Class: 2022 | Category: Athlete | Alma Mater: Peters Township, 1992 | Sports: Baseball, Golf, Football, Basketball
Baseball was the sport that made Simmons a college standout and professional athlete, but at Peters Township, his high school days included way more than one sport. The 1992 graduate earned 10 varsity letters at Peters Township in baseball, golf, basketball, and football. He was a team captain for three of the four sports. As a high school senior, the Baltimore Orioles selected the 6-foot-2 outfielder in the 35th round of the 1992 MLB Draft. Simmons didn’t sign and instead played baseball on scholarship for the University of Michigan. Three years later, after hitting 20 home runs at Michigan, the Chicago White Sox chose Simmons in the second round of the 1995 MLB Draft. He was drafted 55th overall, a couple of spots away from fellow WPIAL star Sean Casey. In Simmons’ first season with Michigan, Simmons had earned honorable mention honors on the 1993 Mizuno Freshman All-American Team. A year later, he was named to the Big Ten Tournament Team when Michigan reached the conference finals. As a junior, Simmons earned second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America status in 1995. He twice was named to the Big Ten All-Academic Team (1994, 1995). At the time, Simmons’ 20 career home runs ranked him ninth in Wolverines’ history. He also had 12 career triples, which ranked fourth. Simmons hit 13 home runs as a junior in the spring before he was drafted. As a professional, Simmons played 882 games over 10 years, including 119 in the majors. Simmons made his major league debut in 1998 with the White Sox and played 59 games over two years. On Sept. 26, 1998, he hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a game at Kansas City. The homers came in his fourth MLB game, setting a record for fastest to achieve the feat. After missing the 2000 season to injury, he returned to the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001. He ended his career after playing the 2004 season for the Minnesota Twins’ Triple-A affiliate. At Peters Township, Simmons once led his basketball team to the WPIAL playoffs, qualified for the WPIAL individual golf championship, and earned all-section baseball honors all in the same school year. He was chosen as The (South Hills) Almanac Male Athlete of the Year in 1991-92.