#3: Eddie Collins
Eddie Collins is a name that appears at the top of nearly every historical countdown. He played for the Philadelphia A’s from 1906 to 1914, before returning as a player-coach from 1927 to 1930. When Collins joined the A’s in 1906, he was still a student a Columbia University. Back in the early 1900s, few major leaguers attended college of any kind, let alone went to an Ivy League school. He tried to start his major league career without disrupting his collegiate eligibility by playing under a fake last name, but the University took notice.
Collins, while rumored to have not always been beloved by his teammates due to his superior education, was certainly admired for his intelligence on the field. He had two six-steal games in the month of September 1912, setting a major league record. He was also a four-time stolen base leader who was in the league’s top-ten in batting average every season from 1909 to 1916, and again from 1920 to 1926.
With a .333 career batting average, Collins is ranked 27th all-time among hitters. His 123.9 career WAR is ranked 13th in history, after he was in the league’s top ten in WAR 10 times in his career.
In 1914, Collins took home AL MVP honors, after posting a .344/.452/.904 line for the A’s. It wasn’t even the best year of his career – just one of many great seasons in Collin’s 25 seasons with the A’s and Chicago White Sox.
After his return to the A’s in 1927, Collins coached more than he played, appearing in just 12 total plate appearances in his final two seasons. However, his legacy with the Athletics was firmly cemented in the first nine years of his career, when he helped them win three World Series titles in four seasons.
Next: Top 20 A's Hitters: #2