Look through pictures of deadball era baseball players and the number of smiling faces is somewhat rare.
Buck Weaver was the exception.
It’s rare to find a photo of Weaver when he’s not smiling for the photographer. By all accounts, it was his nature to be upbeat and friendly, back to his days on the sandlots of Pennsylvania. His one-for-all approach combined with his well rounded skills as a player led him to the Chicago White Sox.
He would need to dig deep into his well of positivity by his 30th birthday.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned Weaver from pro baseball for life, even though all evidence pointed to the popular Weaver not going along with plans of some teammates to throw the World Series in 1919. His crime? Knowing of the plan and not sounding the alarm to management. It was, in essence, a stern warning shot to other players both then and in the future, that if they saw or heard something, to say something or suffer the same fate.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is an 8×10 image of Weaver from that season as the White Sox rolled to the American League pennant.
The newspaper photo includes the original caption on the back, where there’s also a pencil date filled in by some long ago editor of September 27, the last day of the 1919 regular season. One of only two known original copies, RMY calls it “one of the finest images of Weaver that exists in any form.” A crease and pinholes offer evidence as to its heavy use in publication efforts decades ago.
The photo is one of more than 600 in an auction that ends Saturday, October 9.
Weaver was approaching the apex of his career when the scandal broke. He had hit .324 in the Series, with four doubles.
As the case made its way through the courts and commissioner’s office in 1920, Weaver kept playing and despite what had to be some external pressure, had the best season of his career.
After his banishment, he continued playing semi-pro ball and participated in numerous barnstorming tours, while pleading his case for a reinstatement that never came.