Buck Weaver Spat Chaw On Her Crutches

Everyone here knows the story of Buck Weaver, one of the "8 men out" from the 1919 Black Sox tossed World Series. Buck had refused to to take the money or give anything less than his all, but was still banned because he knew the fix was in but didn't say anything.

What most people don't know is that Buck is the only member of that group that never left Chicago...

Carol Lavine was an exceptional high school athlete at Proviso from 1939-1943, playing basketball, golf, running track & field. But her first love was baseball, and she was skilled enough to be playing for several Chicago area industrial teams beginning at age 15. Back then they'd pass the hat to pay for the umps and parks, and divvy the rest among themselves, averaging about $25 per game. Not bad money for a high school kid! Then PK Wrigley came a callin'...

1943 was the inaugural year of the All-American Girls' Baseball League, and Wrigley personally recruited Carol to play for the Rockford Peaches. She was flattered/honored, especially since she'd grown up a Cubs fan. But she declined because she didn't want to move from Melrose Park to Rockford. If she HAD accepted, she'd have been immortalized in the Penny Marshall film "A League Of Their Own". Then Charlie Bidwell came a callin'...

Charlie was the owner of the Chicago Cardinals, and helped PK bankroll the AAGBL in '43. In 1944 he decided to cash in on the popularity of girls baseball in the Chicago area, and created the National Girls Baseball League, which included his team, the Bluebirds. Once again, Carol was recruited to turn pro and this time she accepted. After signing her $1200 contract all was looking rosy until she was hit by a drunk driver. She lived, but her leg injuries ended her playing days at the age of 18.

What does all this have to do with Buck Weaver? Well, he was the manager of the Chicago Bluebirds (while Red Grange was the league president). And since Bidwell honored the crippled Carol's contract, she'd dutifully hobble to the games to support her teammates. She'd sit in the dugout, storing her crutches under the bench. Loving baseball as much as she did, knowing she'd likely never play again, she was thrilled when Buck chose to sit next to her and relate stories from his playing days. Until she went to retrieve her crutches after that game. They were literally covered in Buck's spat tobacco juice.

Buck Weaver lived until 1956, and spent every one of those days trying to clear his name.

Carol Lavine Smith, my mother in law, lived until this week.

RIP, Mom. You'll be missed.

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