The curious case of ‘Buck’ Weaver
George Daniel “Buck” Weaver was one of the great third basemen of his time and the only man Ty Cobb would not bunt against. In the 1919 World Series, he was at his best for the Chicago White Sox, batting .324 with 11 base hits, including five extra base hits (four doubles and a triple).
Unfortunately, seven of his Chicago teammates were at their worst, taking bribes from gamblers and agreeing to fix the 1919 World Series.
However, Weaver received no money from gamblers or his teammates. In fact, he was not even connected in any way to the fix. But he still suffered the same fate as Lefty Williams, Chick Gandil, Swede Risberg, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch, Fred McMullin and Eddie Cicotte.
The problem was Weaver knew all about it — and did nothing and remained silent.
We all know Weaver as one of the key figures in the movie “Eight Men Out,” which was about the “The Black Sox” scandal.
But following the 1919 World Series, which was won by the less-talented Cincinnati Reds, Weaver and seven other White Sox still were banned for life from organized baseball in 1921.
Weaver, however, was the only one of the eight players who was banned for his guilty knowledge about the fix and his failure to tell team officials. An offense not worthy of banishment past life, which Buck received without a hearing before then Commissioner of Baseball Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Even today, Weaver still remains permanently ineligible for the Hall of Fame or employment in baseball, although his death on January 31, 1956, renders that latter point moot.
After Commissioner Landis’ ruling, Weaver successfully sued White Sox owner Charles Comiskey for his 1921 salary. For the next 35 years, he tried several more times to clear his name and to be reinstated by baseball. But “Buck” Weaver never succeeded and died with the stain as one of the eight “Black Sox.”
In the past decade, we’ve experience one of the greatest scandals that has given the game of baseball two black eyes. It’s called the “Steroid Scandal.”
Throughout the past 10 years or more, one question in every steroid case that has not been asked or answered is this: How many Buck Weavers are there in baseball’s performance-enhancing drug chapter? How many players, coaches, trainers, managers, GMs, team executives, who never injected themselves, rubbed into their skin or popped a pill of a PED — yet knew those who did but remained silent?
What about them?
It has been more than 91 years since “Buck” Weaver was banned, and I can’t help to feel a great sorrow for what he endured. Maybe, just maybe, someday Major League Baseball will recognize the great injustice done to this man and reinstate him.
That move would just be good for the game.