- This article is about the professional baseball player for the double amputee runner see Bob Wieland
Robert George Weiland (December 14, 1905 in Chicago – November 9, 1988 in Chicago), was a professional baseball pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1928-1940. He played for the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and St. Louis Cardinals.
Bob Weiland was a left handed pitcher who played for a number teams such as White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and the Red Sox from the year 1928–1940. Even though the teams he played for at the time were in the Major League, they were not doing the best, and that still did not affect the number of his wins and losses. Bob became a very impressive baseball player and exceeded rookie standards during the 1930s. He had come to the United States in 1889 with his parents and seven siblings, his own father Jacob a dairyman. He was able to make a positive change for his family who had come to America.
Weiland was born on December 14, 1905, on Chicago's South Side to Christ and Mathilda Weiland and he also had an older sister. Bob grew to be very tall considered at the time, his height was 6’4, and he weighed 210 pounds. He attended Lowell School for the first eight years and then went to Lane Technical High School for the next four years in Chicago.
As a southpaw, it didn’t take long for Bob to acquire the predictable nickname of "Lefty." He may have first picked it up on the playgrounds of Humboldt Park, where he played ball as a teenager. At age 20, in 1926, he signed with the Peoria Tractors of the Three-I League (Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League), a Class B team for which he never played. His first year in organized baseball was in the Class D Mississippi Valley League with the Moline Plowboys. He was 10-8 in 187 innings of work during the 1927 season, improving to 20-10 in 1928 with a reported league-record 210 strikeouts." (SABR)
Unfortunately, he played for two unsuccessful teams in the American League for the first six and a half years in the majors, pitching for the White Sox and Red Sox from 1928 to 1934 and putting up a combined record of 20-50. Then Bob moved from to the Indians in the mid of 1934, it still took some time for him and then he was 1-5 for the balance of the year. Later on in his career, he was able to enjoy three full seasons with the "Gas House Gang" St. Louis Cardinals, which was doing a lot better.
Weiland was bought by his home team White Sox on July 23 for $3,000 and earned a September call-up. He appeared in just one game for the Sox, on September 30, and shut out the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0, allowing seven hits and whiffing nine.
There may not have been any better chances of finishing with a lot of money with the Red Sox due to the team finishing in eighth again in 1932. Weiland's ERA of 4.51 was distinctly better than the team's own 5.02. Weiland began to have issues with throwing the ball over the plate, walking 97 while only striking out 63 and putting up a walks and hits per inning pitched of 1.676.
Weiland improved walks and hits per inning to 1.373 and the team then finished seventh. He started with a 1-5 record for the Red Sox in 1934, but then was bought by the Cleveland Indians. Apparently it was a bargain and a good choice, so they sent Weiland and Bob Seeds and an amount of $25,000 of Tom Yawkey's money to Cleveland for Wes Ferrell and Dick Porter. Bob's pitching improved, but also put up a 1-5 record for Cleveland causing it to be 2-10 on the season. Then in November for ten grand, he was sent to the St. Louis Browns where he did not pitch that much either, spending most of his time in the minor leagues.
Bob was then sent to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937 and improved again, going 15-14 and 16-11. This could be due because he was on a much better team, but his ERA decreased a large amount, too.
While not playing baseball, he worked for about six weeks during January and February in Orlando as an instructor at the Joe Stripp Baseball School. On April 26, 1940, he pitched his final time in the major leagues. Weiland sold auto parts for a number of companies from 1940 up to his retirement in 1976. Bob married Esther Nielsen on October 11, though accounts of the year differ. He reported the year as 1928 in his questionnaire submitted to the Hall of Fame. Cook County marriage records have the year as 1930. The union produced two children, Robert and Karen Ostrowski. Later in life, Bob suffered some heart problems and the amputation of both legs.
Weiland played for five teams in total: Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He died of a stroke and congestive heart failure on November 9, 1988, in Chicago.