Eddie Trowbridge Collins Sr. (1887-1951) was one of only a handful of Ivy League educated players in the Majors during his 25-year playing career, sparking resentment around the league among the less-learned men and even his teammates despite his tremendous success on the diamond. Eddie graduated from Columbia University, where he starred for the Lions’ baseball squad, but also quarterbacked the football team even though he only stood 5’9” tall. Collins skills were well known and he carried an air of self-confidence due to his abilities that may have gotten him barred from playing for Columbia during his senior season. In the collegiate baseball off-season, Eddie played semi-pro baseball for Plattsburgh, Rutland and Rockville under the assumed name Eddie T. Sullivan, at the advice of Philadelphia Athletics owner/manager Connie Mack. Unfortunately, when he returned to complete his studies and play for the Lions, he was deemed ineligible because of his affiliations with professional clubs and the fact that he accepted money for playing. He did, however, serve as coach. Eddie signed with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1906 debuting that same year in six games followed by 14 games in 1907. By 1908, having played five positions during his first two forays in the Majors, Collins nestled in at second base for the A’s and remained there for the majority of his 25-year career. Eddie Collins was one of the early students of the game who studied pitchers’ habits, like where and how they held the ball, where and what they were looking at and certain idiosyncratic movements the pitcher might make before, during and after his windup. Using this knowledge, he became the game’s premier base stealer, leading the American League four times in that category.
Nicknamed “Cocky”, Eddie was one of the best fielding second basemen that game had yet seen as he led all AL second baggers in fielding percentage nine times, putouts seven times, double plays five times and assists four times. He was unable to capture the American League batting title, given that he played during the same era as Ty Cobb with Cobb winning the crown 12 times and Collins finishing second three times and in the top ten 15 times. Eddie Collins was a centerpiece of the Athletics $100,000 infield, that also included Frank “Home Run” Baker (3B), Stuffy McInnis (1B) and Jack Barry (SS), and helped win four American League pennants and three World Series titles (1910, 1911, 1913) between 1910-1914. In 1914, Collins was crowned the American League’s Most Valuable Player after leading the league in runs scored (122), collected 181 hits drove in 85 RBI and stole 58 bases while posting a .970 fielding percentage. Despite his exceptional play at second, Connie Mack, in an effort to save his sinking franchise, sold Collins to the Chicago White Sox for $50,000.
He played in Philadelphia for nine seasons (1906-1914) and then the Chicago White Sox for 12 more (1915-1926). He helped lead the White Sox to the 1917 World Series title as he batted .409 with two RBI and three stolen bases. The team won a franchise record (at the time) 100 games, but virtually despised one another and more importantly owner, Charles Comiskey. Collins was then a member of the infamous “Black Sox” team who were charged with throwing the 1919 World Series, though he was deemed to be one of the nine players to have performed “honestly.” A handful of disgruntled players conspired with local gamblers to undermine the Fall Classic, throwing the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Collins admitted hearing rumblings that a “fix was in”, but he refused to believe it and after eight of his teammates were reprimanded, he was exonerated. Eddie later stated that the dissention in the clubhouse was palpable and “in 1919 we were a club that pulled apart rather than together” … despite being “the greatest collection of players ever assembled.” After serving as player manager from 1924-1926, Collins was dismissed and he resigned with Philadelphia for three more seasons (1928-1930). Eddie Collins finished his career with a .333 batting average, 3,315 hits, 1,821 runs scored, 1,300 RBI and 741 stolen bases. He also holds the Major League record with 512 career sacrifice hits. When his playing days were over, Eddie joined the Boston Red Sox as the Vice President and General Manager from 1933 to 1947. He embarked on one scouting trip to California during his tenure as GM and returned with two potential prospects in Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams. Edward Trowbridge Collins Sr. was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
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|Date||Price||Grade||Lot #||Auction House||Auction/Seller||Type||Cert|
|04/06/2018||$100||1 (MK)||152013430106||eBay||enigma1132137||Buy It Now||40441281|