Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Negro League baseball history fact for today - Bill Simms

Born on December 23, 1908 in Shreveport, Louisiana, Willie “Bill” Simms played Negro League baseball for eight years (1936 – 1943).  In five of them he wore the uniform of the Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most acclaimed franchises in the history of black baseball.  Simms was on three pennant winning Kansas City Monarch teams.
At 6’0” and 170 pounds, Simms was an above average lead-off hitter.  He was good at bunting and hitting behind the runner on hit-and-run plays.  But, he had no home run power.  A speedy outfielder that covered a lot of ground, he also had a strong throwing arm.

Simms spent the first two years of his Negro League career with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1936 and 1937.  The Monarchs won the first Negro American League (NAL) pennant in 1937.   He played the next three seasons (1938 – 1940) for the Chicago American Giants, the Monarchs’ main NAL rival.

But Simms returned to Kansas City after the 1940 season to be on two more Monarch NAL pennant winners in 1941 and 1942.  The 1942 Monarchs won the first Negro League World Series held since 1927 defeating the Negro National League (NNL) pennant winning Homestead Grays four games to none.

He retired from baseball after the 1943 season.

Which 1942 Kansas City Monarch teammates of Willie “Bill” Simms are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame?

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