|D: Mar 11, 1972
Youth / Pre Major
- Zack Wheat played major league baseball from 1909 through
1927. One of the most popular players Brooklyn ever knew. Zack
was a line drive hitter with good speed and exceptional base
running skills. As an outfielder, he had good range and an
accurate throwing arm. A quiet, gentlemanly man, was
devoted to family. Wheat was never ejected from a ballgame in
his entire career.
- Zack and his younger brother Mack, played together in
Brooklyn for 5 seasons together.
- After his father died in 1905, Zack took a job as a semipro
ballplayer in Enterprise, Kansas, sending money home to his
- Signed with the Ft. Worth club of the Texas League in 1907.
The following year he played in Shreveport and started to
develop into a fine hitter.
- In 1909, he advanced to the Mobile club of the Southern
Association. There he was scouted by Brooklyn's scout Larry
Sutton. He wired a recommendation to owner Charles Ebbets and
at the close of the Associations season, purchased him for
His Playing Days
- 1909: Zack was immediately installed into left field, a post
he would hold the rest of his career. Batted .304 in the final
26 games for a struggling Brooklyn club.
- 1910: In his first full season with Brooklyn, Zack batted
.284, was 3rd in doubles, 2nd in at bats and 4th in total
bases. He played in every game and quickly became a fan
favorite, often bantering with the bleacher patrons in between
- 1911-1913: Batted .287, .305 and .301 during those years on
teams that finished no higher than 6th place in the National
- 1914: Brooklyn's fortunes begin to change as Wilbert 'Uncle
Robbie' Robinson is named manager. The team, now known as the
Robins, finishes 5th, but lead the league in batting.
Wheat bats .319, tied for 3rd in the league and leads the
league in outfield putouts.
- 1915: Despite the Federal Leagues raid on players, Wheat
signs a contract to remain with Brooklyn after owner Charles
Ebbets travels to his farm in Missouri. His average slumped to
.258 this season, but the team finished 3rd, 10 games out.
- 1916: The Robins capture the pennant and a Wheat plays
a vital role in their success. Leads the league in slugging,
5th in batting (.312) , 2nd in doubles and 3rh in hits. Has a
29 game hitting streak ending in late September. The Robins
lead the league in batting and pitching (ERA) and earns them a
spot against the Boston Red Sox and a young Babe Ruth. Bats
.211 for the series including an 0-5 in a 14 inning loss to
Ruth in game two. Boston takes the Series in 5 games.
- 1917: After a serious holdout was resolved, Wheat returned
and bats .312 in 109 games. Brooklyn drops from 1st to 7th
- 1918: Zack plays in only 105 games (409 at bats) but
qualifies and edges out Cincinnati's Edd Roush in the closing
days of the season, to win the batting title.
- 1920: Brooklyn captures another pennant while Zack finishes
batting .328, good enough for 5th. He has a fine series
batting .333, with seven singles and 2 doubles, but Cleveland
wins the World Series.
- 1923: With New York fans attention looking at the new
Yankees Stadium with Babe Ruth at the helm, Zack keeps the
fans at home in Brooklyn coming out, batting .375.
- 1925: Owner Charles Ebbets dies and Ed McKeever becomes
acting president. He catches pneumonia at the funeral and dies
a week later. Wilbert Robinson becomes acting president and
assigns Zack to acting manager. When the team continued
to struggle, Uncle Robbie once again took the reigns of the
team and Zack, amid the confusion, ends up as just the left
fielder. Still hits .359 for the season,
- 1926: At age 38, some accused Wheat of not hustling. Bats
.290 but by the end of the season, one of the most popular
Brooklyn players ever, was given his release.
- 1927: In January, Connie Mack and the Philadelphia A's sign
him. In his final major league season, Zack bats .324 in 88
Post Major League
- In 1928, he plays a season for Minneapolis of the American
Association before hanging up his spikes for good. Bats .309
- In 1932, he was considered a front runner to succeed
Robinson as Brooklyn manager. The job went to Max Carey.
- Wheat and a former teammate opened a bowling alley in Kansas
City. He also served on the Kansas City police department. He
was hospitalized for 5 months after an auto accident left him
with a fractured skull, wrist and ribs. After recovery, he
moved his family to Sunrise Beach, Missouri, where he opened a
fishing and hunting resort. During World War II, Zack worked
in a war plant in Wichita, Kansas.
Hall of Fame
- 1959: Zack was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame.