(Born January 16, 1870) -- Jimmy Collins is one of Buffalo’s favorite sons when it comes to baseball. His career in the game was a success on many levels.
Collins was born in what is now called Niagara Falls and raised in the area. After high school (St. Joe’s) he is said to have landed a job with a railroad, and he played a little baseball in his spare time. That led to a spot on the Buffalo Bisons in 1893, and he was good. After 1894, the Bisons sold his contract to Boston.
Collins became the starter there in 1895, and hit .346 two years later. In 1898 he led the National League with 15 home runs while playing a great third base. In fact, before he came along shortstops had to charge in on bunts, so it could be said that Collins revolutionized fielding play.
Collins jumped to the new Boston team in the American League in 1901, and continued to be a standout. He also managed the team, and made history when he guided Boston to a World Series title - the first ever - in 1903. Collins moved on to Philadelphia in 1907, and retired after the 1908 season.
Collins returned to Buffalo and worked for the Buffalo Parks Department. He died in 1943 and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna. He just missed his selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which came in 1945.
--- Budd Bailey