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New Market’s Mo Weber sips on a Coke while watching the New Market Rebels play the Front Royal Cardinals during a June 18, 2018 game at Bing Crosby Stadium.

Maynard “Mo” Weber, an iconic figure in the Valley Baseball League and the New Market Rebels organization, passed away Friday at the age of 96.

Weber served as the Rebels’ hitting coach for 17 seasons and was New Market’s manager for two seasons. His No. 1 jersey is retired by New Market — it’s the Rebel’s only retired jersey, according to longtime team president/general manager and VBL Commissioner Bruce Alger — and the Valley League’s coach of the year award bears Weber’s name.

“Anybody that knows Mo or spent five minutes with him, the relationship or the talk always went straight baseball, and not only to baseball but the hitting as well. That was hit specialty,” Alger said on Monday. “And the number of young men that he touched far exceeded even the numbers that I thought, because the emails and text messages and phone calls that I’ve received from coaches that he coached with here and throughout his college coaching career, I mean it’s just been enormous. They just keep coming and keep coming and keep coming.”

Though Alger couldn’t provide the exact dates of Weber’s tenure as New Market’s hitting coach, he said Weber was “well into his 80s” when he still donned the Rebels’ red and blue uniform. Alger estimated that Weber’s stint as New Market’s head coach lasted from 1979 to 1980.

According to information published on the Valley League’s website in 2017, Weber coached baseball at various levels for 65 years. He was the head coach at the College of William & Mary in 1965 and again from 1978-81, and was later the general manager of the Peninsula Pilots, a Chicago White Sox affiliate in the Carolina League.

The Valley Baseball League named its coach of the year award after Weber in 2008, and he was inducted into the VBL Hall of Fame in 2017.

Alger said Weber also held the nickname “Legend of the Valley.”

“I think that was actually self-proclaimed by him initially,” Alger said of the moniker, “because he said ‘if you guys keep on like this, I’m gonna be the Legend of the Valley,’ and I think it just kind of stuck.

“He definitely earned that,” Alger added. “You don’t get the coach of the year award named after you if you’re not well-known and trusted throughout the Valley League for a number of years.”

Alger said Weber, who remained a fixture at Rebels games even after his coaching career ended, had been in declining health and passed away “very, very peacefully” in his Luray home.

“I was saddened. A piece of my heart is missing, definitely,” said Alger, who has been involved with the Rebels organization since 1965. “It hasn’t been long we went over and took his (2018 Valley Baseball League) championship ring over to him at his house in Luray and had some pictures taken. He was a father figure and he kind of took me under his wing. And you had to like him, you just had to.”

– Contact Brad Fauber at bfauber@nvdaily.com