Now, Collins has been tabbed as the Mets' minor league field coordinator—a role he held with the Dodgers for five years, while that organization developed Jonathan Broxton, James Loney and Russell Martin.
Collins, 60, hopes to bring the same philosophy to New York that yielded those players with Los Angeles.
"I've been very, very lucky in the fact that I had a chance to coach and manage in the major leagues. So I feel like I have good idea what it takes to play there," said Collins, who once interviewed for the Mets' managerial position that went to Willie Randolph following the 2004 season.
"We brought in some really, really good instructors—like Rick Honeycutt, Roger McDowell, George Hendrick and Jerry Royster—guys who have a lot of major league time and knew what it took to play in the big leagues.
"We put together a program with what you have to be able to do to execute to have some success in the major leagues, such as for a pitcher, 'Hey, you have to command your fastball.' I don't care how good your curveball is. I don't care how good your changeup is. If you can't command your fastball, you're not going to be able to have success at the major league level.
"Before any of those kids moved from level to level, one of the things we asked is for there to be some criteria accomplished before we move them. One was, obviously, to be able to command your fastball on the outside of the plate."
The hiring of Collins was particularly well received in Buffalo, which enters its second season as the Mets' Triple-A affiliate. Collins managed the Bisons from 1989-91, back when they were a Pirates affiliate.
He first caught the attention of Bisons team president Bob Rich while managing the National League squad in the first-ever Triple-A all-star game, held in Buffalo in 1988.
"I guess they just liked my energy and my fire," Collins said.
• Buffalo manager Ken Oberkfell led Escogido to the Dominican League title and a berth in the Caribbean Series. The Lions went on to win the Series crown by vanquishing Venezuela in the finale.
• Dominican outfielder Fernando Martinez, 21, won Caribbean Series MVP honors for his showing in the tournament. He batted .348/.375/.652 with two homers, a double and four RBIs in six games.