Eddie Collins Newsbeat
Thursday, March 05, 2015
Annnd, we’re back!
There is no satisfying way to compare ancient players from Deadball to the players today. For instance: There is an argument to be made, a strong one, that Eddie Collins was one of the ten best player in baseball history. If you treat the baseball of his time as equal to all other times, you almost have to rank him in that stratosphere. He ranks tenth In wins Above Replacement. He hit .333 with more than 3,000 hits, more than 700 stolen bases, more than 1,800 runs scored — only Ty Cobb has that combination…
How can you guess what Eddie Collins would be in 2015? He was a 5-foot-9, 175-pound competitor, a peerless bunter, a breathtaking base runner, a player with a brilliant baseball mind. Would that game play in 2015? Collins averaged — AVERAGED — more than 20 sacrifice hits per season over his 25-year career. Last year, no player had more than 13 sacrifice bunts. We don’t have complete information, but based on what we do know it seems Collins routinely would get thrown out 30 times a season attempting to steal. That obviously wouldn’t play these days. Collins seemed to get on base a lot with bunts … but even his admirers would say that he wasn’t breathtaking fast, he was just a great bunter. Would that work in 2015 against specialized defenses?
Then again he was just such a smart player — you have to believe he would adjust to modern times. Would have become a faster Dustin Pedroia? A Joe Morgan type? Your guess is probably as irrelevant as mine.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Grand Forks Daily Herald, January 7, 1915:
It is an open secret that Connie Mack felt compelled to rid the Athletics of Eddie Collins to restore some measure of harmony to the team. And it is generally understood that the discord which Connie seeks to alleviate was caused by Eddie Collins’ ill-advised newspaper articles, in which he disclosed team secrets, and thus, in the opinion of his fellow-players, put them under a handicap.
The authorities of the American league recognized the evil and sought to suppress it, but evidently Mr. Collins held himself above authority and proceeded with his labors as an author.
Looks like the team-instigated hatchet job is at least 100 years old today.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Milwaukee Sentinel, December 30, 1914:
A Federal league official stated on Tuesday that the reason the new organization did not persist in its efforts to sign Eddie Collins, formerly of the Athletics and now of the White Sox, was because his demands were so great that the officials were dumfounded.
To their great astonishment Collins demanded $80,000 for a three year contract. Not only that, but he wanted $20,000 in cash and demanded that the other $60,000 be deposited in the bank for him.
This demand, the Federal league officials state, breaks all records for nerve.
It was worth a shot, particularly if he didn’t really want to jump. All they could do was say no.
Anyway, if you adjust for inflation, Collins was asking for the equivalent of a three year contract worth a total of around $1.85M in 2014 dollars.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Tacoma Times, December 23, 1914:
Eddie Collins came near never being a member of the Chicago White Sox because his wife refused to believe that the biggest men in baseball wanted to see him.
“Hello,” said a voice [on the phone]. “This is President Johnson of the American league. I want to speak to Mr. Collins.”
“We’ve had practical jokers call us up before,” replied Mrs. Collins sweetly as she hung up the receiver.
Five minutes later the telephone rang again and a voice said: “This is President Comiskey of the Chicago White Sox. I would like to speak to Mr. Collins.”
“Your friend, Mr. Johnson, must have lost his voice and asked you to call,” responded Mrs. Collins and hung up again.
Another five minutes passed. Then Connie Mack called up. Mrs. Collins recognized his voice and almost fainted when he told her that both Johnson and Comiskey already had called.
Later that day, the Collins family received calls from Mike Rotch, Oliver Klozoff, I.P. Freely, and Jacques Strap.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Washington Herald, December 9, 1914:
White Sox Pay $50,000 for Eddie Collins
In his pocket [Charles Comiskey] bears a bill of sale for Eddie Collins, star second baseman of the Athletics, and he has left behind $50,000 in real money.
Comiskey has contracted to pay Collins $10,000 a year for five years, and it is reported that this is so much more than Mack actually was paying him…that Collins is tickled to death to think he is going to the White Sox.
According to the salary data at BB-Ref, Collins actually made $15,000 a year over the course of this contract. That’s more than twice his reported 1913 salary.
Also, I imagine Collins was happy to join the White Sox. The Athletics, having sold or waived virtually their entire roster over the past two months, were a sinking ship in December 1914.
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