Friday, July 02, 2010

T206 Brooklyn Dodgers: Zack Wheat

This is the last card left from my feature on T206 Brooklyn players. So, I decided to leave the best player for last. Zach Wheat was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1959. He spent 18 of his 19 Major League seasons with the Brooklyn Superbas and is noted for being a consistent hitter and a graceful fielder. Over his career he batted over .300 14 times, recorded a lifetime batting average of .317, 2884 hits (a Dodger franchise record), and 4996 putouts as an outfielder (good enough for 18th all-time). He walked a total of 650 times, but only struck out 559 times. In 1925 he batted an astounding .375, but lost the batting title to Roger Hornsby who batted .424.

Zach Wheat currently hold the Dodger franchise record for games played, at-bats, hits, doubles, triples, and total bases. He is second behind Duke Snider in RBI's. His defense, though, was what he was really known for.
"What Lajoie was to infielders, Zach Wheat is to outfielders, the finest mechanical craftsman of them all," Baseball Magazine crowed in 1917. "Wheat is the easiest, most graceful of outfielders with no close rivals."
Check out SABR's great biography written by Eric Enders. The best line in Eric's story is the last one.
Shortly before his death he was asked if he had any advice for youngsters with ballplaying aspirations. "Yes," he said. "Tell them to learn to chew tobacco."

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