Frankie Zak Essentials

Positions:
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 70 Weight: 150
Born: Wednesday, February 22, 1922 in Passaic, NJ USA
Died: 2 6 1972 in Passaic, NJ USA
Debut: 4/21/1944
Last Game: 6/10/1946
Full Name: Frank Thomas Zak

One of the most unlikely All-Stars ever. Frankie Zak, shortstop for the 1944-46 Pirates. He began in the minors as a teenager in 1941, and by 1943 he was in the International League, where he hit .246 with 22 stolen bases, 101 runs scored and 104 walks. He made the Pirates Opening Day roster in 1944, but didn’t get his first at-bat of the season until the team’s 36th game. Up to that point he had either pinch-run or finished the game defensively at shortstop. In his first start he went 2-for-2 at the plate, then followed that up with four hits in six at-bats over the next two days. In fact, the first seven games he started he had at least one hit in each game. After his first hitless game, he went 4-for-4, giving him a .538 average nine starts into his career. Zak’s bat cooled off, and by August 9th he was back on the bench in his defensive replacement/pinch-runner role. In the last 50 games of the season he played 16 times and batted just twice. Luckily for Zak, the All-Star game was in early July in Pittsburgh and he was still batting .350 as late as July 2nd (wartime travel restricts also helped his case). He made the team as an injury replacement, although he didn’t play. By June of 1945 he was back in the minors, getting a September call-up that year, followed by 21 more games with the Pirates in 1946, before returning to the minors for good. He retired after the 1949 season. Zak hit .269 in 123 games with the Pirates. He never homered in the majors and hit just two in 2,910 minor league at-bats.