The 20 greatest Dodgers of all time, No. 18: Zack Wheat
Beginning April 11, we asked you to list your choices for the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time. You could vote via comment, Facebook, Twitter or email. And vote you did. From then until April 21, when voting closed, we received an amazing 12,231 ballots. So many, that we have decided to expand the list from the top 10 to the top 20. Each weekday at 11 a.m., a new player will be listed as we count down all 20.
Remember, any Dodger, Brooklyn or L.A., was eligible, including managers, owners, announcers, etc. Points were assigned based on where you list the player on the ballot. Your first choice received 12 points, second choice 10, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th place.
So with no further ado, here is No. 18:
No. 18: Zack Wheat (No first-place votes, 5,515 points)
Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of many Dodgers fans saying “Who?” at the same time.
Zack Wheat is the greatest unknown Dodger of all time, and he definitely deserves a spot on this list, probably higher than 18th.
Wheat played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1909 to 1926 and he is still the Dodgers’ all-time leader in hits (2,804), doubles (464) and triples (171), and is third in RBIs (1,210). He retired with a .317 lifetime batting average. You can look at his amazing season-by-season numbers at baseball-reference.com.
Wheat was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1959, becoming one of the first Dodgers players to be in the Hall.
One more interesting note: Wheat is partly responsible for the career of one of the great figures in baseball history. In 1912, the Dodgers (then called the Superbas) were looking for players, and Wheat recommended a childhood friend of his: Casey Stengel, who gave Wheat credit for much of his success in baseball.
Zack Wheat died on March 11, 1972, in Sedalia, Mo. You can read more about him at the SABR bio project.
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