Year Inducted: 1946 (Veterans Committee)
It feels like this study has crossed a threshold. While the choices popping up are definitely low-level Hall of Famers, they are unquestionably important to the history of the game and deserving of induction. That also means that these entries become tougher because no one wants to read or write about players that are just OK selections for the Hall of Fame. SABR Bios states about today’s player, Jimmy Collins, as following:
“Jimmy Collins was an outstanding fielder and above-average hitter during his 14-year major-league career in the Deadball Era.”
There isn’t much to add to that, but let’s see what else he has to offer.
As his bio mentions, he was an above-average hitter in his career, with a slash line of .293/.343/.409 and a wRC+ of 111. He collected 65 home runs (which was more than the first player covered on this blog), along with 352 doubles and 116 triples. His modest overall power (though certainly solid in his time) helped him drive in nearly 1000 runs and score well over 1000. Unlike a lot of great defenders covered so far, it’s good to find one that was also a decent hitter.
Defense is what made Collins famous. Fangraphs has him worth over 170 runs defensively, and it isn’t hard to see why. While manning the hot corner, he turned over 200 double plays, made over 2300 putouts and gained over 3000 assists. Collins is credited with being one of the first players at third base to position themselves further up the line to field a bunt, and was adept at bare-handing the ball for the throw.
Collins was not without his faults, both on and off the field. He wasn’t a great base runner, costing his team 13 runs on the bases during his career. Off the field, he constantly clashed with his teams’ front offices, especially in talks of contracts and managing. He got a fair number of chances at being a manager, but never panned out as a great one.
Collins’ value to the game as a pioneer at third base, as well as being one of the better all-around players of his day, make him a solid pick for the Hall of Fame.
Stay tuned for the next update.
On deck 8/20/16- Another pitcher for the 1919 Black Sox, and the last man to use a spitball in the American League besides Burleigh Grimes.