White Sox: The Mount Rushmore of second basemen
By Phil Watson
We complete the infield of our Mount Rushmore series with the four second basemen from the history of the Chicago White Sox that would be placed on such a monument.
There are two Hall of Famers at the position, making for two easy choices. The remainder of the field either were deficient defensively, offensively or — in some cases — both.
A total of 11 White Sox players met the qualifying standards of 1,500 plate appearances with half of their games with the team at second base. One of those players, Yoan Moncada, will likely be off the list by this time next year, as he has settled in at third base for the present-day White Sox.
The 11 qualifiers include:
- Gordon Beckham (2009-14, 2015)
- Eddie Collins (1915-26)
- Ray Durham (1995-2002)
- Scott Fletcher (1983-85, 1989-91)
- Nellie Fox (1950-63)
- Jackie Hayes (1932-40)
- Tadahito Iguchi (2005-07)
- Don Kolloway (1940-43, 1946-49)
- Yoan Moncada (2017-20)
- Jorge Orta (1972-79)
- Yolmer Sanchez (2014-20)
Mount Rushmore of White Sox second basemen: Eddie Collins
Eddie Collins was already a star and a three-time World Series champion before he came to the Chicago White Sox in December 1914. Collins was the reigning American League MVP when the Philadelphia Athletics gave him up to the White Sox for $50,000.
He was worth the investment. Collins spent 12 years in Chicago, helping the club to the 1917 World Series title, hitting .409 and stealing three bases in a six-game victory over the New York Giants.
Collins led the American League in stolen bases twice with the White Sox, in 1923 and 1924 — when he was 36 and 37 years old. His first season on the South Side, he drew a major-league high 119 walks.
The White Sox released Collins in November 1926 and he returned to the Athletics, signing as a free agent a month later. He played another four seasons in Philadelphia, setting a 20th-century record by appearing in 25 seasons.
Collins hit .331 with an .849 OPS in 1,670 games and 7,415 plate appearances with Chicago, with 266 doubles, 102 triples and 31 home runs, while scoring 1,065 runs and driving in 803. He also stole 368 bases while walking 965 times to just 205 strikeouts.
Collins finished second in the AL MVP voting in both 1923 and 1924 and was fifth in 1922. While he never led the American League in the category, Collins is baseball’s all-time leader in sacrifice hits with 512.
He was also a player-manager for the White Sox, running the club for 27 games in 1924 and taking the job full-time in 1925-26. His teams were 174-160, but never finished higher than fifth.
After retiring as a player, Collins coached for the Athletics in 1931-32 before joining the front office of the Boston Red Sox in 1933, serving as general manager until 1947 and remaining with the club as a vice president.
In 1939, Collins was one of 10 inducted as part of the inaugural class at the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was among two of that group elected in 1939, along with George Sisler. Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth were the first selected in 1936, followed by Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, Connie Mack and Cy Young in 1937 and Grover Alexander in 1938.
A cerebral hemorrhage in August 1950 left Collins partially paralyzed and with impaired vision. He died in March 1951 at the age of 63.