1915 Cracker Jack
Edward Trowbridge “Eddie” Collins Sr.
Born: May 2, 1887 - Millerton, NY
Died: March 25, 1951 - Boston, MA
Career BA: .333
Managerial Record: 174–160
Philadelphia Athletics AL (1906–1914, 1927–1930)
Chicago White Sox AL (1915–1923; player-manager: 1924–1926)
Boston Red Sox AL (general manager-vice president: 1933–1951)
There have been many great second baseman over the annals of baseball history; Jackie Robinson and Rogers Hornsby to name a few. When you take a hard look at the numbers, it becomes difficult not to name Eddie Collins as possibly the greatest of all time. He gets our vote, hands down, as the best second baseman in this group.
The pride of Millerton, New York, Eddie Collins’ contributions to the game were immense as a player, manager and general manager. As a player, his statistics and records are truly amazing. With a .333 lifetime batting average and 3,315 hits, Collins holds the MLB record for career games (2,650), assists (7,630), and total chances (14,591) at second base. He was also the first Major League ballplayer to steal 80 bases in a season. In 1914 he received the Chalmers Award as the American League’s Most Valuable Player. As part of the A’s famous $100,000 infield, Collins helped the Athletics to four pennants and three World Series Championships between 1910 and 1914.
Nicknamed “Cocky” because of his obvious self-confidence, the Columbia University grad was actually very superstitious. He always wore the same game socks during a winning streak, and needed someone to spit on his hat for luck before each game. Collins won the World Series with the White Sox in 1917 and joined the U.S. Navy late in the 1918 season to serve in World War I. One of the “clean” players during the Black Sox debacle, Collins continued on with Chicago serving as player-manager from 1924 through 1926. He then returned to the A’s, playing on the 1929 and 1930 World Series Champs teams.
Collins coached for the A’s in 1931 and 1932, before Tom Yawkey recruited him in 1933 as vice president and general manager of the Red Sox. He served as GM through 1947 and stayed on as vice president until his death in 1951. One of the original 13 players to be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939, Eddie is still in the top 10 in career games, walks, stolen bases, hits, on base percentage, and total bases. The greatest second baseman of all time? Maybe. If not, pretty darn close!
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html