Retired Major League Baseball manager Terry Collins visited SVSU on Monday, Oct. 7, to discuss leadership roles throughout his baseball career.
The lecture took place at the Malcolm Field Theater with former president and general manager of the Great Lakes Loons Paul Barbeau serving as moderator.
The night started with an introduction by SVSU head baseball coach Stephen Jaska. Jaska spoke on how Collins met with his team to share his knowledge of baseball earlier in the day.
“Terry is a storyteller,” Jaska said. “In those stories, there’s a lifetime of wisdom.”
Collins, a Midland native, had not been on SVSU’s campus in years and was impressed by the changes since his last visit.
“I hadn’t been back to Saginaw Valley in a long time,” Collins said. “I was driving on campus and couldn’t take my eyes off the developments.”
One of the major themes of the chat was Collins’ leadership roles and how he managed his teams. Collins started his professional coaching career in 1983 in Albuquerque as coach of the Dukes, the Los Angeles Dodgers AAA affiliate.
As a 10-year player for the organization, Collins had to adjust from being teammates with some players to being their coach.
“It was a challenge,” Collins said. “Those guys knew me and my passion for the game, so I told them I now have to make decisions you might not agree with, but they’re what’s best for the team. They respected that and really bought into it.”
The team won the league title in his first season, and in 1993 Collins began his major league coaching career with the Houston Astros.
After finishing second in the division three years in a row, Collins was ultimately fired from his position with the Astros. Immediately following his departure, he was contacted by the Los Angeles Angels.
Owned by Disney, the Angels flew Collins to Los Angeles to meet with Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who instructed Collins that his job was mainly to keep fans happy.
“Eisner told me that my role was to compete, play hard, but mostly to entertain the fans,” Collins said.
Collins eventually ended up in the New York Mets organization, where he reached the height of his coaching success. In 2015, Collins managed the Mets to the World Series, eventually falling to the Kansas City Royals.
Collins currently serves as a senior advisor to the general manager for the New York Mets.