Alumni Answers: Tyler Collins, professional baseball player
Alumni Answers: Tyler Collins, professional baseball player
Posted on 10/19/2017
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Northwest alumnus Tyler Collins, a member of the Detroit Tigers baseball system

Tyler Collins graduated from Northwest High School as a decorated baseball player, playing on the varsity team all four years and earning a starting role as a freshman on Baylor’s team.

Since then, he has gone on to become the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Baseball Player of the Year after transferring from Baylor to Howard College. He intended to play for TCU, but his hard work paid off by being selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. His Tigers debut on March 31, 2014, made him Northwest ISD’s first known graduate to play in an MLB game.

Over the past three seasons, Collins has played a minimum of 40 games a year for the Tigers, and more in the team’s system. He has amassed more than 100 hits with the Tigers and nearly 600 hits in the minor leagues, along with 13 MLB home runs and more than 70 minor league home runs.

Northwest ISD caught up with Collins to discuss his career as well as what life is like for a professional baseball player.

You were drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB draft, an experience very few people earn. What was that process like – did the team give you an indication they were looking to possibly draft you?
I received offers from a couple of other teams in a few earlier rounds, however nothing that was enough to stop me from attending TCU in the fall. Detroit had not called me, and I was playing Call of Duty in my living room when I heard the draft announcement I was selected. It wasn’t until a couple of hours later that the organization reached out.

Now that you’re in your fourth year of major league baseball, has the experience been what you anticipated, or is there anything that still takes adjustment?
Baseball is baseball – it doesn’t matter what field you’re at or what jersey you are wearing. Where it does change is that it’s a business now, and there are decisions made that you have no control of.

What’s the actual experience of being a professional baseball player like, in terms of your day-to-day process?
The day to day is a grind. Especially as the season drags on – you really have to take care of yourself physically. For a 7 p.m. start, I usually get to the field around 1:30 p.m. Gym, training room, meals, cage work and batting practice all take place leading up to the game.

Do you even think about there being a big crowd at a game, or is easy to tune out and play the game the same way you always have?
Other than wanting to give away baseballs to kids, I couldn’t notice the surroundings any less! Hah.

You’ve been in the Tigers system for several years, and you’re constantly on the road for away games. Is there anything specific you miss about Texas, or any local places you make it a point to visit in the offseason?
I miss the weather more than anything. I love hot weather, and April in Detroit can border on frigid! Other than that, just being home with my friends and family.

Your mother, Karen Collins, is a teacher and coach at Medlin Middle School. Is there any sport or activity she can beat you in – or maybe a sport where she just thinks she can beat you?
Momma is very athletic and probably where I get my core competitiveness. Maybe back in the day she could take me in basketball or volleyball. She probably still thinks she could beat me in a foot race, but unless that race is a minimum of a mile, she’s probably going to have her work cut out for her.

In your first year out of high school, playing at Baylor, you planned to major in education. Is teaching and coaching something you’re still considering down the line?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my career path was derived from a desire to help shape and mold the next generation. I’m not saying it is or isn’t something I want to do, but whatever I end up doing, I want to positively impact the youth.

Outside of playing baseball, what are some of your hobbies or interests?
I love the outdoors, so fishing and hunting consume most of my offseason. Some golf and camping will also take place.

What advice would you give middle and high school students competing in extracurricular activities?
I would say trust in the Lord first. Then do what makes you happy and let the haters hate. The older you get, the more you will realize what truly matters, and that will always come back to being your core self.

Photo by Bobby Allison.

This story originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Northwest Navigator magazine.

To view statistics of Tyler Collin's seven years in professional baseball on the Baseball Reference website, click here.