The Debut of a Teen Phenom: Curt Simmons

From SABR member Joe Guzzardi at Baseball Past and Present on May 7:

On the last game of the 1947 season, in the second game of a double header against the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies gave the ball to a young left hander who would go on to be one of its best pitchers.
Curt Simmons, then barely 18, went all the way, striking out 9 and giving up only 5 hits in the Phillies 3-1 win. The Giants took the opener, 4-1.

Simmons had been a highly recruited high school prospect since he was 16. In the summer of 1945 Simmons pitched the Coplay American Legion team to the first of two consecutive Pennsylvania state junior crowns.

His mound mastery landed Simmons in an American Legion all-star game in Philadelphia’s Shibe Park where he struck out seven of the nine hitters he faced. Two years later, in Simmons’ senior year, he struck out 102 batters and gave up only 12 hits in 43-1⁄3 innings. Simmons threw two no-hitters, three one-hitters, and two four-hitters and led his Whitehall High School nine to a third straight Lehigh Valley title.

Scouts flocked to Simmons’ Egypt, PA. home with the hope of signing him the instant he graduated. Among them were the Phillies who sent their major league squad to Egypt to field a team against Simmons—the ultimate try out. In the Phillies’ line up were Del Ennis and Johnny Wyrostek—not superstars but big league regulars.

Read the full article here:

Further reading:

Check out “The Day the Phillies Went to Egypt” by C. Paul Rogers III in the Fall 2010 issue of the Baseball Research Journal.

Originally published: May 8, 2011. Last Updated: May 8, 2011.