George Daniel “Buck” Weaver was in the prime of what was playing out to be a long and productive career. He was 28 years old, already the owner of one World Series ring and playing for a team that appeared to be on course to win another just two seasons later.
It would all unravel as the 1920s began to unfold, fairly or not. Caught up in the Black Sox scandal, Weaver would be done by age 30. Now, a possibly one-of-a-kind photo dating to that season—possibly within days of the infamous 1919 World Series—is on the auction block.
The 8×10 photo of the ever-smiling Sox third baseman, with a September 30, 1919 file date stamped on the back, is being offered as one of the featured attractions in the RMY Auctions Summer Premier catalog where a four-figure price is expected.
The full-length image shows Weaver’s glove tucked into the back pocket of his flannel pants, which appear to be stained with dirt and tobacco juice. One of baseball’s best defensive infielders, Weaver was known as the only third baseman against whom Ty Cobb would not try to lay down a bunt. Handy with a bat, Weaver hit .296 and led the American League with 571 at bats in 1919.
Originally property of the Graphic New Bureau, the photo includes a caption on back and the contents touting Weaver’s talents, combined with the NEA stamp on the back would seem to indicate it may have been used or under consideration for use in a newspaper preview of the series against the Cincinnati Reds. Weaver batted .324 in the Series and argued forcefully that he didn’t participate in the scheme to lose the Series on purpose, but was banned for life after the 1920 season for not divulging that some of his teammates had been meeting with gamblers.
The date stamped on the back of the photo is September 29, 1919—a day after the Sox had concluded the regular season. The World Series wouldn’t begin until October 1, so while the photo wasn’t taken during the World Series, it may have been snapped late in the season.
It’s one of more than 1,300 images in the auction, which is set to run through August 8.