Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guest Post: From Enterprise, Kansas to the Brooklyn Dodgers

Today's post is brought to you by Amy Feigley. Amy is a member of the Dickinson County Heritage Center staff, and also works as a paraprofessional educator. In today's post, Amy tells us the history of Zach Wheat, a professional baseball player who spend some time in Enterprise, Kansas.

The year was 1906. Enterprise was a town that offered you about anything a resident could ever ask for, with the exception of a baseball team.

And, it was in 1906, the year of Aristotle Onasis and the San Francisco Earthquake, that Zach Wheat, a Missouri native all of 18 years, got his start in what would span as a 19 year professional baseball career.

Zach was invited to play on the Hoffman Mills baseball team and was brought to Enterprise by Ralph Hoffman. Ralph was not only interested in Wheat's amazing talent for baseball, but also to bring this town a great sport, something for the whole family to partake in.

After a year in Enterprise, Zach continued his career in this great All-American sport in Wichita. From there he played for the Shreveport Pirates in 1908 and then finished up his minor career with the Mobile Sea Gulls in 1909. It was during his 1909 career that Wheat was purchased by the Brooklyn Superbas for the price of $1,200. And it was in September 1909 that he made his major league debut.

After his release from the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1927, he was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics. After that season, he was released and played for a minor league team by the name of the Minneapolis Millers. Due to a heel injury, he retired from baseball the following season.

To this day, Zach Wheat still holds records for hits, doubles, triples and total bases for the Dodgers franchise.

If you ever venture onto the stretch of Route 13 that runs though Caldwell County, Missouri, you will find yourself on the Zach Wheat Memorial Highway. And, if you are ever in Enterprise at the baseball diamonds, make sure you pay close attention to the name of the baseball field.

Zach Wheat left a great legacy for the love of baseball that still continues today. And, to think, he got his start in Enterprise, Kansas.

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