Buck Weaver

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Buck Weaver
Buck Weaver 1917.jpg
Shortstop / Third baseman
Born: (1890-08-18)August 18, 1890
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Died: January 31, 1956(1956-01-31) (aged 65)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 11, 1912 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1920 for the Chicago White Sox
Career statistics
Batting average .272
Hits 1,308
Runs batted in 421
Stolen bases 172
Teams
Career highlights and awards

George Daniel "Buck" Weaver (August 18, 1890 – January 31, 1956) was an American shortstop and third baseman in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox. He was one of the eight players banned from the Major Leagues for his connection to the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

Baseball career[edit]

Weaver was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and began his major league career on April 11, 1912 as a shortstop for the White Sox. Weaver switched to third base in 1917 after Swede Risberg joined the team.

An excellent fielder, Weaver was known as the only third baseman in the league that Ty Cobb would not bunt against.[1] He led the majors in sacrifice hits in 1915 and 1916.

In the famous 1919 World Series, Weaver batted .324, tallying 11 hits. He also played errorless ball, lending credence to his lifelong claim that he had nothing to do with the fix.

After the Series was over, many suspicious reporters made allusions to a possible fix. However some sportwriters praised Weaver for his efforts all along during the World Series. Ross Tenney of the Cincinnati Post wrote:

Though they are hopeless and heartless, the White Sox have a hero. He is George Weaver, who plays and fights at third base. Day after day Weaver has done his work and smiled. In spite of the certain fate that closed about the hopes of the Sox, Weaver smiled and scrapped. One by one his mates gave up. Weaver continued to grin and fought harder….Weaver's smile never faded. His spirit never waned….The Reds have beaten the spirit out of the Sox all but Weaver. Buck's spirit is untouched. He was ready to die fighting. Buck is Chicago's one big hero; long may he fight and smile.[2][3]

Despite this, Weaver was banned by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for having knowledge of the fix and failing to tell team officials.

Reinstatement attempts[edit]

Weaver successfully sued White Sox owner Charles Comiskey for his 1921 salary. When Shoeless Joe Jackson did the same, the jury voted 11–1 in favor of Jackson. However, the judge set aside the jury verdict after Comiskey produced Jackson's grand jury testimony about the fix. Despite this success, however, Comiskey made no attempt to offer the confessions as evidence to obtain a similar ruling against Weaver.

Weaver applied six times for reinstatement to baseball before his death from a heart attack on January 31, 1956 at age 65. One notable attempt to get reinstated came in 1927 in the wake of Tris Speaker/Ty Cobb betting scandal.[2] After this attempt failed, Weaver returned to Chicago and decided to play in the minor leagues again.[2] Later in life, Weaver contacted a New York City attorney who vowed to get him reinstated.[2] Weaver sent his legal papers and correspondence to New York, however, they were never returned;[2] to this day, baseball historians have been unable to find Buck's legal files.[2] Weaver was the third of the eight suspended "Black Sox" (after Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1951 and Fred McMullin in 1952) to die.

Legacy[edit]

Weaver in 1913

Many parts of the story portrayed in the 1988 movie Eight Men Out are told from Buck Weaver's point of view, with Weaver being played by John Cusack. Harry Stein also used Weaver as a co-narrator in his critically acclaimed Black Sox novel Hoopla (1983), where Stein's Weaver reiterates that his loyalty to his teammates compelled him not to inform baseball authorities about the Series fix.

With the 2005 World Series set to begin and the White Sox about to capture their first championship since 1917, Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Downey implored commissioner Bud Selig to rescind Weaver's ban. His column of October 20, 2005 cited catcher Ray Schalk's condemnation of "the seven" Sox in on the fix, not eight. Weaver's niece, Pat Anderson, told Downey: "You can't understand why someone else would be so obtuse. Some of these commissioners, it's like they put a brown paper bag over their heads."

Another niece, Marge Follett, came to the 2003 All-Star Game at the White Sox park to personally appeal to the commissioner for her uncle's reinstatement. The Tribune reported a quote from Weaver: "There are murderers who serve a sentence and then get out. I got life."

Weaver is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery near 115th Street on Chicago's South Side. His grave marker reads, simply: "HUSBAND George D. Weaver 1890–1956."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Buck Weaver Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Clearbuck / Clear Buck". Clearbuck.com. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  3. ^ Buck Weaver at the SABR Bio Project, by David Fletcher, retrieved October 19, 2013

External links[edit]