Monday, August 15, 2011
#395) DOUG SIMONS
Doug Simons was selected from the Minnesota Twins organization by the New York Mets on December 3, 1990. The Rule V selection made his major-league debut on April 9, 1991 at Shea Stadium. Doug came out of the bullpen, and was awarded the win as the Mets rallied to a 2-1 extra-inning victory. Simons came into the game in the bottom of the ninth, and kept the Philadelphia Phillies scoreless in his two frames of work. The Mets did their job with a solo-home run by Rick Cerone to tie the game, and a walk-off blast from Hubie Brooks to win it.
"You'd look at him on the mound and ask how the heck he was doing it," Mets manager, Bud Harrelson said of the 160-pound reliever. "He's interesting."
The southpaw earned a spot on the roster as the club's left-handed specialist. "It was just last year in Orlando when I started learning how to be aggressive," Simons said. "Before that I was 'crafty' and all those other words they use to describe someone who pitched tentatively. That was me. I pitched scared. It was always successful for me, but last year I decided I didn't want to be that way anymore. Today when I stand on the mound, I think I'm the boss. I'm aggressive. I pitch aggressive. I'm not afraid to throw a cutter inside on a guy's hands. And I like pitching a lot more like this."
At a diminutive 5 ft.-11 inches his biggest struggle might have been literally entering the major-league ballparks on the road. His youthful appearance forced many security guards to deny him access into the player's areas on more than one occasion. "Happens all the time," Doug said. "Philadelphia was bad. San Diego was really bad. They won't let me in." Simons devised a solution that involved taking his O-Pee-Chee baseball card from his wallet to verify his identity. A trick that seemed to work. "I told him to just keep his damn uniform on all the time," Harrelson said. "Sleep in it and wear it back to the park. Maybe they'd let him in then."
Simons remained with the Mets for the entire season. He appeared in 42 games for New York. The final of which was in the role of a starting pitcher on September 30, 1991. Doug surrendered six earned runs in just two innings of work to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The performance hurt his statistics for the year, which ended with a 2-3 record, and 5.19 ERA.
The Mets dealt Doug to the Montreal Expos in exchange for Rob Katzaroff on April 2, 1992.
After his playing career ended in 1997, Simons became a pitching coach in the Mets organization for four seasons. He followed that with a four year stint as a full-time area scout for the Texas Rangers club. Covenant College chose Doug to restart their intercollegiate baseball program, and named him the head coach in 2005. "We are a Christ-centered program," explained Simons. "We want to give the young men in our program the opportunity to grow in Christ, get a great education and develop into players who could play at the next level."
Doug Simons signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to Covenant College on January 27, 2009.