Two more graduates of the Little League® program will be immortalized in bronze this summer as Derek Jeter and Ted Simmons have been announced among the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Mr. Jeter will join Larry Walker as this year’s Baseball Writers’ Association of America inductees, while Mr. Simmons joins Marvin Miller as the 2020 inductees by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.
Including the two members of this year’s class, there have been a total of 33 Little League graduates to go on to become National Baseball Hall of Famers. Of those 33, seven graduates have also been enshrined into the Little League Hall of Excellence, the highest honor that Little League can bestow.
Following a solid Little League career in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mr. Jeter went on to an illustrious career with the New York Yankees. Named the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year after hitting .314, scoring 104 runs, and helping Yankees win their first World Series title in 18 seasons, Mr. Jeter continued his success in pinstripes. During his time as a Yankee, Mr. Jeter was named a 14-time All-Star, the 2000 All-Star Game MVP, earned five Gold Glove Awards, and holds the record for most Postseason series appearances with 33 in 16 seasons, helping the Yankees to five World Series titles while earning the World Series MVP honors in 2000. Throughout his career, the Jeter family has always been an importance piece of the Little League program as Mr. Jeter’s parents, Charles and Dorthy Jeter, were named the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award in 1999.
A graduate of Southfield (Mich.) Little League, Mr. Simmons went on to an illustrious major league career where played 21 seasons with the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves from 1968-88. The switch-hitting catcher compiled a .285 batting average, 2,472 hits, 483 doubles, 248 home runs and 1,389 RBI throughout his time as a major leaguer. During the course of his career, he received seven MVP votes and finished among his league’s top 10 players in batting average six times. Mr. Simmons’ 193 hits in 1975 are the most of any catcher who caught at least 150 games in a season, and his 192 hits in 1973 rank second on that same list. Among those who played at least 50 percent of their games at catcher, Mr. Simmons ranks second in hits, second in doubles, second in RBI and fifth in runs scored.
Since the first Little League game was played in 1939, more than 40 million children have expanded on the life lessons learned on the Little League field to become accomplished citizens throughout the world, including public officials, professional athletes, award-winning artists, and a variety of other influential members of society. To learn more about some of Little League’s most notable alumni, visit LittleLeague.org/Alumni.