The Baseball Guru OMI - The outField of Dreams by Herb Rogoff AN ARTICLE FOR BASEBALL GURU:JUNE 2005: FROM ONEMORE INNING Home Page

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How  would you  have liked to  have had an outfield of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial? How about Mantle, Mays, and Aaron, or Kirby Puckett, Ken Griffey Jr, and Jose Canseco. Well that kind of dream outfield never happens…..except that once it did.

In 1927 the Philadelphia Athletics had an outfield that consisted of 3 future Hall of Famers all of whom are legendary names in the history of  the  game.  Ty Cobb,  Al Simmons,  and Zack Wheat at one time or another all played  together in the outfield for the Athletics that year. What a sight that must have been,  Al Simmons was approaching his prime,  and  Cobb and Wheat were in  their forties but both were still productive.

Simmoms of course, at the age of 25, was the star. He hit .398 that year and was in the process of consolidating his position as one of the pre-eminent players of the game. He had been with Philadelphia since 1924 and had become their acknowledged leader. Cobb joined Philadelphia in 1927 along with Zack Wheat. He would play with them until 1928 and that would be the end of his big league career. Cobb, who had been the star everywhere he went, had to take a back seat to Simmons. This did not make for good relations between the two men. Simmons, who was a fierce competitor on his own, met Cobb head on and held his ground. Connie Mack helped as a buffer between both of the men.

It’s interesting to note that in the supposed twilight of Cobb’s career, (he was 40 at the time) he had a wonderful season that year. He hit .357, knocked in 84 RBIs, and managed to steal a number of bases as well. The next year, which was to be his last, he still managed a .323 average. Al Simmons hit .351 and had 15 homeruns. In 1929, with Cobb gone, Simmons had a banner year. He hit .385, had 34 homeruns and knocked in 157 RBIs.

Zack Wheat stayed one year with  Philadelphia and that was in 1927. Having been one of the great ballplayers of his time, he had spent his whole career with Brooklyn. 1927 was to be his last year in the game. He was now 41 years old. Time had taken it’s toll. It was generally conceded that he was at the end of his career. Connie Mack felt that he still had something to offer and Wheat justified his confidence in him. He played in 61 games, mostly as a spot starter. His average was .324 and he managed to knock in 36 RBIs. Contemporary sources report that there were no differences between Cobb and Wheat and that Simmons treated him with extreme courtesy.

It would have been wonderful to have seen all three men playing in that outfield during their prime. Since that wasn’t possible, it’s kind of nice to have had them together for that one brief moment in 1927.



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