Tharon Leslie Collins
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 178 lb.
- Debut August 29, 1919
- Final Game May 23, 1929
- Born September 13, 1896 in Sweet Springs, MO USA
- Died May 20, 1960 in Kansas City, KS USA
He first reached the major leagues with the St. Louis Browns in 1929 and played with them until 1924, hitting .238 over the 6 seasons. He was never the regular, as the most games he played during that period was 85 in 1923, when he also had 181 at-bats. The increased playing time did not do him any good, as he hit a paltry .177 that season, after hitting .307 in 63 games in 1922. He then returned to hitting .315 in 1924, but in only 35 games. He was primarily the back-up to Hank Severeid during those years. In 1925, he was waived to the St. Paul Saints of the American Association and had a good season, hitting .316 in 132 games. The Yankees acquired him at the end of the season in a trade for Pee Wee Wanninger, although he did not make his debut for them until the following year.
Young Benny Bengough had won the Yankees' catching job in 1925, taking over for the aging Wally Schang, and Collins was acquired to be his back-up in 1926. However, Bengough was bothered by a sore arm, and Collins got the bulk of the playing time, getting into 102 games, during which he hit .286 with 7 homers and 35 RBI. He was there for his defense however, as the "Murderers Row" team had plentiful other sources of offense, but he began to develop a sore arm. With Bengough's health also in doubt, the Yankees went out and acquired the veteran Severeid from the Browns, and he ended up catching in the 1926 World Series. Severeid was released after the season, however, and in 1927, catching duties were shared among three players, Collins, Bengough and newly-acquired Johnny Grabowski. Collins played 92 games, hitting .275 with 7 homers and 36 RBI. He got to start Game 1 of the World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bengough got the assignment in Game 2, then Grabowski in Game 3, and Collins again in Game 4. The three catchers had been hitless in the first three games, but Collins came through with a three-hit performance in finale as the Yankees completed an emphatic sweep of the Bucs. The same trio was back in 1928, and Collins played 70 games (getting only 136 at-bats though) and hitting .221 with 6 homers. The Yankees repeated as pennant-winners, but Bengough started all four games of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Collins got to catch the final innings of Game 4, hitting a double in his only at-bat. It was his last game as a Yankee, though, as future Hall of Famer Bill Dickey came up in 1929, making him expendable. He was sold to the Boston Braves and finished his major league career by playing 7 games for the Braves in 1929.
- Cort Vitty: "Yankees Catchers During the Huggins Era", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 42, Number 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 106-110.