- SS, 3B, 2B
- August 18, 1890
- 5' 11"
- 170 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-11-1912 with CHA
George Daniel "Buck" Weaver (August 18, 1890 – January 31, 1956) was a shortstop 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.
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. He led the majors in sacrifice hits in 1915 and 1916.
His refusal to rat on his teammates when he learned they were going to throw the 1919 World Series, cost Buck Weaver dearly. One of the best-hitting infielders in the game, Weaver had twice hit .300 when he was barred from baseball for life by the commissioner. Had he been able to play during the 1920s, his offensive numbers would have surely risen, but he was relegated to outlaw leagues playing against far-inferior talent. He spent much of the rest of his life proclaiming his innocence and petitioning Major League Baseball for re-instatement
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."
Despite this, Weaver was banned by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for having knowledge of the fix and failing to tell team officials.
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. After this attempt failed, Weaver returned to Chicago and decided to play in the minor leagues again. Later in life, Weaver contacted a New York City attorney who vowed to get him reinstated. After Weaver sent his legal papers and correspondence to New York, however, they were never returned back; to this day, baseball historians have been unable to find Buck's legal files.
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 asked 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 before his death: "There are murderers who serve a sentence and then get out. I got life."
According to the website http://www.gingerkid.com, sportswriter Irving Sanborn gave Weaver the nickname "Ginger Kid." Some sources give Weaver's minor league teammate Curt McGann the credit for calling him "Buck" - for his straight-ahead approach to the game.
As part of the famous World Baseball Tour during the 1913 off-season, Buck Weaver travelled nearly 40,000 miles and visited more than a dozen countries in Europe and the Middle East.
From ClearBuck.com: "At 5 feet 10 inches and a lean 168 pounds, Weaver was known for his ever-smiling, jug-eared face that mimicked a Halloween Jack."