He knew almost everything about the game. He was also a great judge of human character, and that’s one of the main reasons why he was loved by a vast majority of his players even though he often rode them mercilessly from spring training into October.
‘‘His bark was worse than his bite, but you had to know him and kind of grow up with him, and then you loved him like a father,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘He was a used-car salesman in the minor leagues during the offseason, so he learned a lot of ways to sell you on just about anything.’’
Pat Dobson, who pitched two seasons under Weaver, said, ‘‘Certainly, the years I played for him were the two most enjoyable years I've had.’’
During games Weaver smoked cigarettes in the tunnel leading to the dugout and he never kicked the habit. He suffered a mild heart attack in August 1998, and the Orioles’ manager at the time, Ray Miller, wondered aloud how his mentor was holding up.
‘‘I wouldn’t want to talk to him if he hasn’t had a cigarette in 10 days,’’ Miller joked. ‘‘They've probably got him tied to a chair.’’
Weaver was a brilliant manager, but he never made it to the majors as a player. He finally quit after spending 13 years as a second baseman in the St. Louis organization.
‘‘He talked about how he could drive in 100 runs a year, score 100 runs and never make an error,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘He said he never got to the big leagues because the Cardinals had too many good players in front of him.’’