Collins was a versatile and cooperative team player. After making the White Sox in
1910, he was a disappointment at first base and was shifted to right field a few
weeks into the season. By 1913 he had established himself as one of the AL's top
defensive outfielders. He covered plenty of ground and had a strong arm. At the plate,
his average suffered because of his tendency to overswing.
Collins was temporarily
moved back to first base in 1915 when rookie Jacques Fournier proved to have an iron
glove. When the White Sox captured the 1917 pennant on September 21, Collins delivered
the game-winning hit. He was the team's senior player, platooned in right field with
Nemo Leibold. Chicago won the World Series opener 2-1 thanks to Collins's 3-for-4
performance. He moved once more to 1B when Chick Gandil sat out the 1920 season.
He finished his career as a regular outfielder with the talent-thin Red Sox of the
early 1920s. His nickname, Shano, was a play on Sean, the Gaelic equivalent of John.