R. I. P. Randy Collins, former Terrier
* The 1977 Inter County champion Cambridge Terriers included Randy Collins (second from left, back row, former major leaguer Jesse Orosco (fourth from left, same row) and legendary Erindale Cardinals coach Greg Cranker (fourth from left, middle row). Photos: Ed Heather. ....2014Canadians in the Minors… Canadians in College …. All-Canadian Team2015Canadian draft list …. Canadians in College2016 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
His birth certificate read Randy Collins.
He lived at ball diamonds like historic Dickson Park.
Except no one called him Randy.
It was either Tub or Tubby.
Collins played his minor baseball in Galt (now Cambridge) during the late 1960s. He played first base and in the outfield when Ed Heather coached him in junior ball in early 1970s.
He made the jump to the Cambridge Terriers seniors, playing his first game at age 15 in 1971 with the Galt Terriers.
During the 1977 season he was a team mate of California import Jesse Orosco who pitched 24 years in the majors with the New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and the New York Yankees.
After giving up playing he managed for the Terriers, taking over from Garey Wilson in 1981 until the Terriers final year of Intercounty play in 1983. The Terriers won the title in his last year managing that year.
Bob McCullough, inducted into the Cambridge Hall of Fame in 2008, played for Collins, before heading off to play for the Seminole College Trojans. McCullough had many diamond highlights, including being a member of the 1979 Inter County champion Terriers managed by Dave Cheetham.
The pinnacle of McCullough's career came in 1984 when he played for Canada in the Los Angeles Olympics. Playing in front of large crowds at Dodger Stadium, with future pros Mike Gardiner and Steve Wilson, the Canucks facedTeam USA with Mark McGwire. Canada beat the eventual gold-medal winning team from Japan.
The next year after the folding of the Terriers Collins joined the coaching staff of the Cambridge Bulldogs and they their league title in 1983 and again in 1984. Outfielder Rob Ducey was a member of that team before signing with the Blue Jays and being sent to rookie-class Medicine Hat.
Collins played 10 seasons through 1981, all in Cambridge except 1974 in Brantford, when Galt didn’t operate a team, primarily as a DH but also as a first baseman, a third baseman and occasionally behind the plate. He also appeared in one game with Guelph in 1988.
Four time he earned all-star status - first team DH in 1976 and second team DH in 1975, 1977 and 1978. In his career he hit .281 with 29 doubles, seven triples, 13 homers and 101 RBIs in 205 games.
Collins did not rank amongst the career Top 10 batting categories but his 500+ at-bats qualifies him as an IBL Ironman, according to league stats maven Herb Morell.
He played for the likes of managers Wray Upper, Wes Lillie and Cam Allan; Ed Heather was the director of player personnel in 1976 and John Coppes was GM from when the team was resurrected in 1975.
Collins passed away peacefully at Hilltop Manor, Cambridge, on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at age of 59.
A message of condolences summed up the feeling of many of Collins former players.
Tubby you will be sorely missed. You provided me with the most enjoyable summer one could ask for when you were the manager with the Cambridge Terriers Baseball Club. Both Jane and I pass on our deepest condolences to the Collins family.
He was son of James “Tubby” Collins and the late Doreen Collins, brother of Cindy Harasti, Linda Grummett (Steve) and Julie Collins (Howie).
Sympathies are extended Brittany Harasti and Katie Harasti and her children Hannah and Aiden.
Tub was active in all sports, from golfing to hockey and baseball, as a player, coach and manager in Cambridge and surrounding areas. He was an avid sports fan, following his beloved Maple Leafs.
A memorial service was held in the chapel of Corbett Funeral Home.
Donations to Kids Can Play and would be greatly appreciated by the family.
Deepest sympathies to Collins’ family for he was a man with a baseball-shaped heart.
It was very sad to hear of the passing of Randy "Tubby" Collins. I had been in touch with our old GM Cam Allan over the past year and he said Randy was not doing well but had great spirits during their many visits together and talking about the old Terrier and football days in Cambridge. It was a very nice article you wrote and great to see Ed Heather supplied some pictures and info.
I had the pleasure for playing for Randy when he managed the Terriers in 1982 and 1983. He had a great baseball mind and was a fun guy to be around. It was especially exciting to celebrate an Intercounty Championship in the last year 1983 of the Terriers. I also had the pleasure of witnessing Randy DH a few games in 1982. He had very bad legs so only batted a limited number of times. However, it was an experience watching him come to the plate. He was already a legend with a number of Allstar DH years behind him. When the PA announcer would announce his name when he pitch hit their would be a hush among the 500 or so Fans. He was the only guy still using a wooden bat. Then you would see the outfielders move back to the warning track. Randy would then proceed to hit a bullet to the base of the fence and chug into 2nd with a double. The sound of the ball coming off his bat was truly special!! To this day the only other times I have heard that sound is at a major league park, or from a few guys like Demi...
Another story that I remember was believe it or not Randy as a highschooler was slim and held the 220 yard dash record for decades at Southwood highschool in Cambridge. In the mid 1970s the late Bobby Prentice who was then still scouting for the Detroit Tigers came to Dickson Park one early spring day as he was prepared to sign Randy to a minor league contract with the Tigers. He looked out on the field and asked Ed Heather and some of guys where Randy was. They said he was right there, but Randy had gained about 100 lbs since the previous season as it was a heredity condition in his family. So Prentice was then unable to sign him.
Randy will be missed by many, and great to see you mentioned Orosco's 1977 summer pitching for the Terrier's and some of my 1982 & 83 team mates, Greg Cranker "Cranks" and Bob McCullough Team Canada shortstop and former Seminole JC and Stetson Hatter Alumi.
All the best.
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Randy Collins but enjoyed reading your Baseball Network article noting his career and some of the great baseball names who spent time in Galt with the Terriers.
The link to your story was forwarded to several of my old London Major team mates and we’ve enjoyed sharing some fond recollections of Tub’s playing days. I didn’t realize that Majors shortstop Dave Byersplayed with Randy in Galt for part of the 1972 season. Dave had returned from pro ball in August but apparently, the IC wouldn’t allow him to play in London.
I remember quirky Dixon Park was always a great place to visit. The lights were dim, the short porch in right field made no lead safe and the endless expanse in left field encouraged numerous triples and inside-the-parkers. Having the dugouts side by side under the third base grandstand was certainly unique in the Inter-County league but the thing I remember most about Galt was Wray Upper.If you were low on chew, Wray would lend you cheek full of Red Man. He was animated, he loved the game and he could always find a hole to drop in a single or double.