Saturday, May 2, 2015

Steady Eddie Collins gasoline alley antiques)

Eddie Collins was born on May 2, 1887 at Millerton, New York adjacent to Connecticut's Litchfield County.  He reached the majors in 1906 for a few games with the Philadelphia Athletics, becoming their regular second baseman in 1908 at the age of 21, a position he retained until traded to the Chicago White Sox after the 1914 season.  He remained with the White Sox through the 1926 season when he returned to the Athletics for his final four years (in the last three appearing in only 48 games).

Collins was one of the greatest second basemen in baseball history.  He had over 3,000 hits, a batting average of .333 and on-base percentage of .424 (still the 12th highest figure ever) along with stealing 741 bases (being #2 in this category as of the time of retirement).  As of the start of the 2015 season he is 10th in career Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  He was also an excellent defensive player and had a reputation as one of the smartest players in the game. hardball times)

Eddie was also a winner.  In the ten years from 1910 through 1919 he played in six World Series, hitting .328.  More importantly, he was one of the White Sox players who did not take money to throw the 1919 series.

But what recently caught THC's eye was Eddie Collins' consistency over this career.  He played at a top level of performance for eighteen seasons (1909-26).  Some of this is an artifact of the times as his career spans the transition between the deadball (1903-19) and liveball eras (1920 on) so he did not suffer the type of statistical decline that you would expect in the early 1920s as he got older.  On the other hand, he still remained among the top performers even on a relative basis.

From 1909-26 (figures in parens are number of seasons):

WAR Position Players:  Top Ten (15), Top Five (10)

Batting Avg: Top Ten (15), Top 5 (10); batted between .344 and .349 in seven seasons.

On-Base %: Top Ten (18), Top Five (13); OBP between .441 and .461 in eight seasons

Adjusted On-Base + Slugging %: Top Ten (13), Top Five (9)

Walks: Top Ten (14), Top Five (11)

Stolen Bases: Top Ten (17), Top Five (13)

Singles:  Top Ten (15), Top Five (11)

Put Outs (2B): Top Five (17), 1st or 2nd (13)

Assists (2B): Top Five (17), 1st or 2nd (7)

Double Plays (2B): Top Five (17), 1st or 2nd (10)


  1. If by any chance you haven't read Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times, do so immediately! A beautiful and evocative book on this era of the game.

  2. I figured you had already read it, but I couldn't resist. Just a wonderful book.

  3. Like Wow Elektra Tig. Shazam Shazam Shazam.