On This Day in History | 2004

Simmons Oklahoma State
Simmons at OK State

On this day 14 years ago, Lyndsey Simmons ’00 became the second Bear to be drafted into professional baseball after being taken by the Montreal Expos in the 14th round as the 414th overall pick. Paul Ciofrone ’96 is the only other Bear to be drafted, taken by the New York Mets in the 1996 MLB Draft.

Simmons was a standout player for Oklahoma State, earning All-Big 12 honors in 2003, a year in which he batted .352, recorded 43 hits, drove in 25 RBIs, and connected on 7 extra base hits. He played outfield for the Cowboys, but moved to New York Tech in 2004 to learn the catching position ahead of the draft.

After the draft, Simmons notched 9 hits, 7 runs, 3 doubles, and 4 RBIs for the Gulf Coast League Expos while registering a .992 fielding percentage behind the plate and gunning down 11 base runners.

Here is a profile of Simmons from Tom Rock of Newsday one week after the draft.


Next Stop, Minors

The latest baseball player drafted out of NYIT won’t head to the professional ranks with the usual allotment of memories from the program. Lyndsey Simmons had no game-winning hits, no gems in the field, no towering home runs. In fact, he never even played for the Bears.

Simmons transferred to the Long Island program from Oklahoma State in January and red-shirted this spring while learning a new position: catcher. Last week he was selected in the 14th round by the Montreal Expos and he signed with the organization on Friday.

He will report to their Gulf Coast League franchise in Melbourne, FL, on Wednesday, but wherever he goes in professional baseball, he always will have “Drafted out of NYIT” on his resume even though he never wore the uniform.

“I came back [to Long Island] not expecting much, just to go play for New York Tech, and I just kind of got [seen by] the right people,” Simmons said. “I was upset about leaving Oklahoma State because I loved it there, but good things came out of it.”

Simmons, who is 6-0, 200 pounds, was the starting right fielder at Oklahoma State. A terrific athlete and a lefthanded contact hitter with speed, he was an All-Big 12 selection in 2003 as a junior but when he wasn’t drafted last June, he decided a position change was in order.

That opportunity was not going to present itself at Oklahoma State, which changed coaches after last season, so the Smithtown product came home and after thinking things over, he decided to attend NYIT.

He practiced with the team when it was home and took batting practice every day at the Long Island Baseball Academy in Smithtown. That’s where he caught the eye of Expos scout Larry Izzo. He went to a few “invitation only” workouts by Major League teams, and eventually had his name called in the draft, 414th overall.

NYIT coach Bob Hirschfield said he wasn’t surprised Simmons, 22, was drafted before he played for the Bears. “If you can prove you can catch and throw, you can get a job,” Hirschfield said. “It’s just a question of which organization drafts you. All you can ask for is an opportunity.” Simmons has that now as a catcher. He still has a lot to learn about the position, but it’s where he is happiest.

“That’s where I think I was born to play,” he said.

Just not at NYIT.




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