Monday, August 14, 2006

August 14th, 1984

Spud Davis Dies

Continuing my theme of all-something teams, we come to today, the "All-Crop" team. Our titular player is Virgil "Spud" Davis. Davis was a pretty good player over his career, finishing with a career .308 average, especially good as Davis spent the bulk of his career as a catcher.

Today also marked the demise of another member of the All-Crop team, Mack Wheat in 1979. Wheat was not much of a player, hitting just .204 over seven seasons, although I suppose he deserves credit for hanging around for seven years despite not being able to hit a lick. Wheat hung on because, like Davis, he was also a catcher and at the time catchers hitting .204 were widely tolerated. Come to that, not a whole lot has changed in that

Mack was hardly the only Wheat in baseball history; there have been two others. The first was Lee Wheat who had a brief--just thirty innings--career in the mid-50s. The second is the best member of the All-Crop team, and its only Hall of Famer, Zach. Zach Wheat played all but one of his nineteen seasons for Brooklyn. For his career he had a .317/.367/.450 line. Wheat won a batting title in 1918, and finished as high as third in the MVP.

Other crops are represented on the team, however, as Gene Rye played one season for Boston in 1931, and although "Half Pint" (as he was known) hit just .179, his name is good enough to put him on the squad. Finally we come to the Cotton bunch, although no player was blessed (or cursed, I suppose) with Cotton as a surname, several acquired it has a nickname. The best of these was Cotton Tierney an infielder/outfielder who finished with nearly a .300 across a short six-year career.

I'm not sure you could assemble a full team from the All-Crop bunch, and even if you were to manage it I'm not sure they'd be very good. But with such a carbohydrate collection for names, they'd probably never be hungry.

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