Player Profile

Zack Wheat
B: May 23, 1888 Hamilton, MO
D: Mar 11, 1972

Sedalia, MO

Throws Right
Bats Left
Height 5'10"
Weight 170 lbs
Seasons 19

Youth / Pre Major League

  • 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 widowed mother.
  • 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 $1200.00. 

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 innings.
  • 1911-1913: Batted .287, .305 and .301 during those years on teams that finished no higher than 6th place in the National League.
  • 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 place.
  • 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 games.


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.

Career Statistics

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