Discovered by Connie Mack from the halls of Columbia University Eddie Collins began his 25 year playing career as Eddie T Sullivan on September 17, 1906 on the south side of Chicago for the grand old Philadelphia Athletic. It was a pseudonym created to protect his amateur status and hid his collegiate status. It was rather common at the time, and Collins was playing semi-pro baseball to supplement his income for the preceding two years.
After playing six games for the A’s in Chicago and St. Louis, and then returning to school for the fall semester, Columbia University’s Committee on Athletics found him out and declared Collins ineligible to play in his 1907 senior season. Not deterred, Collins was one of the first to use the position of an “undergraduate assistant coach,” to continue his collegiate career. That spring when the school year was over in 1908 he officially signed with the A’s and the baseball career of Eddie Collins began, it would continue until his death in 1951.
In the proceeding 43 years, Eddie Collins was a General Manager; field Manager; coach; Player-Manager; and player who participated in the best and worst that baseball offered in the first half of the 20th Century. He won six world series titles, won the MVP award, was part of the legendary $100,000 infield, hit over .340 eleven times, skilled base-stealer; witnessed the Black Sox scandal from the dugout, Elected to the Hall of Fame 1939 Class, joined the 3,000 hit club, and participated in the bogus tryout by Jackie Robinson at Fenway Park.
Known as perhaps the best second baseman in the history of the Baseball as noted by John McGraw and rated the number two second baseman by Bill James. His career was one of a quintessential American Leaguer: 13 seasons with the A’s, 12 with the White Sox, and 18 years in the front office of the Red Sox. Collins baseball skills were evident at the beginning of his career. In 1907 a letter to the editor in written on May 20, 1907 in Sporting Life predicts Bill James’s conclusion:
… Connie Mack picked up a rare gem, when he signed Eddie Collins, a student at Columbia College. “ The letter continued that Collins
“is one of the greatest ball players in the business.”
On this day in the 1910 World Series Eddie Collins in his second full year in the Majors had begun to cement his career by going 3 for 5 with two doubles and leading the A’s to their first of six world series. In the 1910 World Series, Collins hit .429 going 9 for 21 with 4 doubles 5 runs scored, two walks, and 4 stolen bases. In the six World Series he played in he hit .328 going 42 for 128, with14 stolen bases.
In the first inning he singled in the first run for the Athletics. In the eighth he doubled and knocked in another run, stole second and was thrown out at the plate. It was in the eighth inning that the A’s scored 5 runs that put the game away. The box score from the clinching game of the 1910 World Series shows that there was no goat or any other kabob platter in the Cubs line up, just a superior A’s team lead by Hall of Famer, Eddie Collins.
Overall, Collins played in 2,826 games, had 3,315 hits, a dead ball era 47 home runs, hit .333, 741 stolen bases, a MLB best 512 Sacrifices, a .424 OBP an 142 OPS+ and 124 WAR. As a fielder he was superior, being first in career assists, second in career put outs, and had baseball’s best fielding percentage from 1912 to 1919.
Francis Richter writing in the Philadelphia-based Sporting Life of 1910 boasted,
The World’s Championship Series of 1910 has given to the base ball world a new champion team of surprising power and skill in the Athletic team, of Philadelphia.
The Athletics outranked the Cubs in every department of the game, batting, fielding and pitching, and on the offensive wide of the game they made such an imposing display of power as to set a new batting record for modern World’s Series and to leave absolutely no doubt that as a team, or individually, they are not only superior to their defeated opponents, but that but that they are by long odds the greatest base ball team in the world today. The Chicago team made a hopeless battle against overwhelming odds, and in its defeat is accentuated the sad, but inexorable, rule that all things human must yield to the inroads of Father Time and that “youth must be served.”
Volume 56, Number 9, November 9, 1910
Volume 56, Number 8, October 29, 1910
Baseball Hall of Fame: http://baseballhall.org/hof/Collins-Eddie
SABR BioProject by Paul Mittermeyer, http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/c480756d