Teams: Philadelphia Athletics, 1906-1914, 1927-1930; Chicago White Sox, 1915-1926
Manager: Chicago White Sox 1924-1926
Managerial record: 174-160
John McGraw once said that Eddie Collins was the best ballplayer he'd ever seen. Connie Mack (who managed both Collins and Nap Lajoie) called Collins the best second baseman he ever saw. Those are strong endorsements coming from two men who saw a lot of baseball. Collins played in 25 seasons, turning in one outstanding season after another for nearly 20 years, and is arguably the greatest second baseman in history.
Eddie Collins won three World Series
with the A's, but never forgave
his White Sox teammates
for the one they threw.
Eddie teamed with Jack Barry at shortstop, Stuffy McInnis at first, and Frank Baker at third to form the famous "$100,000 Infield." In Collins's first World Series, in 1910, he hit .429 and set four hitting records, after a regular season that included a then-record 81 stolen bases. In all, he won three championships with the A's.
When the Athletics were broken up and sold off after the devastating salary raids of the upstart Federal League, Collins fetched the highest price paid for a player until Babe Ruth went to the Yankees. The White Sox paid $50,000 for "Cocky" after his 1914 MVP season. He led the Sox to a World Series triumph in 1917.
One of the clean players on the 1919 Black Sox, Eddie never forgave the eight players who sold out. The 1919 World Series was Eddie's last, but he left behind a stack of World Series records.
Collins hit for average and not power, but he played in an era when power was not as much a part of the game as now. He finished with a .333 lifetime batting average and a .406 career on-base average. He hit over .340 10 times and almost never struck out.
Collins owns many fielding records for second basemen, including most assists and total chances. Few have been able to match Eddie's abilities and longevity. His skill at adapting his aggressive style of play to the changing style of baseball may have been his greatest asset.
Collins was named player-manager of the White Sox in 1924 but never finished higher than fifth in his two years at the helm. He returned to Philadelphia in 1927 but played less and less until he retired from playing in 1930.
After retiring, Collins persuaded longtime friend Tom Yawkey to buy the BoSox. As the Red Sox general manager, Collins signed Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr during one trip. Eddie was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1939.
Here are Eddie Collins' major league totals:
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