Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday School: History Lesson 44

Phil Collins (no, not the recording artist) was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1929-1935. Collins, a righty, appeared in one game for the Cubs at age 21 in 1923, and didn't return to the Majors until 1929. In his first full season, Collins was initially used in a starting role, but he was moved to the bullpen after he won only one of his first 11 starts. He finished that season with a 9-7 record with 5 saves and a 5.75 ERA.

The following season, in 1930, Collins gradually earned his starting spot back. By early June, he had won 6 of 7 starts...the only loss was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Pirates. He shut out Boston 1-0 in September to push his record to 16-7, but four straight losses by Collins to end the season left his record at 16-11.

Collins got off to a considerably poor start in 1931. By the end of July, his record stood at 4-11. At that point, Collins got things rolling and he ran off 8 straight victories, including matching 3-0 shut outs of the Pirates and Giants. Despite his career best 3.86 ERA that season, his record was a lackluster 12-16. Over the following few seasons, Collins would see more relief work than starting assignments.

Collins' gestures and mannerisms on the pitching mound earned him the nickname "Fidgety Phil". Working slowly, Collins would tug at his own uniform, pulled on the bill of his cap and pretty simply bothered opposing hitters with his unique and quirky style.

Sure he was a pitcher, but Collins could hold his own with a bat in his hands also. In 1929, Collins pounded a grand slam, and in 1930 he slammed 3 homers, including two in one game, to go along with his .253 batting average.

In his career with the Phillies, Collins was 72-79 with a 4.66 ERA in 292 games, less than half of which where starts.

In May 1935, Collins' contract was sold to St. Louis. It would be his last season playing in the Majors.


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