Part of the reason it is not a fair comparison to some of the older catchers could be seen in an example of Hall of Famer Ray Schalk. Schalk was one of the "clean" players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox and was a very good catcher. He made the Hall of Fame, but as a catcher in the dead ball era. He finished with just a .253 career average and just 11 HR and 594 RBI and 1345 hits. Many of the previously mentioned catchers had similar stats to Schalk; some with better numbers and some finished with a little less.
Two of the better hitting catchers of the 1930s and 1940s were Ernie Lombardi and Gabby Hartnett. Lombardi, who spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, played 17 seasons and finished at .306, 190, 990, 1792. Compared to Simmons, Lombardi only had a higher batting average. Hartnett, who played for the Cubs for a majority of the 1920s and 1930s, played 20 years in the majors. His final line was .297, 236, 1179, 1912. Like Lombardi, Hartnett had just a higher career average than Simmons.
A similar statement could be made about Mickey Cochrane, who finished at .320, 119, 832, 1652 and Yankees catcher Bill Dickey, who retired at .313, 202, 1209, 1969. Pitching was not at his best at the time the previous four played, so good hitters would hit for a higher average. It is, however, part of the reason Cochrane and Dickey, as well as Lombardi and Hartnett, are in the Hall of Fame.
Roy Campanella had his career cut short after being involved in a terrible accident. While Campy's .276 average was less than Simmons, he also had 242 career HRs, 6 less than the former Cardinals and Brewers catcher. His 856 RBI and 1161 hits do him no justice as he was held to just 10 MLB seasons. He easily would have had more HRs than Simmons, with a good chance to surpass him in both RBI and hits.
Johnny Bench, Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk all finished with more career HRs than Simmons. Bench, who played 17 seasons hit 389 HRs for his career, but his .267 average, and 2048 hits were much less than Simmons. Bench finished with 1376 career RBIs, 12 less than Simmons. Carter had 324 career HRs, but hit .262 with 1225 RBI and 2092 hits. Fisk had 376 HRs and finished with 1330 RBI and 2356 hits (58 less RBI and 116 less hits). Fisk has the second most career hits among catchers right behind Simmons.
The catcher who clearly has Ted Simmons beat is former Yankees great Yog Berra. While Simmons had the advantage in hits: 2472-2150, Berra had the same .285 batting average and more HRs: 358-248 and RBI:1430-1389. If you put Simmons in the same mix as the before mentioned ten Hall of Famers, he rank 2nd in MLB seasons (behind Fisk), tied for 5th in batting average (trailing the old time catchers Lombardi, Hartnett, Dickey and Cochrane), 5th in HR (behind Bench, Fisk, Berra and Carter), but 2nd in RBI to Berra and he has the most hits among the group.
Should Ted Simmons be considered for the Hall of Fame? He only played on one postseason team (1982 Brewers) and was traded from the Cardinals after Whitey Herzog took over as manager and GM. He was a seven time All Star, and managed to play in 150+ games from 1972-1978. On his first year of HOF eligibility, he received only 3.7% of the vote. He does deserve some consideration from the Veterans Committee, and joins my list of players who I would like to see in the Hall of Fame. The list now includes Simmons, and currently has Alan Trammell, Gil Hodges and Al Oliver.