Luckily for Eddie Collins, stealing in baseball is not a crime.
If it were, he would be the fourth one in line to stand trial behind Rickey
Henderson, Ty Cobb and Lou Brock, the only three thieves that have stolen
more bases than Collins. Long before the "Black Sox" scandal
of 1919 surfaced, Eddie "Cocky" Collins lit up the ERAs of opposing
pitchers. He played his first full season in 1909 with the Philadelphia
Athletics and scorched opponents with a .346 average and 67 stolen bases.
In 1910, Collins hit for a team-leading .422 average as the Athletics
won the World Series.
When Collins signed with the Chicago White Sox, he had already played
in four World Series, won three of them, and been named American League
Most Valuable Player in 1914. In 1917, the "Cocky" second baseman
hit an astounding .409 in the Chicagos World Series victory over
the New York Giants. Collins returned to his sixth World Series in 1919,
but later found out eight of his White Sox teammates were paid off to
throw the series. He did not let the incident bring him down as he hit
his career best of .369 the following season. Between his playing days
with the White Sox and his final span with the Athletics from 1927-1930,
Collins had a brief managing stint with Chicago.
Eddie Collins retired after the 1930 season, ranking eighth in career
hits and fourth in lifetime steals. Unlike some of his "Black Sox"
teammates, Collins was rewarded with his induction to baseballs
of Fame in 1939.