Thursday, January 28, 2010

Right Man, Right Hat, Wrong Attitude

The greatest honor bestowed on someone who works in the professional baseball world is to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Most men greet this induction with professionalism, excitement, and gratitude. After all, it takes a vote of 75% of more for a player to be inducted, and for most, years and a ton of lobbying to get to that point.

This year Andre Dawson (nicknamed "The Hawk") was elected into the hall of fame after 8 years of being on the ballot. This is not a blog to argue if he should be in the Hall or not. I am 100% in agreement that he should have been elected and am extremely excited for him.

This is about the exhausting bellyaching that he has been doing about not being inducted into the Hall with a Cubs hat on.

Andre Dawson became a household name with the Chicago Cubs. I don't even know many White Sox fans who were or are not fans of his- and rightfully so. He had a stand up season in 1987 with the Cubs winning the NL MVP award with an outstanding 49 home runs and 137 RBI's. For a lot of Cub fans, he was their Frank Thomas of the late 1980s-early 1990s.

If Dawson wants to go in with a Cub hat to the Hall of Fame, that's great, I'm happy for him. I'm also sad for him that he didn't get his wish, but after coming out to the press telling about how he was disappointed in the decision, he didn't let it go. In fact, he mentioned on the 27th that he was "disappointed in the fact, but from there I will move on."

This morning ESPN reported that Dawson has not moved on. In fact he'd done quite the opposite. Dawson now is reporting that he will don a Cubs hat at his induction ceremony.

"I don't want to do anything that might be an embarrassment to someone or show someone up, that's not my character. But there will be some way I will try to acknowledge the Cubs fans to show just how important they were to me. I did think about at some point in time during the speech putting a Cubs cap on, but I don't know if that's appropriate."

To be fair, let me recap a little history for you. In 2001 the Hall of Fame changed the rule to reflect that they would make the executive decision of what logo a player would wear on the cap on his HoF plaque. The reason for this is because some teams were playing unfair and trying to buy out HoF elect's logo decisions. The Tampa Bay Rays offered Wade Boggs money to wear the TB logo on his cap which was clearly unfair and corrupt.

The choice of which logo goes on the cap is the decision of the museum, but the player's preference is always taken into consideration. Dawson after learning of his election had expressed his desire to go in with a Cub logo. The Hall, who's mission it is to preserve the sports history, thought it appropriate to preserve the history of the Montreal Expos and the portion of his career that catapulted him to the status he reached ultimately as a Cub by placing the logo on Dawson's cap.

Either logo would have been appropriate in my opinion, but to look at things historically, the Montreal logo made the most sense. There are many who look at Dawson as the Montreal Expo. The Expos moved to Washington DC in 2004 and renamed themselves the Nationals, and aside from Gary Carter, Dawson is the only other player to be inducted with an Expo's logo on his cap.
Fans who were and still consider themselves to be Expo's fans are disgusted. Carter, Dawson, and Raines were the three of the biggest names in Expo's history. Andre spent the first 11 seasons of his career in Montreal and in 1977 Dawson won the Rookie of the Year award there with a .282 average, 19 Home runs, and 65 RBI's, and was the MVP runner up in 1981 and 1983. Five Expo's represented the team when the 1982 All-Star game was held in Montreal: Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Al Oliver and Rogers, and Andre Dawson.

For Dawson to come out and be so incredibly disgusted with the Hall's choice to use the Expo's logo on his cap is not only a slap in the face to Expo's fans but also the Hall of Fame in general.

If he wanted to express his opinion on the matter, that's fine, but the comments he's been making about the decision is just plain disrespectful.

All this complaining coming from a guy who was running around promising teams that he would go into the Hall with the logo of whatever team he finished his career out with. He ultimately signed an obligatory-logo clause with the Marlins when he went to play with them for the last stint of his professional career. Apparently, it didn't matter then what logo he went into the Hall of Fame with, but now that the clause has been overturned by the Hall's choice to make the ultimate decision theirs, it's suddenly important.

Now, after he's found out of his election, the Cub's were offering to retire his number if he went in with their logo. I just have one question for the Chicago Cubs- when did it become 'ok' to abuse politics in baseball? Isn't this exactly the kind of compensation the HoF was taking into consideration when they adjusted things so that the logo decision would be theirs alone???

Now, everyone knows that it wasn't Andre's decision, but since the HoF takes a player's preference into consideration, lobbying the Hall to go in as a Cub would have helped increase the chances of that happening. Reports of the number-retire buyout surfaced previously but clearly didn't make a difference. Andre lobbied and the Hall declined his partiality.

In addition to all of the complaining, Dawson has also blasted White Sox fan, and President of the United States, Barrack Obama, for not calling him to congratulate him for his election to the Hall.

"I haven't heard from President Obama probably because he's a White Sox fan."

Dawson remarked to the Chicago ESPN affiliate.

Wow. You're right- you haven't heard from Obama because he's a White Sox fan. It's not like he has anything else to do like RUN A COUNTRY. Forget prepping for the State of the Union address- the number one on his "To-Do" list was: Call and congratulate Andre Dawson. But he didn't- ONLY BECAUSE HE'S A WHITE SOX FAN... Are you kidding me?

To me this whole thing seems like a circus act. Andre complaining, the Cubs offering to retire his number, the Hall declining, and Andre lashing back out shows every sign of a media extravaganza.

To the members of the board of the HoF this is a slap in the face. The greatest honor you can receive is to be inducted into Cooperestown. Andre Dawson should be proud to be a member of such an elite group. The Cubs, if they really valued him as a player so much, should retire his number despite what logo Dawson wears on plaque.

Like I said, this blog isn't to debate what logo he should wear, or if he should have been elected into the Hall (and personally, if anyone wants to debate that, there's no point. Not only does the guy have Hall of Fame numbers but for the most part he has a Hall of Fame career class-wise. He was a part of baseball history and deserves his election), or to upset Cub fans. This blog isn't to debate whether or not a player should be able to pick his own logo, but to remind everyone that an election into the Hall is an honor. An election into the Hall of fame is a privilege.

If Andre has a problem with the logo then by all means, he should voice his opinion, but he should not contradict himself, and he should not spend 48+ hours bellyaching and complaining about the decision. Dawson- let it go. Show us what a classy guy you are and stop complaining. Don't wear a Cubs hat during your induction ceremony- it's just inappropriate and a slap in the face to the men who elected to bring you into Cooperstown. You've made your point clear- and Cub fans are aware of your desire to go in as a Cub and your love for Chicago and it's fans.

My advice to you is to wear your Expo's logo proudly and be one of the classy men that the Hall loves to promote. You are one of two (maybe three, because Raines will most likely go in as an Expo as well) to keep the history alive for Montreal. Above all, you are a Hall of Fame inductee. Some men spend 15 years after retirement lobbying to be in the Hall, and the decision of these worthy players now lay on the shoulders of the Veteran's committee.

And if that doesn't put it all in perspective- I leave you with this: Buck Weaver only got to play less than half the time Dawson did in the majors but managed to have over half the games played, hits, runs, and doubles as Andre. Their batting averages .273 (Buck) and .279 (Dawson) respectively were insanely close, as were their OBP- .307 (Buck) and .323 (Dawson). Keeping in mind that Buck Weaver was banned from ball in the heyday of his career, Dawson should feel lucky and exhilarated that he not only got to live out his career as major league player, but also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Andre- start counting your blessings, and get rid of the attitude. Try showing fans of baseball and the fans you love to represent on the Northside of Chicago what it is to be a classy Hall of Famer. Because personally, I'm sick of the complaining and I don't want to hear it anymore.

For reference these are some HoF players who have been associated with multiple teams: (per wiki)
  • Frank Robinson: Robinson chose to have the Orioles cap displayed on his plaque, although he had played ten seasons with the Reds and six seasons with Baltimore. Robinson won four pennants and two World Series with the Orioles and one pennant with Cincinnati. His second World Series ring came in the 1970 World Series against the Reds. His numbers with the Orioles and the Reds were very good and he won an MVP award while playing for each team.
  • Catfish Hunter: When elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987, Hunter declined to choose between the teams for which he played — the A's and Yankees— as he had been successful with both teams and maintained good relations with both teams and their respective owners. His plaque shows him wearing a cap without a logo.
  • Nolan Ryan: Born and raised in Texas, Ryan entered the Hall in 1999 wearing a Texas Rangers cap on his plaque, although he spent only five seasons with the Rangers, while having longer and more successful tenures with the Houston Astros (nine seasons, 1980–88 and his record-setting fifth career no-hitter) and California Angels (eight seasons, 1972–79 and the first four of his seven career no-hitters). Ryan's only championship was as a member of the New York Mets in 1969. Ryan finished his career with the Rangers, reaching his 5000th strikeout and 300th win, and throwing the last two of his seven career no-hitters.
  • Reggie Jackson: Jackson chose a New York Yankees cap over an Oakland A's cap. As a member of the Kansas City/Oakland A's, Jackson played ten seasons (1967–75, '87), winning three World Series and the 1973 AL MVP Award. During his five years in New York (1977-81), Jackson won two World Series with his crowning achievement occurring during Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, when he hit three home runs on consecutive pitches.
  • Carlton Fisk: Fisk went into the hall with a Boston Red Sox cap on his plaque in 2000 despite playing with the Chicago White Sox longer and posting more significant numbers with the White Sox. Fisk's choice of the Red Sox was likely because of his being a New England native, as well as his famous walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series with which he is most associated.
  • Dave Winfield: Winfield had spent the most years in his career with the Yankees and had had great success there, but chose to go into the Hall as a Padre due to his feud with Yankees owner George Stienbrenner.
We Are Chicago Baseball

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"The Strongest Thing I put Into my Body Is Steak and Eggs." Chicago Passes on a REAL Class-Act.

Chicago is in an uproar. Last night news broke that the White Sox would not be re-signing Jim Thome as a part of their rotating designated hitter spot. Immediate flashbacks to 2006.

I'd never heard more fans complain than the day we traded Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez, and Daniel Haigwood (the two later being minor leaguers) to Philadelphia. When we found out who we'd got in return, I also can't remember hearing more fans as elated: Jim Thome. Mister power house. Mister home-run hitter. Past the heyday of his career, Jim was still a monster at the plate, and as a home town boy, a hero to all of us respectively. We all loved Jim. There wasn't a fan in the greater Peoria area, or anywhere else in the state that didn't know and adore him.

I'd been a fan of his for years. I'd grown up watching him hit bombs with the Tribe, followed him in Philly, and though I was upset to see Aaron Rowand leave, I couldn't have been happier to get Thome on our team.

It's safe to say that Big Jim had his first career home run on October 4th 1991, and never stopped hitting them.

I don't think I have to go through all of Mr. Incredible's career highlights including a career high 52 home runs in his 2002 season with Cleavland (steroid-free, mind you), his 564 career home runs, his 5 all-star selections, his silver slugger award in 1996, his American League comeback player of the year award with the White Sox in 2006, and his ability to be an insane power-hitter while exhibiting intense control at the plate while leading the AL in walks in 1997, 1999, and 2002.

Beyond what he does on the field, Jim has been nick named the "classiest guy in baseball" by all who have played with him, and most all who have played against him. There is not a nicer, more passionate, respectful man in baseball. All who meet Jim Thome come away from the experience saying that you never expect him to be as nice as he is- but he really is just that nice of a guy.
What other man in baseball hosts a charity even in his home town every year since 1995 and has members of his former team and former manager of the Phillies come to speak on his behalf as a surprise? Jim Thome- that's who. Charlie Manuel and Paul Konerko couldn't have had better things to say about him at the Children's Hospital of Illinois benefit just a week and a half ago.

What Jim does off the field is as amazing as what he does on the field. He has hosted the Children's Hospital Benefit for 15 years and has helped raise over 1.7 million dollars, all of which has been directly contributed to helping provide care to the families at the Children's Hospital of Peoria. The benefit which was originally started by Joyce Thome, Jim's mother, has always had a special place in Jim's heart. He has renamed it and dedicated it to her every year since she passed away in January of 2005.

In addition to the Children's Hospital, Thome (and his wife, Andrea) have been working together with the Konerkos to help with the Children's Home + Aid Society to help with foster children in Illinois. They head up the White Sox Bring Me Home campaign (original post of the campaign and ways that you can donate can be found by clicking this link). Both Konerko and Thome have wrote letters to the Chicago Sun-Times asking lawmakers not to let there be cuts to foster-care services. There is truly no better example of a good, hard working, charitable man as Jim Thome.

Durring the benefit, Paul Konerko told stories about how the team would joke around with Thome just to see if they could get him to act the wrong way just once. They would mess with his key card at hotels, or his food and pull pranks on him, but Jim always stayed composed and classy. That's just the kind of man he is.

"I would be in the dugout after Jim had struck out during a game and he'd come back in and I'd think 'Man, this guy's gonna be mad as can be!' and he'd look at me and say 'Man! I really missed that one...'
-Paul Konerko

Along with being one of the classiest men in baseball, Jim also has been a role model for hundreds of young players who have had the pleasure of playing with and against him. Just recently this year, White Sox rookie Gordon Beckham had an amazing first season in the bigs and attributes a lot of his success to the mentoring given to him by Thome. Jim's teammates said that his approach every day in baseball is as if he had done nothing in this league, and he had everything to prove. What a guy to look up to when you make your big league debut. I couldn't think of anyone better I'd rather be on the field with.

In 2007 Jim was named the friendlies player in baseball by a pool of 464 major leaguers. Jim has always had the up most respect from his team. Konerko would say "When I thought I was good and thought I was something special, I'd look down at Jim and think 'That's good. That's what good is right there."

Even eccentric manager Ozzie Guillen came to his rescue when Texas Rangers reliever CJ Wilson entered a game where his team was up 12-7 in the 9th. After nearly blowing the lead and giving up 4 runs, he struck out Jim Thome and went wild on the mound. Ozzie flew off the handle (anyone surprised is ordered to raise their hand...... now.) and started screaming at Wilson.
Ozzie addressed this issue on Saturday at the town hall meeting at SoxFest. "Jim Thome is the classiest guy in baseball. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame. You don't show up a guy like that. You just don't do it. I don't care who you are." Ozzie expressed shaking his head and making a disgusted motor sound with his mouth at the mention of Wilson's name.

The sheer thought that after 3 years, Ozzie still has such disdain for a player because of the way he treated Thome is a testament right there to Thome's popularity and persona. There will never be another player to play this game that is so well liked and appreciated as Jim Thome is.

Jim will always be one of my personal heroes. No matter where he goes or who he's with I will always cheer him on. Unfortunately he will not be returning with the White Sox this year (which was a mutual agreement for those of you harping on Ozzie. Guillen and Williams want a DH-by-committee during the 2010, and while they offered Thome a chance to sign with the team, while most likely sending Vizquel down to make room for him on the 40-man, Thome declined. You can't blame either party. KW has already spent the money on Kotsay, Jones, and Nix, and Thome wants more at-bats that a DH spot with the Sox could offer him this year). The Twins, Tampa Bay, and Detroit are all interested in him, and where ever he goes I hope he knocks those final 36 home runs out of the park to reach the 600 club. There is no man in active baseball who deserves it more, and I look forward to seeing Jim in Cooperstown one day.

I will never forget watching him hit his 500th home run, or his blast during the Black Out Game against the Twins in 08. He has provided some great memories for me as a Sox fan, but mostly as a baseball fan. Good luck Jim, in everything you do!

We Are Chicago Baseball

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Chicago Baseball Museum- Keeping our History Alive

"Baseball is a game dominated by vital ghosts; it's a fraternity, like no other we have of the active and the no longer so- the living and the dead."- Richard Gilman

One of the earliest lessons taught to us as young children is that those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it. There is only one instance in which I can consider that a positive- and that's when it comes to baseball. In baseball, those who dont remember the past are doomed to forget it, and that seems like a worse punishment.

Ballplayers always remark of how they grew up watching players who they asipred to be like, and coaches call on managers and coaches from their past that they were taught by.

Most of us can recall a player or two that we specifically remember growing up listening to stories of, or watching as a young child who really touched our hearts. For me, that was Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt was staple of my young child hood, but I grew up listening to stories of guys like Dick Allen, Richie Zisk, etc. Rarely however, do I remember hearing much about the players pre-1959 "Go Go Sox" era.

In fact, not until I in my early teens did I really open my eyes up to players who marked the times at the turn of the century, or in the roaring 20's, or durring the Depression Era. Guys like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio I had heard of, of course, but I dug deeper and read about Christy Matthewson, Lefty Grove, Mel Ott, Goose Goslin, and Grover Cleveland. I could name the entire starting line up for the 1917 and 1919 White Sox team by the time I was 15. Still everyone around me seemed to be talking about the players "today." A-Rod, Jeter, the power houses of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, McGwire and Sosa, etc. Not once did I ever hear someone say "Hey, CC Sabathia just won his 28th game this season."

In fact, in 2001 when Sabathia tore up the American League going 17-5, I remember being looked at strangly in my home room when I chimed in "Lefty Grove had a 31-4 record one year when he played." "Who the HELL is Lefty Grove?" a kid asked, looking at me like I was the biggest idiot. Clearly I had been talking about someone who played in the minors, or little league, or who had had some steller freshman college career that maybe they might want to hear about for drafting reasons.

I sunk back in my chair and went back to doing homework. I felt stupid explaining to them who Hall of Famer, Lefty Grove, was and how he had completed 8 of his 17 major league seasons with 20+ wins. The guy played back in the 1920's and 1930's. No one cared about him right now. At least not a bunch of 15 year old teenage kids. Right now they cared about Roy Oswalt and CC Sabathia and Ichiro Suzuki.

I cared about Lefty Grove, and Buck Weaver, and Shoeless Joe Jackson. I still come close to tears thinking about the hard work men like them put into the game. At 23 years of age I sometimes run into the occassional die hard fan who wants to talk about Eddie Cicotte or Lefty Williams with me (dont get confused- Lefty Williams and Lefty Grove are not the same people. Back before the 1980's EVERYONE in baseball had nicknames, and a lot of them got repeated). It's usually guys in their late 20's who want to sit and have a drink and talk about the "good old days" as if they had actually been there, and usually they play or have played a professional sport.

However, what about those guys who dont know about the greatest players to ever play the game? Not just Ted Williams or Dimaggio or Ruth, but right here in our own back yard. What about Eddie Cicotte, Lefty Williams, Ray Schalk, Happy Felsch, Buck Weaver, Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins and Jimmy Adair, Johnny Evers, Vic Aldridge, Grover Alexander, Jimmy Archer, Frank Chance and Joe Tinker? Obviously just to name a few.

I'm a Chicago White Sox fan but I have the upmost respect and appreciation for the Chicago Cubs organization. They have turned some of the greatest players to ever play the game out into baseball and I will always be thankfull and respectfull towards men who put up numbers like Ryne Sandberg,Ernie Banks, and Andre Dawson. Chicago is rich and full in baseball history. In all of the places I have lived since I was out of high school, I have never lived in a place that is so full of baseball excitement as Chicago. Sure, ESPN coins Boston "Red Sox Nation" and New York is "Yankee Town," but Chicago has the Cubs and the Sox.

Chicago has a 1/2 century old rivalry that puts Yanks/Mets to shame. Chicago has turned out some of the greatest names in baseball history- both in players, managers, owners, and coaches. Chicago has brought excitement, and sadness to it's fans. Defeat and elation, joy and exhaustion, as year after year the Southside and Northside teams duke it out with their respective National and American League counterparts for a division title.

The Sox/Cubs fan sterotypes and rivalry plague Chicago like a black blanket sweeping over the town as soon as the first pitch of opening day is thrown in both parks across town, and doesn't end until late into the fall when the last out is made. Some will debate that the rivalry doesnt even end then- it's just masked by a mutual love for the Bears or Blackhawks while we all patiently wait for Cubs Convention and SoxFest when we can start ribbing eachother again.

But in the grand scheme of things, whether we bleed Cubby Blue or know that Good Guys Wear Black, none of that matters because we are Chicago fans. We may hate the Sox, or hate the cubs, but we love baseball. We love the history, rich and exotic. We love the stories of the mind-numbingly brilliant ballplayers who have graced the streets of our town. We retire numbers and put pictures on outfield walls to honor the late greats who have come before us. We erect statues outside on Clark and Addison, and 35th and Shields, so that our children will never forget the men who made the game of baseball great in the windy city.

We have virtually turned Chicago into our own Cooperstown, but what if we had the chance to go somewhere and visit and learn about the history of Chicago Baseball? What if there were an actual place where we could take our children, bright and eager to learn of Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso? Where we could teach them about the reign of Bill Veeck on the Southside and of Harry Caray's exceptional broadcast excellence on the Northside?

What's best about the idea- is that it's a possibility.

Dr. David Fletcher has been working to erect The Chicago Baseball Museum for a few years now. Once just a dream of his, he has brought it so close to be reality that he, and Conrad "Connie" Kowal can smell it. Both huge baseball advocates, they understand the importance of keeping the history of baseball alive in Chicago. They have founded the Chicago Baseball Museum out of passion and love for the game, and continue to work to help bring it into existance for all baseball fans in the city.

Right now it's in it's beginning stages and continues to grow due to the generoicity and excitment of Chicago's very own plans. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it "collects, preserves, documents, researches, and interpruts artifacts and events which are associated with the legacy, evolution and contemporary life of Chicago baseball." (

The dream of the CBM (which has so amazingly agreed to let me work with them to promote awarness for their campaign and the campaigns for Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson) is to become a place to exhibit gallerys for Chicago Baseball including the Cubs, White Sox, the Chicago Negro Leagues, both the minor and major leagues, 16" Softball, and Chicago Baseball Broadcasting.

The CBM will include seminars, speaking events, galleries, programs, workshops, lectures, debates, baseball skill workshops, fundraising galas, festivels, community events, etc. However to make this all a reality, the CBM needs your help. In order to get on it's feet the CBM first and foremost needs a location. Already the proud owners of the Jerome Holtzman collection, the CBM could open easily within 2 weeks if it had a location. In order to get a location the CBM needs funding. This is where you all come in.

The CBM is a 501(c)(3) which means your donations are tax deductable. So all you simply have to do is donate. There are 4 levels of donation including

The CBM Single ($25)
-recieve a comemorative label pin

The CBM Double ($50)
-reieve a Chicago Baseball Museum long sleeved t-shirt

The CBM Triple ($75)
-receive the CBM-produced DVD Documentary, “Buck O’Neil and Black Baseball in Chicago

The CBM Home run ($100)
-receive CBM commemorative Lapel Pin
-receive CBM commemorative Long Sleeve T-Shirt
-receive the CBM-produced DVD Documentary, “Buck O’Neil and Black Baseball in Chicago

Of course, donations of any kind are always appreciated. There are a few ways you can do this. One is by following the link here.

You can contact the CBM at:


The Chicago Baseball Museum
Attention Dr. David Fletcher
1611 W. Harrison, Suite 351
Chicago Il, 60612

or you are welcome to contact me for ANY information, brochures, etc


In order to preserve and help keep the history of Chicago Baseball alive, we as fans, in this town that loves baseball more than anything else, need to ban together to and make this possbility into a reality. I equate it to the Buck Weaver campaign. It might take a while to get done, but it's going to happen.

We're a baseball town. We need to teach the ins and outs of this amazing sport to our children. And when we pass away there needs to be something there to help our children teach their children even more throughlly about this sport so that they dont forget Algren's Ode to Shoeless Joe or Tinker-To Evers-To Chance.

So donate. I couldn't think of a better cause for a historical aspect in Chicago. In a few years, take your children to see pictures and still movies of your favorite baseball hero's. Join panels to discuss the 1919 Black Sox scandal (don't be suprised when you see me there!), go to community events and utalize all of our favorite sport. Become a part of a cause today, that will keep baseball history alive tomorrow.

We Are Chicago Baseball

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SoxFest: A Look at the 2010 Season

All of the questions during the off season about whether pitcher Matt Thornton or newly acquired JJ Putz were going to take over the coveted main closer position were put to rest first thing on Friday at SoxFest.

"He looks the best I've ever seen him," said Sox GM Kenny Williams.
"Bobby Jenks is going to be my closer until he can't be my closer anymore," Ozzie followed up on Saturday morning during the AM seminar.

News broke late last Saturday evening that both Jenks and outfielder Carlos Quentin had avoided arbitration by signing 1-year multi million dollar contracts. Bobby's didn't come without stipulations. Last year plagued by kidney stones, fatigue, and injuries, Jenk's ERA went up and his time spent on the mound went down. KW deemed these things "fat man" problems. Both he and Ozzie mad it clear to Bobby that he needed to downsize, and fast.

After a quick outburst to about what he thought were comments singling him out after the 2009 season, Bobby did just that. Reports surfaced quickly Friday evening at Sox fest about the weight he'd dropped, and the Chicago Sports beat writers sat around talking about how great Bobby looked. Joe Cowley reported that he looked as though he had lost nearly 30 pounds, and Jenks followed up that it was "all in his shoes."

During the morning seminar I couldn't get over the love fest going on for Jenks. "They should rename this 'Jenks Q&A/Appraisal with KW and OZ" I tweeted around 10am.

"This pitching, our 1-11 guys,
is probably the most solid we've had in a long time"
-Kenny Williams

Good thing, because we all know pitching wins games.
Of course another topic that fans couldn't get enough of was the topic of the DH. The first question brought to KW's attention when he arrived 15 minutes before Ozzie, Ed Farmer, and Darrin Jackson was about the re-signing of Thome. The first fan stood up and remarked "Whats going on with Thome? We're hearing it's 50/50 now."

"Well when a reporter says it's 50/50 isn't he really saying 'We don't know what the HELL is going on.'?" Kenny replied which brought laughter to the room. Avoiding the question a little bit, he followed with "You know I lobbied for Ozzie to let me come in as a DH but he told me that I couldn't hit even when I was younger." Kenny Williams is no stranger to the fact that a good chuckle will usually get a questioners mind off of things, but 3 minutes later the question resurfaced again. "It's really up to Ozzie. If that's how Ozzie wants to do things then we'll do it. If not, then Thome will always be a part of the [future] White Sox family."

Ozzie followed up that we would all know the Thome/DH situation by the time he leaves for Miami, which is slated as tomorrow evening.

For now I'm guessing Thome will end up with the Twins. If Ozzie breaks down and decides we really do need a big bat like Jim's in our line up and that a rotating DH is best for him, then I'll be very surprised. However with Kotsay and Jones in the DH spots, I find it hard to believe that we'll actually sign Big Jim.

So what about this rotating DH spot? KW and Ozzie were addressed that question this morning at the seminar too. Ozzie remarked after the fan finished speaking and the crowd sighed and booed, tired of hearing the words "designated hitter" in every other question, "You guys boo because it keeps getting brought up, but every time someone says DH, these guys [the media and beat writers] do this.. (put their heads down to listen and pens to their pads of paper as if KW and Oz will say something new)"

Speaking of the National League, former northside outfielder, Juan Pierre was acquired by the Sox this off season and welcomed with open arms at SoxFest as well. Some fans voiced their opinion of how they would have rather had Scott Podsednik, who had arguably one of his best hitting seasons with the Sox last year, but Ozzie and Kenny reassured us that Juan fit in perfectly with the Sox and that they just couldn't give Pods a multi-year deal the way he wanted.

The issue of our infield was probably one of the most fun topics for me to listen to. Any of you who follow me on twitter know I was tweeting like crazy the entire time at Sox Fest. (I even had some fellow tweeters come and find me while I was having a glass of wine at Potters in the Palmer House Hotel where the event took place.) One of the most fun ways to keep up with the players and what was going on at different seminars was by following newly acquired 3rd baseman Mark Teahen. On twitter as ESPY_TEAHEN (apparently its supposed to be his dog's twitter page.....) he tweeted how excited he was for SoxFest, how awesome his teammates were, and how he was excited to sign autographs. "BREAKING NEWS!" he tweeted around 10am this morning, "Looks like im going to be wearing #23." Robin Ventura fans, I'm sure, will have something to say about this, but it's nice the kid was so excited about getting his jersey number.

Kenny and Ozzie talked up our infield whenever they were addressed questions about whether putting Beckham at 2nd base was the right decision (which was quite often because, you know, we as fans clearly know more than Ozzie or Kenny put together do about where our players should field on a day-to-day basis...............), and talked about how great Teahen was going to be, and how we would have one of the best defensive infields that the team had seen in a while.

Tweeting away like crazy, I see a new tweet from Mark Teahen just as Ozzie and Kenny are talking up his praises. "KC I apologize. I love @Boulevard_beer," he said in regards to his tweet the night before about how Goose Island 312 was delicious and Boulevard beer had nothing on it. "I got a little wrapped up in the big city lights last night and let the 312 do my twiiting."

I paused, laughed at the irony, and immediately facebooked: "So, I'm sitting in seminar with KW and Ozzie Guillen who are praising Mark Teahen and his defensive fielding, and as Im listening to this, Teahen himself is twittering apologizing to a beer for his favoritism of another beer last night. I'm not sure if I'm in love with this guy or if I should be nervous about a hung over third baseman all season."

Probably the sweetest and most heart warming (this is where the girl in me comes out) part of the panel was when Ozzie interrupted Kenny Williams speaking as a little baby boy came running across the stage. Ozzie put his microphone down, ran to the child with open arms, scooped him up and held him in an embrace. The crowd resounded with "awwww," as we quickly realized it was Mark Buehrle's son, Braden, who Ozzie apparently has a very close relationship with.

What excited me the most was Ozzie's demands that our team play small ball this summer. He and Kenny voiced that he didn't want to put all the pressure on long-ball hitters, but instead wanted our guys to focus on driving in as many runs as they could in a productive manner. Kenny remarked that "that doesn't mean I wouldn't love to pick up Pujols and stick him in the middle of our lineup," but made it clear that small was the name of the game, and that's what they were sticking to.

All-in-all, questions were addressed well so far at SoxFest. I'm excited that Jenks is healthy and our bullpen is going to be productive, that the young guys in our infield have a good chemistry and will hopefully execute defensively as well, and excited to see how this rotating DH will work for the team this year. After everything I couldn't be more excited for the season, and for those of you as pumped for spring training as I am, Ed Farmer wanted to remind everyone that 1) he hates the yankees, and 2) spring training broadcast will begin March 4th.

Well, that's all for tonight, tomorrow I will address something near and dear to my heart, the Chicago Baseball Museum. Look for a new blog before midnight and as always,
We Are Chicago Baseball

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fisk Blasts Steroid Users

The recent revelations and admissions of steroid use by baseball stars such as Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez came as no big news to Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk.

"I didn't just find this out," Fisk told the Tribune Tuesday from Florida. "I worked hard in the gym to look like I did and feel like I felt. (Catching) took a toll on me, too. A lot of people knew. Nobody wanted to really address the issue.

"But when you have some of these obscene numbers being put up by people who shouldn't even be there. … I mean, you know what's going on. … The people it should have been most obvious to are the people who covered it up by not addressing it."

Some critics have blamed the media for not being more vigilant during the '80s and '90s. Others say the players who were clean should have exposed the cheats. And some say that Major League Baseball dropped the ball because it took so long to adopt stringent testing.

"You don't blame people for not ratting them out; you blame the people who abused the pharmaceutical world," Fisk said. "It's not like you are taking a couple of aspirin and you don't know what's going on. (Non-prescription steroid use has been) a federal offense for a long time, regardless of whether baseball was recognizing it and putting rules into place. The people who did it … they were breaking the law to start with. It doesn't have to be a baseball law. They knew what they were doing and the reason they were doing it. Now they are sorry because they are getting called out."

Fisk blasted McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and other alleged or admitted steroid abusers in baseball, calling McGwire's recent claim that steroids did not help him hit more home runs "a crock."

"(McGwire) says, 'Well, it doesn't help eye-and-hand coordination.' Well, of course it does. It allows you more acuity physically and mentally and optically. You are going to be stronger and you are going to be better," said Fisk, who starred for the Red Sox and White Sox.

"Some of these numbers that are out there are really warped. Should they be considered? You saw how McGwire was viewed in the Hall of Fame voting. If you take the length of time that (steroid abusers) use that stuff and subtract 15 or 20 home runs a year for those guys, where are their numbers then?"

McGwire, the new Cardinals hitting coach, apologized last week for his steroid use as a player but claimed steroids had nothing to do with him hitting 70 homers in 1998.

"That's a crock," Fisk said. "There's a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs. That's what it does — performance enhancement. You can be good, but it's going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average. Some guys who went that route got their five-year, $35 million contracts and now are off into the sunset somewhere. Because once they can't use (steroids) anymore, they can't play anymore.

"And steroids, during that time, probably did as much to escalate players' salaries as did free agency, as did arbitration, and all of that stuff. It did more than just put home runs up on the board or money in the guys' pocket."

McGwire said the steroids merely helped him stay in the lineup because of injuries he had sustained.

"Try having your knees operated on and catching for 30 years," Fisk said. "Do you think you feel good when you go out there? (McGwire) had to stand around and play first base. So excuuuuuse me."

Fisk also took a shot at accused steroid user Roger Clemens.

"The reason he got let go from the Red Sox was because he was starting to break down," Fisk said. "His last couple of years in Boston just weren't very productive, a la 'The Rocket.' Then all of a sudden he goes to Toronto and he wants to show somebody something. Then he gets two consecutive Cy Young Awards (in '97 and '98). Come on, give me a bucket.

"It's obvious to players. You notice that stuff. You know how hard it is to play the game. You know how hard it is to be productive at any age, but especially at an older age. You see guys who are as productive later on as they were early (in their careers). It offends guys that stayed clean. But (the abusers) set their great, great, great grandchildren up for the rest of their lives.

"Guys are bigger, guys are stronger, granted. Strength and conditioning and all of the knowledge that goes into being a bigger, better and stronger athlete is at everybody's disposal right now. Guys are bigger and stronger. Better? I don't know about that. But there is more stuff available to guys today.

"I think back to when baseball was scuffling to recapture the passion of the American fan after the '94 season. I think baseball and everybody involved in the decision-making at every level just turned their head and said: 'This is good for baseball, look at the prosperity of the game. It's growing and growing and growing.'

"And now it's (in bad shape) because it wasn't addressed back when the rest of us knew. How did that guy (using steroids) outgrow his uniform?"

(original story can be found here)

It's not a suprise to any of you who know me that my favorite player for the Sox right now is AJ Pierzynski. I like my ballplayers scrappy. I like to see a guy who gets foul tipped and picks up dirt and throws it at Johnny Damon durring his at-bat. I like a guy who covers the plate durring a game as if his life depended on it and gets into a brawl with Michael Barret. I love a guy who is smart enough as a catcher to reach on a dropped strike three durring the ALCS.
I love a guy who proudly proclaims "Schilling and Bonds are both retired now so I'm number one!" (most hated player in baseball)
I absolutley cant stop telling people about the "legend" of AJ kneeing Giant's trainer Stan Conte in the groin when he asked AJ how it felt getting beamed there. "Like this." he supposedly replied.
I've been told my a pretty repitable source that the last story is just that- a story. It's about as true as Babe Ruth calling his own home run, but I love it. It sounds like something AJ would do, and I've never even personally met him.
I like AJ for another reason too. He reminds me of Pudge.
I grew up watching guys like Ozzie Guillen, Carlton Fisk, Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas, and the like. One of my favorite stories is when Fisk was playing against Deion Right-now-im-a-baseball-player Sanders who hit a routine pop fly and refused to run it out to first, assuming it would be easily caught. His next time at-bat Fisk let him know what he thought about how offensive it was for him to act so lazy when it came to the game he loved so much.
"If you dont respect this game I'm going
to kick your ass right now."
Carlton Fisk is a lover of baseball. I think we all can take a lesson from him and his opinions. Part of me hopes AJ speaks out like this when he's retired as a ballplayer but I'm not ignorant enought to think that he can put up the numbers or games caught that Fisk did before beind inducted into the hall, nor would be probably make a stance on such issues. Carlton continues to be a staple of Southside tradition and I'm proud to have watched him play as a young girl.
Enjoy your weekend & remember,
We Are Chicago Baseball.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thome: Hard Work, Professionalism, Class, Perspective, Unselfishness.

My Son, Adler, and I on his first birthday

I used to tell everyone when I was younger that if I ever got to meet Jim Thome, I would cry my eyes out.

People thought I was exaggerating.

In the summer of 2007 I did meet him. Walking into a local restaurant I saw him and actually DID start crying. "What's wrong?" he asked me. "Im wearing your shirt," I sniffed out in between tears. He promptly signed my "Thome" shirt that I had been wearing after softball practice, talked to me for a good 5 minutes and was genuinely intrigued by my love for the game. I told him about how I grew up watching him, and that he had been one of my favorite players since he was with the Tribe, even thought my family were all Sox fans. He smiled, took a picture with me and was genuinely the nicest guy I'd ever met.

I've met Jim a few times since then, and every time he's been just as nice. Up until he left the Sox when people asked me who my favorite player on the team was I would reply "right now, or of all time?" Jim Thome was my "right now," (even though Paul Konerko ribbed me jokingly when I told him on Saturday that my favorite player was now AJ Pierzynski) and Buck Weaver, of course, was my "all time."

This last Saturday at the Joyce Thome Benefit for The Children's Hospital of Illinois, Jim was no different. When my friend and beat writer Scott Merkin introduced me to Jim as "this is my friend Melissa, I think you've met before," he smiled and gave me a resounding "Oh yeah! Hi!" as if I was an old friend he hadn't seen for a while. What stuck me the most though during the encounter was the time I spent with Andrea Thome, Jim's equally kind wife.

I immediately told her what a fan I was of her charity. By "her" charity I actually mean the Konerko/Thome charity that both husbands and wives work with. I had recently heard of it this summer through an interview Andrea had done on 670 The Score, and thought it was amazing. As a single mother, I am lucky to have the support system that I do. However, there are many people out there who are left to raise children without that support system, or are forced to put them into foster homes. The Children's Home + Aid Society of Illinois is an organization designed to help those foster children.

Not only is this a great organization that the Thome and Konerko's help out with, but it an old one that has pioneered the fostering idea throughout its almost 150 years in existence. The Children's Home + Aid Society of Illinois, founded in 1883, helps more than 40,000 children and families in need a year. According to it's website, it has 70 social service programs throughout 40 Illinois Counties.

This organization is not a small one, it helps with not only foster children, but has pioneered movements in HIV aid and treating, psychological misfortunes in foster children, teen pregnancy, mentoring, enrichment for mothers, and provides such services as Head Start and Early Start in many locations.

Jennifer Konerko, equally beautiful and kind wife of Chicago White Sox 1st baseman, Paul Konerko, came from a family who has adopted quite a few foster children. Both wives have been working for 3 years with the organization and do things such as back-to-school shopping with some of the foster kids. They also head up the White Sox Bring Me Home campaign with Paul and Jim.

This campaign gives the two families a way to really reach out to a lot of Southside fans by sponsoring ways to donate to the cause. Fans can either donate directly and get a chance to win box seats at games, meet and greets, etc, or can even do a "per home run" donation with the same benefits. Even a dollar/home run is a significant contribution to a great cause. However you might want to watch before you donate, both of these men are not unknown for their power at the plate! :)

To donate to this amazing cause, please visit Children's Home + Aid Society . To visit the specific White Sox "Bring Me Home" campaign for official information, please visit this link

As you all know, the entire point of my blog is to increase awareness for Buck Weaver. This campaign is another cause that not many people around this area know about. What Jim, Andrea, Jennifer and Paul do is a testament to the amazing players and people they are both on and off the field. Instead of just donating a large sum of money to an organization, these couples go out of their way to donate time, charity, and love to children who may not have it. You don't have to become a foster parent in order to help out foster kids. Money donated goes to clothes, food, books, school supplies, and resources for the Children's Home + Aid Society.

Another great testament to the large hearts of the Thome's is the Children's Hospital of Illinois benefit that Jim has been hosting for the last 15 years. This charity has helped raise over $2 million for the Children's Hospital.

This year the charity included a large silent auction, as well as an entertaining live auction. Included in the live auction were a trip to Prague and Paris (donated by Jim and Andrea Thome), a meet and greet with Paul Konerko and tickets to a Sox game, a trip to Dallas, Texas for a NASCAR event, and many others.

Including this blurry (thanks to my iPhone),
but recognizable, picture of the
1919 White Sox which went for
way more than what I could afford.
There's Buck laying in the middle
on the ground :)

Present for the event were of course, Paul and Jennifer Konerko, and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Both Paul and Charlie recounted their favorite times with Jim and told fantastic stories of working with him.

"Man, Thome was so green when I was coaching him" remembered Manuel, "I used to think to myself 'He's so green I could stick him in the ground and he would grow'"

Paul gave a fun and entertaining 15 minute speech including the "5 Best things about Jim Thome" (also the title to my blog). He spent the last few minutes of his speech quoting messages from White Sox players and trainers including Gordon Beckham and Mark Buehrle (Beckham who let Jim know there was "no need to thank him for the back messages and rub down I gave you when I was hit less in my first three starts." Buehrle made sure to mention "everybody knows your great, we all know it, all I wanna know is can I go up to your hunting land and kill the geese on your lake.")

Needless to say it was an amazing event. I met some phenomenal people, and got to be a part of a great cause. I'm going to end this blog with my favorite quote form Paul Konerko's stories of anecdotes from the Sox players to Jim.

Paul Konerko: "Okay this is my favorite, this is me writing. 'Hey boys I'm heading to Peoria IL to go to Jim's charity benefit. I have to give a speech to kind of honor Jim. I thought it would be kinda cool to include a couple of thoughts or messages from you guys. It could be anything- something funny, or whatever. I will say it's coming from you when I do the speech. Hope you all are doing well.....' and this is Bobby Jenk's reply.....'Jim who?'"

In the words of Paulie, That will keep you on your toes.
Til next time,
We Are Chicago Baseball.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Steroid Age: A look at McGwire and Weaver.

"Birds of a feather flock together"-Judge Kenesaw Landis, 1922.

Buck Weaver spent his entire life knocking on the door of baseball, only to be turned away. At the age of 63 he voiced to an Oakland, CA reporter that his only hope in life was just to "teach a few kids how to play third." Two years later he passed away. He never got the chance to teach anyone how to play third, how to hit a double down the line, how to throw a guy out at home.

Recently, home-run power hitter Mark McGwire finally came out to admit his use of steroids beginning as early as his 1989 pro season.

"Now was Mark McGwire punished for taking steroids?" my roommate asks me as we sit on the couch watching Everybody Loves Raymond and eating pizza this afternoon.

"Nope. Hes the new hitting coach for the Cardinals." I respond.

"What? All this talk you do about baseball and Weaver could never play, but McGwire gets to? Now you should write a blog about THAT" she shakes her head, taking another bite of our stuffed crust cheese lovers pizza (we rarely get bread or sauce with our cheese).

Funny thing was, I had already opened the tab and started the blog. She knows me so well.

Hank Aaron came out to the press and absolved McGwire of all wrong doing this last week. A jury of 12 peers absolved Buck Weaver of all wrong doing in the fall of 1921. Guess they didn't have a lifetime .305 batting average, were massive home run hitters, or inducted into Cooperstown.

Even Bud Selig is giving McGwire a get out of jail free card. Taking performance enhancing drugs even after illegal drug use of any kind had been banned in baseball in 1991? Well that's okay. Not snitching on your teammates when approached about an "idea" to throw ballgames? Well... that's NOT okay. Lifetime ban for you. Not to be lifted. "No time" in baseball to clear the name of innocent men. We have more poignant things to worry about during my reign, like revenue sharing.

Give me a break, Selig.

Id be curious to see what happened if we put McGwire, Bonds, Ramierez, etc on a trial with a jury of their own peers. Would they be acquitted? There's a difference sometimes between whats legal in the baseball world and the real world. In 1921 the law acquitted the 8 Men Out of any legal wrong-doing. They paraded around the courtroom on the shoulders of their jurors- all of whom admitted to not being a fan, nor knowing anything about baseball- something the prosecuting lawyers thought would help their case.

Judge and later, Commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis decided months later to still ban the 8 men from baseball regardless of the jury's verdict, to send a message out to the baseball world. Cheating and gambling, under no circumstance, was not to be tolerated in baseball

Illegal steroid use? Well, thats another story.

Don't get me wrong, I loved being 11 years old and watching the McGwire/Sosa race of '98. My friends at the small Catholic School I went to made fun of me. "Im rooting for Sammy- I like blue better than red" the girls would say. I knew better. "I'm rooting for McGwire. Im a sox fan. I hate the Cubs. Thats how my daddy says it goes." I would chime in on the playground. In central Illinois where there are far more Cub fans than Cardinal fans- and even more Cardinal fans than White Sox fans, I remember my family talking about the race. "Something just isn't right" the men in my family would remark.

I only wish I had known back then the importance of the record McGwire and Sosa were working so hard to break. Now I do, and now I wonder like the rest of the baseball world, how fair or real all the excitement in the 1998 season really was.

12 years later, a confession finally comes to light from 1 of the 2 men. I sat in my room with my ESPN text message of the breaking news and started laughing. I mean common, I was about as surprised about this as I had been when I found out Tim Lincecum smoked pot. Of course McGwire did steroids. Now he's a national hero.

The Maris family, Hank Aaron, and even Bud Selig in all his moral intelligence has forgiven McGwire. LaRussa stands in his corner, and I sit on my couch in Peoria wondering WHY a man who cheated the game so melodically by juicing for over half his career is allowed to come back and coach a bunch of guys on how to swing a bat. Do you choke up more when you're on or off the juice, Mac?

This acceptance of guilt only fuels my fire for lifting the ban on Weaver even more.

“You know Commission the only thing we have left in this world is our judge and the 12 jurors and they found me not guilty. They do some funny things in base ball.”-Buck Weaver, 1953

Like ban a guy who doesn't snitch to make an example out of him for the rest of the players in MLB, and let a man who admits to cheating the game coach a major league team only a decade after his retirement? Yeah, they do do some funny things in baseball, Buck.

If Selig were smart and actually took a clue from Judge Landis, the man who also banned blacks out of baseball as well as Weaver, (which he clearly backs up 100%) he would have put a ban on McGwire as soon as he admitted his guilt, told him "no way do you get to coach the Cardinals next year, sorry for your luck" and made an example out of him to the baseball world.

But, that would make just way too much sense, wouldn't it? Birds of a feather, after all, do flock together.

Til Next time,
We Are Chicago Baseball

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Little About Me:

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, 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 or on (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

Buck Weaver: Wronged Man Out. An Introduction.

"Don't bring up Buck Weaver

or how he looked the last time you saw him

begging a reporter six months out of high school

to clear his name so he could play again.

'I'll play for nothin, tell 'em! Just one season tell 'em!"

-Nelson Algren

George Daniel "Buck" Weaver is one of the most herald 3rd basemen of his time. Born in Pennsylvania to a poor family, he worked with the likes of "Kid" Gleason, Chicago White Sox manager, to become one of the best infielders of the early 1900's.

Buck Weaver has been called "the only 3rd basemen I refuse to bunt against" by Ty Cobb. Banned from baseball for life by Commissioner Kenesaw Landis, Buck was accused of having "guilty information" about the 1919 World Series fix by his teammates, the Chicago White Sox.

Despite being present at meetings in which 1st basemen, Chick Gandil, and other gamblers promised each player money to throw the 1919 World Series to the Reds, Buck Weaver refused to participate in it. He remained loyal to his love for the game. As Elliot Asinof states, Buck,"couldn't act accordingly when he put on the spikes."

He was acquitted of all legal wrong-doing during a trial in 1920, but was still banned from ball by the commissioner that following season. Of all the ballplayers who conspired to throw the series, only Buck Weaver maintained his innocence to the grave.

Even the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson, who is often the "wrong man out" when portrayed by baseball fans, admitted to taking $5,000 and also purposely throwing the series.

Buck Weaver batted .324 during the 1919 World Series with 11 hits and never committed an error. As one Cinncinnati reporter, unaware of how Buck's teammates including starters Eddie Cicotte and "Lefty" Williams were purposely throwing the games wrote,

"Though they are hopeless and heartless, the White Sox have a hero. He is George Weaver, who plays and fights at third base. Day after day Weaver has done his work and smiled. In spite of the certain fate that closed about the hopes of the Sox, Weaver smiled and scrapped. One by one his mates gave up. Weaver continued to grin and fought harder….Weaver's smile never faded. His spirit never waned….The Reds have beaten the spirit out of the Sox all but Weaver. Buck's spirit is untouched. He was ready to die fighting. Buck is Chicago's one big hero; long may he fight and smile."-Ross Tenney, Cincinnati Post.

Buck Weaver has long embodied what it is to truly love the game of baseball. Growing up in the working class at the turn of the century, he was taught that snitching on your brothers and family was immoral and wrong. He refused to tell on his teammates- his brothers, but he also refused to turn his back on the one thing he truly loved. Weaver has been wrote about and praised from beginning to end of his career for his true love and passion for the sport. To deny him reinstatement to major league baseball is cruel.

In a day where steroids, selfishness, and large payrolls run baseball, we as fans miss out on watching men who got paid nothing play.They didn't play for a $26 million over 3 years with a one year extended option, but for the simple fact of putting on the spikes, picking up the glove, and playing for joy and love.

Despite the corruption in the game, and all the "sad" days in baseball, there are still glimpses of hope from these men who take the field every day. These boys grew up on stories of Babe Ruth, Christy Matthewson, Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and sometimes, even Buck Weaver.

The previously mentioned list of men didn't play for much. There was no arbitration back then, no collective bargaining. If they wanted to play baseball they played where they were assigned. If they didn't want to play for that team they had no choice. It was the owner's way or the high way.

Buck Weaver spent the rest of his life petitioning to be reinstated into major league ball. Even in his old age he wanted nothing more than to put on a uniform and coach a semi-pro team. To no avail he was never reinstated, and passed away of a heart attack at the age of 65.

And this is where you, as fans come in. Most of you know me and my love for Weaver. I have hopes of working directly with the Chicago Baseball Museum and to help Buck Weaver become reinstated. I ask that you do something small by going to and signing the petition.

Though Buck Weaver may be dead, it is the dream of his family, and many fans that he will be reinstated into baseball one day. Unlike Pete Rose, his teammates on the 1919 team, and those who continued steroid use even after it became illegal in baseball, Buck did nothing illegal in the game. He didn't cheat himself, his team, his fans, or the game. He simply did not snitch. Turning the other way when you have information that there may be a fix in the World Series? That deserves punishment for sure. However Weaver has received his punishment. To take the words from his own mouth,"There are murderers who serve a sentence and then get out. I got life."