Zack Wheat

The Life of the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer


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About the Book

Zack Wheat was long considered the greatest player in Dodgers history. The Missouri native parlayed his tenacious work ethic and raw skills into a major league career. For almost two decades, the mild-mannered outfielder was a mainstay for the Dodgers, bringing stability to a team that was at times unhinged. To this day, Wheat is the franchise leader in several batting categories.

Greatly respected by his peers and adored by fans, Wheat served as Brooklyn’s captain for several years, leading the club to two pennants (1916 and 1920). After his playing days, Wheat found difficulty working his way back into the game and was nearly killed in an automobile accident as a member of the Kansas City police force before finding redemption in election to the Hall of Fame in 1959.

About the Author(s)

Joe Niese is an award-winning author and a library director in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Joe Niese
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8014-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4182-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Prologue 3
1. Off the Prairie, Birth to 1909 5
2. A Star in the Making, 1910–1912 14
3. Uncle Robbie, 1913–1915 34
4. A Pennant for Brooklyn, 1916 56
5. Uncertain Times, 1917–1919 72
6. A Whole New Ball Game, 1920 88
7. Captain Wheat, 1921–1923 104
8. A Season to Remember, 1924 126
9. Calm Amidst the Storm, 1925–1927 136
10. A Baseball Man Through Thick and Thin 158
Appendix: Major League Statistics 177
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 189
Index 191

Book Reviews & Awards

• Winner, Ron Gabriel Award—Society for American Baseball Research

• Finalist, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR

• “According to Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, Zack Wheat said hello in April, goodbye in October and in between let his bat do his talking. Perhaps Wheat’s self-effacing nature explains why one of the Dodgers greatest players has never been the subject of a full length biography. Fortunately, Joe Niese has more than filled the gap with a work that tells us what Wheat did and who he was. It is a book that is long overdue.”—John Zinn, author, Charles Ebbets: The Man Behind the Dodgers and Brooklyn’s Beloved Ballpark

• “Joe Niese uses Zack Wheat’s own words, as well as those of Wheat’s contemporaries and the sportswriters who saw him, to bring to life a star who remains perhaps the greatest player ever to wear a Brooklyn uniform.”—Lyle Spatz, author, Hugh Casey: The Triumphs and Tragedies of a Brooklyn Dodger