Terry Collins: Former Mets Manager with Second Most Wins in Team History (2011- 2017)

Terry Lee Collins was born on May 27, 1949 in Midland, Michigan. The five foot nine right hand hitter, attended Eastern Michigan University from 1968-1971 playing at short stop.

Collins was a quick base runner who led his team in stolen bases during his time there.

In 1971 his team won the NAIA National Championship, with Collins being named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Tournament. He was later named to the Michigan's University's Hall of Fame.

Minor League Career: Collins began playing in the minor leagues in 1971 as an infielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Three years later, he was later traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers system, and would play ten years of minor league baseball there. He spent three seasons at AAA Albuquerque, then began coaching. Four years later, he returned to play three games at Albuquerque going 1-6, before hanging up his playing shoes. Collins batted a minor league career .255 never making it to the major leagues as a player. 

He began to coach, as well as mange in the minor leagues for the same two organizations (Dodgers & Pirates) into the 1990's.

Collins began managing with the A ball Lodi Dodger affiliate in 1981 taking the team to a championship. By 1983 he was managing at AAA with the Albuquerque Dukes. In 1987 his Dukes won the Pacific Coast League Championship. 

From there he moved on the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, with the AAA Buffalo team for three seasons winning 246 games (246-186) in that time. In 1992 he was voted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Big Leagues: In 1992, he started a two-year run in the majors, as the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen coach under his old pal, now manager, Jim Leyland. The 1992 Pirates won the NL East & lost the NLCS in seven games to the Atlanta Braves.

Astros Manager: In the 1994 strike shortened season, he got his first managerial job in the major leagues. It was replacing Art Howe, who had been fired after the 1993 season with the Houston Astros.

In Collins’ first season at the helm, he posted his best winning percentage with the Astros (.574) going 66-49. He managed in Houston for three seasons, finishing in second place every year, while posting winning records each time.

The Astros fell off at the end of the 1996 season, finishing at 82-80 and Collins was dismissed. He was criticized by some for putting too much pressure on the team & not being relaxed enough.

Angels Manager: In less than a month he was hired to manage the Anaheim Angels. The previous year the Angels had finished fourth and went through three different managers with Marcel Lachemann, John McNamara and Joe Maddon.

Collins led the Angels to two straight second place finishes, & seemed more relaxed as the skipper than his days with Houston.

In 1999 his injury ridden team finished in fourth place & Collins stepped down. Although the front office wanted him to stay, he felt he had lost the confidence of his players.

In 2001 he coached with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, first as their bull pen coach & then moving on to being the teams third base coach.

In 2005, Collins was in line to be the next L.A. Dodgers manager when the GM was Paul DePodesta. But when he was fired, Collins wasn't offered the job.

Later, as Depodesta became the Mets, VP of Player Development, he had some positive things to say about Collins, to the Mets General Manager- Sandy Alderson. Alderson & the Mets owners agreed.

In 2004 Collins was one of three finalists for the Mets managerial job, but the job went to Willie Randolph instead. 

Japan Manager: From there Collins went on to manage in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes, for a one full year but then resigned during the following season.

In 2009 he was the manager for the China national baseball team, in the World Baseball Classic.

Mets Organization: In 2010 he came to the New York Mets organization as a Minor League Field Coordinator overseeing all on-field aspects of the Mets' Minor League Spring Training, mini camps, and Fall Instructional League.

He was responsible for all phases of the Mets' minor league operations, including instruction, discipline, and player and staff evaluations.

Mets Manager: After the dismissal of Jerry Manuel, Collins won the job this time, becoming the 20th manager in New York Mets history in 2011. He tried to bring a new culture to the team. 

Trivia: He wore the uniform number 10 in honor of his friend & mentor Jim Leyland.

In his first year as Manager the Mets went 77-85 finishing fourth. On August 6th, 2011 he won his 500th game as manager.  

Collins team played an impressive first half of the 2012 season, getting as close as second place. That season he was named to the NL All Star team coaching staff by NL Manager; Tony LaRussa. 

After the All Star break, the club went on a horrible six game losing streak, dropping twelve of thirteen games & they never recovered. They finished fourth at 74-88, twenty four games out of first place.

If anything he seemed to have mellowed out on the bench, since his earlier managerial days. With the Mets he has also gained respect in the clubhouse from his players. Overall he has been considered as doing a fine job with the talents he has had.

In 2013 Collins' Mets showed some good signs as Matt Harvey, & Zack Wheeler led the pitching staff performing to their expectations. Collins was named a coach on the NL All Star team for the second straight year. This time the game was played at home in Citi Field & Collins got a nice ovation.

His team finished third this year with an identical 74-88 record. The team finished low in batting, 14th (.237) &13th in the league in hits (1318). They were third in the NL in stolen bases with 114. His pitching staff was tenth in wins, eighth in ERA & second in innings. 

The Mets gave him a two-year contract extension with a one year option into 2016. 

Quotes- Terry Collins: "It is a true, true honor to be here. If you're going to manage, this is the place. There's no better stage, no bigger stage than to manage here. I love it here. I've had a great time here. I've probably enjoyed myself here more than anyplace I've ever been. So it's great to be back."

In 2014 Collins Mets finished with five more wins than the previous two a 79-83 record, four games under .500. The Mets four-year plan to make the play offs, under Collins & GM Sandy Alderson ,did not happen.

But the rebuilding of the minor leagues through trades & drafting as well as the development of the young players at the major league level makes the Mets a bright spot for 2015. Most notable the Mets pitching staff looks to be one of the leagues best. 

At the Winter Meetings, Collins told the press "It's time. I've done nothing for the last four years but preach to our fan base to be patient. We'll I think we've got the pieces. It's time to step up."

2015 Pennant Season:
The Mets began 2015 in good fashion, thanks to tying a club record eleven wins in a row. The Mets maintained a hold on first place through mid May, then fell to second keeping pace with the Washington Nats.

At that point Collins announced his young staff was to go with a six man rotation, to help keep the innings count down.

After a brief stay at the top of the division, the Nets fell back a far as 4 1/2 games by the Fourth of July. After losing six of eight, falling just above .500 in series against St. Louis, Washington & at home, against the LA Dodgers, it all turned around.

The Mets had trouble scoring runs up until then, but at the trade deadline they added some key
players. GM Sandy Alderson got Collins Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, reliever Tyler Clippard & the biggest of Yoenis Cespedes. 

Cespedes had a tremendous August & September and the Mets young pitching now had a solid line up & strong bench to go along with them. The club also brought up youngsters Michael Conforto & Steven Matz.

From August on, the Mets won 36 of their last 58 games going 36-22. In that stretch Collins' Mets put together win streaks of eight, seven & six games. They finished the year at 90-72 winning the Eastern Division by seven solid games. It was their first winning season since 2008, winning the most games & first time making the playoffs since 2006.

Matt Harvey Drama: There was some controversy when star pitcher Matt Harvey's agent said he should be limited to 180 innings because of his previous year's surgery.

Collins stuck up for his pitcher & he as well as the team handled it all well. In the late season subway series Harvey was pitching a strong game, the pitch count went up & Collins yanked him from the game. The bullpen blew the game, Harvey received negative reactions & he started changing his tune. He would earn the win in the clincher at Cincinnati.

At 66 years of age, Collins the oldest manager in baseball made the post season for the first time. He previously was second on the list of most games managed without reaching the playoffs
since divisional play had begun in 1969.

2015 Post Season: The Mets won the NLDS beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games, they then swept the Chicago Cubs in four straight in the NLCS. The dream fell short as the NL Champs lost the World Series to the KC Royals.

Ironically, after Matt Harvey pitched eight strong innings in World Series Game #5, Collins left him after the pitcher said he did not want to come out of the game. Harvey gave up a walk & then a double before being removed. The Mets made errors & blew a two-run lead going to extra innings & lost the game. 

Collins took full responsibility saying he let his heart get in the way of his gut feeling, then he said it was his fault.
Now that certainly was not the reason the Mets lost the series but the critics were still on him.

In his Mets career; Collins has posted a 394-416 record over five seasons(.486%) . He is third all time in club history with wins as a manager, behind Davey Johnson & Bobby Valentine. Overall in a ten year managerial career he is 838- 850 (.496%).

Contract Extension: On November 3rd 2015, The New York Mets extended Terry Collins stay as Manager with a two year deal. 

The announcement was made at a press conference at Citi Field where Mets GM Sandy Alderson, surprised everyone when suddenly passed out for about thirty seconds before coming to. 

A team official said he hadn't had breakfast & felt light headed under the hot lights.

Quotes: After signing his new contract Collins said: "I'm going to go have some fun, get up when I want to get up, go play golf, mow the yard, stuff that makes me relaxed."

2016 Wild Card:Collins & the reigning NL Champs started out the season with much promise for 2016. Collins lost his bench coach Bob Geren who moved on to the LA Dodgers & Dick Scott replaced him.

But the Mets struggled for much of the season. David Wright & Lucas Duda went down with back injuries, Yoenis Cespedes went down late in the season with strained quadriceps. 

The pitching staff struggled, Steven Matz had bone spurs, Jacob deGrom battled arm troubles, Matt Harvey had all kinds of problems & Zack Wheeler never made it back from his injuries. 

As late a mid August the team was under .500 & many players suffered injuries. But from August 19th on the team went 27-13 in their final forty games. 

The new comers (Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera) & rookies (Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, Josh Smoker) mixed in with a few veterans (Jose Reyes, James Loney) all contributed. But in that time Cespedes went down & on September 1st they lost Jacob deGrom with ulnar nerve surgery, the problem that plagued him all year. 

2016 Wild Card Game: The Mets still clinched the top Wild Card spot & made the playoffs two straight years for the second time in their history.

 The NL Wild Card Game was at Citi Field, but Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets in a brilliant performance out shining Noah Syndergaard's fine outing. Jeyrus Familia allowed the 9th inning three run blow & 2016 was over.

Collins 2017 Mets were a disaster, they had more injuries, players that did not produce, controversies all leading to a fifth place finish & their worst record (70-92) since 2009. 

Changes had to come & with the writing on the wall, Terry Collins announced his retirement after the last game of the season. He was given a job as special assistant to the GM.

Mets Managerial Career: Terry Collins has managed the most games in Mets history (1134) & is also tied for most seasons as Mets manager (7).  Davey Johnson & Bobby Valentine also managed the Mets for seven years. 

Collins ranks second behind Davey Johnson in wins with 551, he also ranks first in losses with 583. His .486 winning % ranks him down at number eight. Collins was one of five Mets managers to get to a World Series.

Trivia: Collins is now tied for second place (with Joe Torre) on the all time Mets list with most years as Manager. Only Davey Johnson & Bobby Valentine have more years at the helm, both tied at seven.

Family: Terry has known his wife Deborah since they were children. They dated in college but eventually broke up. Deborah then married a friend of Collins. They were married for 27 years until he passed away. 

Terry & Deborah reconnected & got married in 2010. They now reside in Virginia; they have four grandchildren.

Analyst: Collins worked as analyst for Fox Sports starting in 2019.  He has done work with the SNY network as well.


Reese Kaplan said…
Towards the end you highlighted the key stat that often goes unmentioned -- more losses than any other manager in team history. Why he kept getting renewed when he was clearly not suited to run the club is anyone's guess.

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