Follett, 'Black Sox' niece, dies at 89

By M.K. Guetersloh
Pontiac bureau chief - An article from The Pantagraph - Bloomington-Normal, Illinois

PONTIAC -- Marjorie Follett has died, but her life's work trying to clear her uncle of the 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" scandal will go on, according to fellow supporters of the cause.

Follett, 89, of Pontiac died early Thursday morning at OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center.

"The torch has been passed. We are saddened by her death, but the campaign continues," Dr. David Fletcher of Champaign said. Fletcher had been working with her on trying to clear George "Buck" Weaver, who was banned from baseball after the "Black Sox" scandal.

Earlier this summer, Follett and her cousin Pat Anderson attended the All-Star Game at U.S Cellular Field in Chicago, or the new Comisky Park, to lobby for their uncle.

She was optimistic that her 30-year effort to reverse the ban would pay off because Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was looking into reinstating former Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose.

Selig appointed Chicago sports historian Jerome Holtzman to investigate the Weaver case a few years ago, but no decision has been made.

Fletcher said Follett was instrumental in helping launch the ClearBuck.com campaign during the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago. She fielded questions from the media and explained the cause to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"We admired her ageless spirit and enthusiasm and appreciated the stories she shared of life with her Uncle Buck," Fletcher said on behalf of those who helped create ClearBuck.com. "For more than 30 years Marjorie has taken her uncle's case to reporters, authors, historians and baseball commissioners. We are honored to continue to champion her cause. She will be deeply missed by all."

In previous interviews with The Pantagraph, Follett reminisced about her uncle, who looked after her grandparents and her family.

She talked about the trips she would take from Pontiac to Chicago as a young girl to visit her aunt and uncle. During her visits, Weaver doted on her by taking her shopping at Marshall Field's, where he bought her dresses and patent leather shoes, Follett said.

And during those interviews, Follett vehemently argued that Weaver did not participate in the plot by some Chicago White Sox baseball players to throw the 1919 World Series.

Follett was quick to point out Weaver's .324 batting average and that as third baseman, he did not commit any fielding errors in the series.

"He played eight games of flawless baseball," Follett said. "If he was guilty of anything, it was being true to his teammates."

Services for Follett are scheduled for 1 p.m. today at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Pontiac.

Contact M.K. Guetersloh at pontiac@pantagraph.com

 

 

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