EMORY, Va. — Ashe County native and former Major League Baseball pitcher Montie Weaver’s outstanding career was celebrated at Emory & Henry College earlier this month.
Weaver, who was born in Helton in 1906, had numerous surviving family members there in attendance, including grandson Richard Weaver and great grandson, Samuel, who got to throw out the first pitch.
“We can’t thank Emory & Henry enough for honoring my grandfather’s legacy,” said Richard. “It was simply wonderful that they invited my three-year-old son, Samuel, to throw out the first pitch and I’m going to frame a photo of it with one of his great-grandfather pitching.”
Weaver turned in some of the greatest baseball seasons ever seen at Emory & Henry, in fact he still holds five school records that were set in the mid-1920s. Weaver holds the record for most strikeouts in one game (21), best single-season earned run average (0.43), career ERA (1.09), career complete games (24) and career opponent batting average (.178).
During his time at Emory & Henry, Weaver also played basketball, ran track and was a member of the Calliopean Literary Society.
Following his graduation, Weaver went on to attend the University of Virginia where he obtained his master’s degree.
After that, it was time to showcase his talent in the majors.
Weaver’s career began at the age of 25 with the Washington Senators. He made his professional debut on Sept. 30, 1931 when he pitched a complete game and picked up the win against the Chicago White Sox.
During 1932, Weaver’s first full season with the Senators, he won 22 games and even received votes for the league’s Most Valuable Player awards.
As Weaver’s game continued to improve, so did the Washington Senators. The team won 99 games in 1933 and won the American League Championship after beating one of those legendary New York Yankee squads that featured Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, among others. Gehrig drove in 140 runs that season and Babe Ruth slammed 34 homers.
None of that mattered to Weaver and the Senators. After having already clinched the AL title, Weaver picked up his 10th win of the 1933 season, giving up just three hits and not a single run through six innings in a 7-2 victory over the Yankees.
In the 1933 World Series, the Senators came up short against the New York Giants, losing the best-of-seven series, 4-1. Weaver pitched 10 innings in Game 4 of the series, but still came away with a 2-1 defeat, losing a tremendous pitcher’s duel to Carl Hubbell.
Weaver continued his career with the Senators until 1938 when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. He pitched one more season before retiring in 1939.
During his career, Weaver finished with a record of 71-50 with 297 career strikeouts and a .587 winning percentage. Weaver also struck out Babe Ruth eight times during matchups between the two.
Following his baseball career, Weaver served during World War II, and after returning home, began working in the insurance business in Washington D.C. Weaver eventually ended up in Florida and made a steady career out of operating a family-owned orange grove business.
Weaver passed away on June 14, 1994, one day shy of his 88th birthday.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87