It is officially the end of an era in Philadelphia Phillies baseball. It was announced today by the team that Curt Simmons had passed away at age 93. He was the last remaining member of the club’s 1950 ‘Whiz Kids’ National League championship club.
Simmons enjoyed a 20-year career in Major League Baseball. The southpaw won 198 games while pitching with four different organizations. He was a three-time National League All-Star and won the 1964 World Series as a member of the Saint Louis Cardinals.
In August of 1950, Simmons was activated for service in the National Guard during the Korean War. After winning 17 games to that point, he would miss the entire final stretch drive and the World Series. Simmons also missed the full 1951 campaign as his military service continued, undoubtedly keeping him from the 200-win mark over his career.
Overall, Simmons went 115-110 across 13 seasons with the Phillies 1947-50 and 1952-60. His current ranks on the club’s all-time pitching lists: Wins (5), Strikeouts (9), Shutouts (6), Complete Games (16), Starts (6), Innings (5). He was honored with a place on the franchise Wall of Fame while another Phillies team was in the midst of a pennant-winning campaign in 1993.
With the loss of Simmons, all of the 1950 Whiz Kids are now gone. That group included Wall of Famers Granny Hamner, who died in 1993, Richie Ashburn, who passed in 1997, and Robin Roberts who left us in 2010. Fellow pitcher Bob Miller passed away in late November of 2020 at age 94.
Curt Simmons had been the seventh-oldest living former Phillies player. There are now 16 former Phillies players age 90 and above. Here is a snapshot on the five current oldest on that list.
Bobby Shantz (97/Sep 26) – the oldest living former Phillies player only appeared with the club for the last 14 games during his 16th and final big-league season in 1964. He was used out of the bullpen by manager Gene Mauch in all of his appearances during that fateful stretch drive. The southpaw was a two-time American League All-Star early in his career with Connie Mack‘s Philadelphia Athletics from 1949-54, winning the 1952 AL Most Valuable Player honors, then moved with the A’s to Kansas City for 1955-56. With the New York Yankees from 1957-60 he won four straight AL Gold Gloves. He would win four more Gold Gloves in the National League, including for that final 1964 season.
Bobby Morgan (96/Jun 29) – he began his career playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 and again 1952-53. In those second two seasons he would make the only World Series appearances of his eight-year big-league career. Morgan was dealt to the Phillies late in spring training prior to the 1954 campaign. He was the club’s starting shortstop in 1955, split the 1956 season appearing regularly and almost equally at shortstop and second base, and then was a reserve infielder his final two seasons here. He was dealt to the Saint Louis Cardinals in May 1956, then sent back to the Phils in November 1956 along with outfielder Rip Repulski for Del Ennis. His contract was purchased by the Cubs in May 1957 and he became their starting second baseman. After playing one final big-league game with Chicago in 1958, Morgan’s contract was bought by the Kansas City Athletics. But he never appeared with KC and his big-league career was over.
Tommy Brown (95/Dec 6) – the Brooklyn native began his career playing with his hometown Dodgers 1944-45 and again 1947-51. He was a reserve outfielder with the Dodgers team that lost the NL pennant to the Whiz Kids on the final day of the 1950 season. In June 1951 he was traded to the Phillies for outfielder Dick Whitman. Brown saw action as a reserve with the Phillies during 1951 in left field and at second base. He would be purchased by the Chicago Cubs in June 1952 and appeared with the Cubs mostly as their backup shortstop in both 1952 and 1953.
Bob Oldis (94/Jan 28) – the Phillies backup catcher during his final two of seven big-league seasons in 1962-63, Oldis slammed his lone career home run over 262 career plate appearances on August 9 of 1962. It came in the top of the 6th inning off Pete Richert during an 8-3 loss to the hosts at Dodger Stadium. Oldis was a 1960 World Series champion, appearing in two games with the victorious Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mickey Micelotta (94/Oct 20) – he appeared in his only two big-league seasons with 17 total games for the Phillies over 1954-55. Micelotta had played three seasons in the club’s minor league system before serving in the Korean War during 1951-52. Always considered a strong fielding shortstop, he could never hit enough to stay. In fact, Micelotta went 0-9 with one walk and two runs scored during his only at-bats with the Phils.
Others age 90+: Bob Ross (94/Nov 2), Frank Thomas (93/Jun 11), Don Ferrarese (93/June 19), Ray Herbert (92/Dec 15), Roger Craig (92/Feb 17), Dick Hall (92/Sep 27), Dick Groat (92/Nov 4), Joe Morgan (92/Nov 19), Ray Semproch (91/Jan 7), Bobby Malkmus (91/July 4), Chuck Essegian (91/Aug 9)
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