doctor try to clear name of 'Black Sox' Buck Weaver
By TARA BURGHART
March 05, 2004
CHICAGO (AP) - For years, George (Buck)
Weaver tried to get reinstated to baseball following
a scandal in which Chicago White Sox players agreed
to throw the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati
Now, nearly 50 years after his death, Weaver's niece
is leading the effort to clear his name. "It's time
to be fair andgive the man his due," Patricia Anderson
said about the man she considered her surrogate father.
"I feel he got such a raw deal." Weaver, who grew up
in Pennsylvania, made his major league debut with the
White Sox in 1912. He becameone of the most popular
players on the South Side, known for his smile and the
dirty uniform that accompanied his energetic play.
In the 1919 World Series, he batted .324 with no errors
at third base.
The gambling scandal wasn't exposed until almost a year
after the Series. Then in 1921, commissioner Kenesaw
Mountain Landis banned eight White Sox players, including
Weaver, from baseball although a jury acquitted them.
"No player who entertains proposals or promises to throw
a game, no player who sits in conference with a bunch
of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means
of throwing games are discussed and does not promptly
tell the club about it will ever play professional baseball,"
Anderson, her sister and cousin started pushing for
Weaver's reinstatement in the 1970s. The campaign got
a renewed boost last year when a devoted baseball fan,
David Fletcher, bankrolled an Internet site - www.clearbuck.com
- and the hiring of a public relations firm.
Supporters of the "Clear Buck" campaign - who include
Eliot Asinof, author of Eight Men Out, a book about
the scandal - say he was guilty only of hearing about
the scheme and not speaking out.
"He kept his integrity and character and refused to
rat on his teammates. He was true to his teammates -
that's what he was guilty of," said Fletcher, an occupational
medicine specialist and professor at the University
of Illinois. "And he didn't think they were going to
go through with the plot."
In addition to sending baseball commissioner Bud Selig
10,000 signatures on petitions calling for Weaver's
reinstatement, the "Clear Buck" campaign pitched its
cause at the all-star game, Cubs and White Sox fan festivals,
an event at the Hall of Fame and the winter baseball
meetings in New Orleans.
Anderson, now a 77-year-old retiree living in Kimberling
City, Mo., worries that the way Pete Rose has handled
his efforts to get reinstated could hurt her uncle's
She believes Weaver's case should be considered along
with that of (Shoeless) Joe Jackson, who led all hitters
in the 1919 World Series with a .375 average. Supporters
say Jackson tried to return the money.
"They certainly didn't do anything that would hurt baseball,"
Weaver and his wife took Anderson, her older sister
and the girls' mother into their Chicago home after
their father died in 1931. Anderson was only four.
It was the Depression, and Weaver took whatever jobs
he could to support the
"Years later, I thought he worked so hard to raise what
he considered his family. And I don't suppose we ever
could have been grateful enough for what he did for
us," Anderson said.
Anderson said her uncle never talked to her about his
banishment from baseball as a member of the infamous
Black Sox. He taught her and her sister how to catch
and throw, and he gave baseball tips to neighbourhood
After he died in 1956 at age 65, Anderson heard from
Weaver's widow, her aunt, how much he had missed the
According to Fletcher, Weaver continually pushed for
reinstatement - as soon as one year after he was banned
and as late as 1953. He wanted to manage a team or serve
as a scout, but Landis and his successor as commissioner,
Albert "Happy" Chandler, turned him down.
"Landis wanted me to tell him something that I didn't
know," Weaver said in a 1954 interview with author James
T. Farrell. "I didn't have any evidence."
Whether the "Clear Buck" campaign has any hope of getting
Weaver reinstated isn't clear. He isn't eligible for
the Hall of Fame because he only played nine seasons
- one short of the requirement.
"He never gave up the fight, which is why it's good
that other people have taken up the fight for him,"
said Gabriel Schechter, a research associate in the
library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. "It would
just be speculation on whether anything will happen
Selig did not answer repeated requests for comment by
The Associated Press for this story. But last month,
he sent Fletcher a letter.
"As you know this is a very sensitive matter that none
of my predecessors have seen fit to overturn," Selig
wrote, "but certainly at the very least we ought to
thoroughly review it, and that's what we are doing."
Jerome Holtzman, the official historian for Major League
Baseball, said of the more than a dozen players who
have been banned from baseball, he considers Weaver
the only one who "has a chance to be reinstated, or
at least should be considered for reinstatement."