His 1997 Angels were in first place for 17 days, but never by more than one game. They were as high as 16 games over .500 at one point, but fizzled out at the end and finished 2007 at just three wins above .500 at 84-78.
His 1998 Angels were in first place by 3.5 games on September 6. They finished the season on September 27 three games back. They lost six and a half games in the standings in 21 days. Sounds like a perfect manager for the Mets.
The Bill Bavasi-led front office was confident enough to sign Mo Vaughn in the offseason and high expectations opened the 1999 Angels campaign, but fifteen players hit the disabled list, the players mutinied against Collins and he was dismissed midseason. Bavasi and lots of staff were let go as well. Collins had actually gotten the Angels to the brink where wholesale changes were made. It is our greatest fortune as fans that those changes worked better than any of us could have imagined.
The purge has just taken place in New York with the termination of entrenched Mets General Manager and all around jerk Omar Minaya as well as manager Jerry Manuel. One reason Collins edged out other candidates was his deep familiarity with the Mets minor leagues as he has served as an overseer of the team's system for the past few years. Perhaps he has mellowed with age and his years of wondering what-if have caused him to accept the second guesses and grow in his own self-awareness. He didn't have any as manager of the Angels and heaven help him if he doesn't have any when he faces that team's media.