Eddie Collins was just a fantastic baseball player on so many levels. He was smooth in the field, he hit for average, stole bases at a feverish clip, including home plate a bunch of times. He was a superb leader, and one of the greatest post-season performers in the history of the game: his teams won four of the five World Series that they were trying to win (crooked teammates cost him a fifth title with the White Sox in 1919).
At his peak (1909-1915) he finished first, second, or third in WAR every ear, leading the league in 1913 and 1914. The latter year he earned the automobile as the league’s MVP from Chalmers. He hit .333 for his career but never won a batting title, thanks to Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. But he finished second in the batting race three times, and in the top five an amazing ten times. He was still a great base stealer in his late 30s – pilfering a league-best 48 in 1923 and leading the loop again the following season with 42.
After his career as a player, Collins continued to have influence in the game. As general manager of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 to 1947, he nurtured such players as Bobby Doerr, Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and many more. His prejudice toward African Americans is the blemish on his otherwise stellar credentials. He helped solidify the bias in the Boston organization against signing black players, and as a result, the Red Sox were the last team to integrate.