The Rise and Fall of Bucky Weaver

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The Rise and Fall of Bucky Weaver

George "Bucky" Weaver is known for having prior knowledge about the Black Sox scandal and not coming forward to officials. For that, he was banned from baseball for life. At the time, he was just 29.

George Daniel Weaver was born on Aug. 18, 1890 in Pottstown, PA. He was the fourth of five kids from Daniel and Sarah Weaver. George lived just 41 miles northwest of Philadelphia. "Buck" was never very interested in school and started playing baseball in his youth. He was a natural, pretty good from day one.

Minor leaguer Curt McGann liked Weaver's play, passion, style, and his upbeat mood. Buck began his career in 1908 with Mt. Carmel of the Outlaw Atlantic League. He hit just .243 in his first season, though. After a year of semi-pro baseball in 1909, he was signed for $175 by York of the Tri State League in 1910. Later that year, the White Sox signed him for $750.

He played for the San Francisco Seals in 1911, 2,847 miles from Pottstown. The transition didn't seem to bother him, though. He hit .282 in 1911 in 182 games and his defense was increasingly good. The year he had caught the White Sox eye. In 1911, the White Sox weren't incredibly good. However, they had a good third basemen in Harry Lloyd, which made it challenging for Weaver to start at third right away.

He would get playing time, though. As a shortstop, he hit just .224 with 43 RBI and one home run. His transition to short obviously bothered him, as he led the league in errors, with 71. 1912 was a forgettable year for Weaver. 1913 was a memorable one. He increased his batting clip by 48 points, going all the way up to .272. His errors decreased, but by one. He made 70 errors in 1913. Nonetheless, the year was encouraging.

During the offseason, Buck joined a tour organized by Charley Comiskey and John McGraw. Buck went along with several teammates. The tour traveled over 38,000 miles. The trip may have scarred Weaver, as he hit just .246 the next season and only 28 runs driven in. His on base percentage was a terrible .279.

In 1915, despite having a very inconsistent career and terrible fielding performance, the White Sox fans voted him the most popular. He didn't prove it in 1915 or 1916. He hit .268 with three homers and 49 RBI in 1915.

1916 was even worse. He hit just .227 with three home runs. However, Weaver was confident the team would rebound in 1917. Teammates Eddie Collins and Shoeless Joe Jackson made a promise that the team would win the American League in 1917.

They did, and Weaver deserves credit for such a grand accomplishment following years of mediocrity. Weaver had his best offensive year yet, hitting .284 with three home runs and 32 RBI. In the 1917 World Series, the 100-win White Sox defeated John McGraw's New York Giants. In the series, Weaver had one RBI and a .333 average.

The next year, he hit .300 (his first career .300 season) and drove in 29 runs. However, the average is misleading. It could've gone up or down had the season not been shortened because of World War I. It caused Weaver and others to play in just 112 games.

In 1919, Weaver and the White Sox were explosive. They won 88 and lost 52. Weaver had three home runs, 75 RBI, and a .296 average, his best season yet. But, 1919 is a year that when baseball fans hear, they cringe. The White Sox fixed the series, falling to the heavy underdog Cincinnati Reds. Weaver didn't have any major involvement in the series, but he knew what was going on and didn't tell.

In 1920, he had his best and last season. He hit .331 with two home runs and 75 RBI. But, on Sept. 28, gambler Billy Maharg published a write up saying Weaver had prior knowledge of the scandal. Kenesaw Mountain Landis promptly banned Weaver and other teammates for life.

On Jan. 31, 1956, Weaver died of a heart attack at 65. In his career, he had 21 home runs, 421 RBI, and a .272 batting average.

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