Ray Collins, “he is one of the best pitchers in the American League — one of the two or three best left-handed pitchers in the business.” Clark Griffith

The fourth man in the Red Sox pitching rotation in 1912 was a 25-year-old southpaw from Vermont named Ray Williston Collins.

Born in Colchester Vermont, this 6′ 1″, 185lb left-hander had New England roots that literally went back to the beginning and then some. He was a ninth generation descendant of Governor William Bradford. You may remember him of Plymouth Colony fame. His great, great-grandfather was Captain John Collins who ran around with a guy named Ethan Allan, he of  the”Green Mountain Boys” and the American Revolution. As a matter of fact great, great Grandpa John was one of the original settlers of Burlington Vermont and old Ethan actually stayed at his house while he was building one of his own.

 

 Three year old Ray Collins and mom.

Ray was a sensation at the University of Vermont and in amateur leagues throughout New England. He once struck out 21 batters in a game playing for Newport New Hampshire in the Interstate League.  At the University of Vermont he played with Larry Gardner, who would also become a teammate with the 1912 Red Sox. 

University of Vermont 1905

He joined the Red Sox in 1909 following his graduation from UVM and he had an auspicious beginning to his professional baseball career. It was July 19,1909 when he took to the mound in relief against Cleveland. His opponent was none other than Cy Young and the game also featured baseball’s first ever unassisted triple play, executed by Cleveland shortstop Neil Ball. Four days later he made his first start and two days after that he threw his first shutout beating the Tigers on three hits, on one days rest!

Ray cracked the Red Sox rotation in 1910 and in Fenway Park’s inaugural season of 1912; he was 13-8 despite being sidelined into June owed to a spike wound he received in spring training. His first win came on June 22 and for the rest of the season he was virtually invincible. By season’s end his was the number two pitcher on the staff behind “Smokey” Joe Wood and in that capacity, Ray Williston Collins was the starting pitcher in game two of the 1912 World Series, the first World Series game ever played at Fenway Park!

Ray Collins warms up October 9, 1912 at Fenway Park, Fenway’s first World Series game.

He won 19 games in 1913, 20 in 1914 and slipped to a 4-7 mark in 1915. In January of 1916 stating that he was “discouraged by his failure to show old-time form”, Ray Collins retired from professional baseball, he was 29 years old. He returned to his Vermont home and lived out his days as a dairy farmer, a patriot, an active supporter and alum of the University of Vermont and recognized by one and all as a pillar of his community.

 In April of 1962, crippled with arthritis, Ray Collins joined members of the 1912 team at Fenway Park in a reunion celebrating the 50th anniversary of Fenway’s first championship team. He passed away in 1970 and was laid to rest in the Vermont soil he loved, his place in Fenway and Red Sox history evermore preserved as the man who started the first ever World Series game at “America’s Most Beloved Ball Park”!

And so it was at this time in Fenway Park history, 1912-1915, Ray’s time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

About fenwaypark100

Hello and welcome, my name is Raymond Sinibaldi. An educator for more than two decades, a baseball fan for nearly 60 years, I have authored four books about baseball and her glorious history; with a fifth on the way in late spring of 2015; the first, The Babe in Red Stockings which was co-authored with Kerry Keene and David Hickey. It is a chronicle of Babe's days with the Red Sox. We also penned a screenplay about Babe's Red Sox days so if any of you are Hollywood inclined or would like to represent us in forwarding that effort feel free to contact me through my email. In 2012 we three amigos published Images of Fenway Park in honor of the 100th birthday of Fenway Park. That led to the creation of this blog. The following year, 2013 came my first solo venture, Spring Training in Bradenton and Sarasota. This is a pictorial history of spring training in those two Florida cities. The spring of 2014 brought forth the 1967 Red Sox, The Impossible Dream Season. The title speaks for itself and it also is a pictorial history. Many of the photos in this book were never published before. The spring of 2015 will bring 1975 Red Sox, American League Champions. Another pictorial effort, this will be about the Red Sox championship season of 1975 and the World Series that restored baseball in America. I was fortunate enough to consult with sculptor Franc Talarico on the “Jimmy Fund” statue of Ted Williams which stands outside both Fenway Park and Jet Blue Park Fenway South, in Fort Myers Florida. That story is contained in the near 300 posts which are contained herein. This blog has been dormant for awhile but 2015 will bring it back to life so jump on board, pass the word and feel free to contact me about anything you read or ideas you may have for a topic. Thanks for stopping by, poke around and enjoy. Autographed copies of all my books are available here, simply click on Raymond Sinibaldi and email me.
This entry was posted in Fenway Park Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s