Pomrenke: ‘You’re one of those crooked Chicago ballplayers’: The stabbing of Buck Herzog

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on April 2, 2018:

As the Chicago Cubs walked off the field on September 30, 1920, near the end of a long, losing season, they wanted nothing more than to go home and get some rest.

Suddenly, a voice cried out from the crowd of fans gathered in the parking lot:

“You’re one of those crooked Chicago ballplayers. When are you going to confess?”

Cubs infielder Buck Herzog stared at the man who had just jumped on the running board of his car, stuck his head inside the vehicle, and shouted the accusatory question at him.

Herzog wasn’t one to back down from a fight, having once famously knocked down Ty Cobb in a postgame brawl. And he was sick and tired of being called a crook by fans who might have been confusing him with Buck Weaver, the Chicago White Sox third baseman who had been implicated by his teammates two days earlier in the plot to fix the 1919 World Series. The newspapers were full of reports that Weaver was about to admit his involvement to a grand jury called to investigate gambling in baseball.

Herzog had had enough. He leapt out of the car and began pummeling the man, knocking him into a nearby ditch. Then, a flash of silver sparkled in the sun—a knife—pulled by another man in the crowd, a friend of the first fan. The blade penetrated Herzog’s left hand twice as he raised his arms to protect himself. A third slash tore through his dark blue stockings below the knee.

In an instant, on a chilly fall afternoon in Joliet, Illinois, Buck Herzog was no longer defending his honor. Now the Major League veteran and World Series hero was fighting for his life.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/you-re-one-those-crooked-chicago-ballplayers-stabbing-buck-herzog-part-4

Originally published: April 2, 2018. Last Updated: April 2, 2018.