The easy selection is a Baseball Hall of Fame member who played for both Boston teams – Jimmy Collins. Collins switched sides in 1901 and came to the Red Sox where he also became player-manager – a rather common thread in the Dead Ball Era. Collins was at the helm in 1903 as the Red Sox defeated the Pirates to grab the first modern-day World Series.
Collins was a superb fielder at third and a defensive innovator, but his bat also spoke well hitting .294 in 14 MLB seasons. In his seven Red Sox seasons, Collins hit .296. With the Braves in 1898, Collins led the NL with 15 home runs.
Collins was enticed to switch loyalties with a substantial bonus – reported to be $3,500 – and the Manager’s job. This was the beginning of a fiscal war between the NL and the fledgling AL and Collins was recognized as the best in the business at third.
Honorable Mention: When Collins left Boston his replacement was a left-hand hitter who played on three World Series champions – Larry Gardner. Gardner was a rare college player who joined the Red Sox right out of the University of Vermont. In 10 seasons Gardner hit .282.