town was LEFTY GROVE, when i sit and chat with an old timer it is one of the first questions i ask. did you ever see robert moses grove pitch?

  8. Chutley

    March 1, 2009 at 1:45 am

    mad respect for fighting for our country. a true AMERICAN. should be number one just for that

  9. Nationals#1

    March 1, 2009 at 2:17 am

    LV represent

  10. steve

    March 1, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Curt was a fine pitcher and an upstanding citizen but you superpatriots out there who think Curt ran to enlist when Korea broke out the way Hank greenberg did in WW2 are wrong. His national guard unit got called up.

  11. bigbobster

    March 1, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I’ve posted this in the past, but worth repeating….he won 18 games for the Cardinals in ’64, the year of the Phils collapse….that’s a reminder to GMs not to give up on a long-term, productive player so quick.

  12. willie the phillie

    March 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I think Lefty Grove was a Philadelphia A’s pitcher. And you can bet that Chris Short will show up on this list as he was bona fide in the mid 60’s. I met Curt Simmons during an autograph thing last summer at CBP and connected with him because his son and I are the same age. Regular guy and deserving of this ranking. He was good for the Cards in ’64, sure enough.

  13. whizkidfanatic

    March 1, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Curt Simmons was possessed of HOF stuff and when healthy was able to make good hitters look bad at the plate. He was just wild enough to make even the most fearless of hitters nervous at the plate. This, plus his speed, herky jerky motion and wicked curve ball had many a great left handed hitter asking for a day off when he pitched. Injuries caused him more difficulties than hitters in his 20 year career. Nevertheless, he is one of baseballs great guys and had an outstanding career.

  14. Bill Swingler

    August 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I served with Curt with the 28 Inf. Div.at Camp Atterbury,and Cooke Barracks in Goeppengen, Germany also played basket ball against him in Gerp & Columbia, PA. We had a mutual friend in Ben Samsel..
    Curt was an absolute gentelman and a very great pitcher with both the Phillies & Cardinls. I have been very proud to have touched the life of both Curt and Ben. Good memories never die!

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