Rest in peace to former Cardinals farm hand and native St. Louisan who died unexpectedly at 82.
Weaver, of course, was best known as skipper of the Baltimore Orioles from 1968-82 and 1985-86, the most successful era in the history of the former St. Louis Browns. But he learned his baseball smarts from one of the greatest instructors in Cardinals history.
Signed out of high school in 1948 as a second baseman, he played his first year as a 17-year-old professional for West Frankfort in the Illinois State League where he hit .268 with two homers in 120 games. Weaver was a good glove man. But he never hit much. So he got stuck in the middle minors, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
In 1950 Weaver played for Winston-Salem in the Carolina League under manager George Kissell, perhaps the greatest instructor of baseball fundamentals in Cardinals history. Both Kissell and Weaver were promoted to Omaha in 1951 and Weaver stayed on Kissell's teams until 1953.
With his playing career clearly going nowhere, Weaver became manager of the independent Knoxville Smokies in 1956 and the rest was history.