James Joseph Collins
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7½", Weight 178 lb.
- High School St. Joseph's College (Buffalo)
- Debut April 19, 1895
- Final Game August 29, 1908
- Born January 16, 1870 in Niagara Falls, NY USA
- Died March 6, 1943 in Buffalo, NY USA
“The two best third basemen I ever saw, defensively, until Ossie Bluege came along, were Collins and Bill Bradley... Collins... was a shade the better." - Clark Griffith, quoted at Jimmy Collins' Hall of Fame page
As a rookie in 1895, Collins reached the majors as a right fielder with the Beaneaters before being loaned to the Louisville Colonels for the remainder of the season. Upon his return, he quickly became the regular for Boston at the hot corner. The team won the pennant in 1897, conveniently when Jimmy broke out with a .346/.400/.482 batting line, 103 runs scored and 132 RBI. They repeated in 1898, when Collins hit .328/.377/.439 with a National League-high 15 homers paired with 107 runs scored and 111 RBI.
Considered the best third baseman as the century turned, Collins was one of the star players who defected from the National League to join the Boston Americans of the American League as player/manager in 1901. While he was not quite the star that Nap Lajoie and Cy Young were, his defection was still significant and helped to lend credibility to the new league. In his first year, he hit .332/.375/.495 with a career best 108 runs scored as his team finished second. Two years later, in 1903, he led them to a pennant and triumph in the first World Series, batting .250 with 5 runs scored in victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. They repeated as AL champs in 1904, but no Series was held that year, as the New York Giants refused to play the champions of what they considered an "upstart" league. After a slow start in 1906, Collins was replaced as Boston skipper by Chick Stahl, and the next season he was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics, with whom he ended his career.
Collins was regarded as the finest defensive third baseman of his day, and is widely credited with creating something resembling the modern style of third base defense. He is specifically credited with having developed the barehanded pickup and off-balance throw to first base in defending bunts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1935, the first man to be honored for his work at third base. Additionally, he was an original member of the Boston Red Sox team Hall of Fame.
Following his playing days, Collins spent three seasons as a minor league manager before leaving the baseball world. He wisely invested his savings in real estate and lived off that until they were wiped out during the Depression of the 1930s. After that, he worked in the Parks Department of his hometown of Buffalo. Dying in 1943, his wake is recounted in the Dropkick Murphys 2013 song, "Jimmy Collins' Wake".
- NL At Bats Leader (1900)
- NL Total Bases Leader (1898)
- NL Home Runs Leader (1898)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1897 & 1898)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1897, 1898, 1900 & 1901)
- Won a World Series with the Boston Americans in 1903
- AL Pennants: 2 (1903 & 1904)
- Managed one World Series Champion with the Boston Americans in 1903
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1945
|Boston Americans Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1901||Boston Americans||American League||79-57||2nd||Boston Americans|
|1902||Boston Americans||American League||77-60||3rd||Boston Americans|
|1903||Boston Americans||American League||91-47||1st||Boston Americans||World Series Champs|
|1904||Boston Americans||American League||95-59||1st||Boston Americans||League Champs|
|1905||Boston Americans||American League||78-74||4th||Boston Americans|
|1906||Boston Americans||American League||35-79||--||Boston Americans||replaced by Chick Stahl on August 27|
|1909||Minneapolis Millers||American Association||88-79||3rd||none|
|1910||Providence Grays||Eastern League||61-92||8th||none|
|1911||Providence Grays||Eastern League||15-29||--||none||replaced by Jake Atz|
- Charlie Bevis: Jimmy Collins: A Baseball Biography, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7864-6359-6
- Charlie Bevis: "Jimmy Collins", in Bill Nowlin, Maurice Bouchard and Len Levin, eds.: New Century, New Team: The 1901 Boston Americans, Society for American Baseball Research, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 49-57. ISBN 978-1-933599-58-8
- David L. Fleitz: "Jimmy Collins", in More Ghosts in the Gallery: Another Sixteen Little-Known Greats at Cooperstown, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2007, pp. 18-32. ISBN 978-0-7864-3133-5
- Marty Friedrich: The Iron Men of Baseball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006, pp. 72-75.
- Stanton Hamlet: "James Joseph Collins", in David Jones, ed.: Deadball Stars of the American League, SABR, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2006, pp. 403-405.