My name is Melissa Dickson. I'm 23 years old and live in central Illinois.
I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family. My mom taught me how to be a good Catholic, my dad taught me how to be a good White Sox fan.
When I was younger I was introduced to Field of Dreams. Always an inquisitive girl, I immediately went and picked up a copy of 8 Men Out from the library. I don't remember understanding much about gambling and the League of Gentlemen or what the American or National leagues were, or much else about the game at the age of 9 or 10, but I do remember feeling an intense passion for Buck Weaver.
I understood the basics of the fix. Thanks to Kevin Costner and my own father explaining it to me, I tried to fill in the pieces by reading the book about the 8 men who threw the world series.
By the time I was in high school I had read the book over and over again. I learned more about baseball and filled in the details as I grew up. I realized what a fastball was, a double play, and why/how Eddie Cicotte helped throw the world series games by taking "a little something" off his fastball and double fisting the ball to miss an easy double play.
I was a fanatic by my sophomore year of high school. I lived, ate, and breathed Chicago White Sox baseball. My history teacher, also a large baseball fan, used to let me use his computer to check the scores when the season started and during the post-season. I hated day games because I was always in class for them, and was glad not to be a Cub fan so I could spend my nights watching baseball with my family.
The more I grew up the more I realized I could control my own destiny when it came to baseball. I went to spring training, instructional league, and made it to every White Sox game I possibly could.
Now, at the age of 23, I am living with a roommate in Peoria who I successfully converted into a Sox fan this past summer. I'll never forget the crazy look she gave me when I fell to the floor crying when Buehrle pitched his perfect game in July, or how she laughed at me and told everyone at the bar about it that night. I took her to her first sox game against LAA, and spent the day game explaining why the American League had a DH, what extra bases were, how to calculate OBP and why it was the most crucial stat in batting to understand.
The father in front of us turned around and told me how impressed with my knowledge he was, and I realized how my father must have felt explaining the game to me as I was growing up. Mark Kotsay hit a home run and my roommate and best friend, Amanda, now wants me to get his card signed at SoxFest. I'm excited to do so.
Amanda calls me her "party trick." She bartends on Tuesday nights so almost every Tuesday, even though I'm usually not drinking, I'll go up and keep her company. It's a smaller bar and almost everyone are regulars, but my favorite thing to do is ask everyone who their favorite ballplayer of all time is, and then debate with them on why mine is better.
I don't think it's hard to figure out who I debate about. George "Buck" Weaver. Ive had grown men tear up as I explained Weavers passion, love, and child-like joyfulness he always had about playing baseball. How he was nicknamed "Buck" because he was always smiling, always happy because he was on the field, and just had a chance to play. I'm not sure if it's because I will, on more than one occasion, tear up myself when I'm talking about him, or if it's just because (and I hope) they are remembering their own love for the game and are touched by how a player embodied it so well.
I recently decided that while my family and friends call me a walking billboard for Buck Weaver's reinstatement, purely talking about him to people wasn't going to help. I needed to do something. I needed to get involved. The cause for Buck Weavers reinstatement seems to have taken a back seat to a lot of other things in MLB, including one for Joe Jackson who, unlike Weaver, really did throw the 1919 world series.
Mark Mcgwire recently came out and admitted his use of steroids. Hank Aaron forgave him. Aaron cited that if that was all it took to get Mcgwire into the hall of fame, that we should all follow his example. A player who admittedly used steroids to "cheat" the game of baseball is being petitioned to go into the hall of fame and the man hasn't even been banned from baseball. Buck Weaver had the ultimate joy in his life stricken of him without even the chance to become a batting coach for a semi-pro team, let alone work in The Show. Although he is now passed away, it is time to do right by Weaver and lift the ban that tortured him his whole life.
In order for this to be possible, the commissioner of baseball needs to re-instate Weaver. There are many petitions for him to be re-instated, including the most successful, http://www.clearbuck.com/. Selig has pretty much guaranteed that he wont reinstate Weaver, but there's a larger chance with Selig's reign ending in 2012 that the new commissioner will.
In order for this to happen, awareness needs to be spread and more people need to help Weaver's cause. Not many fans my age or in my generation know about Weaver and I'm afraid that, like a lot of things in baseball, his importance will be diminished and ultimately as well, forgotten.
So I welcome and appreciate you all following me through my journey to get Weaver reinstated. I don't know how long it will take or if it will ever happen, but I intend on documenting everything I do. I also will be blogging about the White Sox, and events I am at or going to. Please don't ever hesitate to get the word out or ask me any questions.
You can all contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook.com (Melissa Dickson). I have an iPhone that never leaves my side so please don't ever hesitate to get ahold of me for any reason relating to baseball. :)
Thanks for following and supporting and as always,
We Are Chicago Baseball