And you thought major-league baseball's record-keeping was infallible, didn't you? Well, it isn't.
It turns out that Derek Jeter had to wait until tonight to tie Eddie Collins for ninth place on the all-time hit list. With Jeter's two hits on Sunday, the Yankees announced that Jeter had tied Collins with 3,313 hits. They were wrong. Collins had 3,315 lifetime hits. Tonight, Jeter's two singles brought his lifetime total to 3,315, tying him with Collins.
How MLB and the Yankees made this error is bizarre. Decades ago, around the time of World War I, an official MLB record-keeper switched one game of Collins' statistics with those of teammate Buck Weaver, according to a 2005 article in the N.Y. Times on baseball's statistical errors. This cheated Collins out of two hits. The error even made its way onto Collins' Hall of Fame plaque.
Collins, who played with the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics, is considered by many to be the best second baseman of all time. (Fans of Joe Morgan and Rogers Horsnsby may disagree). Over a 25-year career, Collins batted .333/.424/.853 with 3,315 hits and 741 stolen bases. In the 1919 World Series, he was one of the clean White Sox.
In 1923, Collins almost became a Yankee. The White Sox and Yankees were close to a trade but the deal fell through when the White Sox insisted that the Yankees include starting pitcher Waite Hoyt in the deal. Collins would have held down the second-baseman's job quite nicely until Tony Lazzeri came up in 1926.
One must wonder how this error was discovered so many years after the fact. Baseball-reference.com and baseball-almanac.com have the correct number. In a weird twist this evening, ESPN is reporting the 3,313 figure in its news stories while its own data base uses the 3,315 figure.