The 100 Greatest Colorado Rockies: 50 Walt Weiss
We continue our look at the top 100 Colorado Rockies of all time in this article. Here, we look at No. 50 on our list, Walt Weiss.
There are players on this list that higher WAR numbers than Walt Weiss. But no one has contributed to the Colorado Rockies organization quite like Weiss. No matter what you think about Weiss as a player or a coach, he cared tremendously about the Rockies and his players.
Let’s start with his contributions during his playing career.
Weiss got his start with Tony LaRussa and the Oakland Athletics where he won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1988. The very next year he won the World Series in the “Earthquake Series.”
Weiss was not a part of the inaugural 1993 Rockies team but he was a part of the inaugural 1993 Florida Marlins.
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Four years playing for the Rockies
Weiss came to Denver as a free agent after playing 158 games with the Marlins. For a majority of his career he played most of the season and that theme extended to his time with the Rockies.
He got off to a slow start in 1994 where he had a -.7 WAR batting .251 58 runs scored and 32 RBIs. The next year he played on first Rockies team to make the playoffs in 1995. He reached the playoffs in eight of his 14 seasons.
In Colorado he had the most home runs and RBIs of his career in a single season but much of Weiss’ value as a player came with his glove. He was one of the best short stops the Rockies ever had. He finished his Rockies career with a 3.8 WAR.
Weiss would leave for the Braves the next year where he made his first All-Star game more than 10 years after his career started. He retired in 2000 and almost immediately returned to the Rockies.
He was always a fan favorite and he contributed after his playing career as a special instructor and advisor of the front office from 2002 – 2008. He then went to be the head coach of Regis High School.
Four years coaching for the Rockies
Many criticize Weiss for just being a high school coach with no experience. The critique is short sided. No one in the history of the organization had been involved with the team at so many levels. While this didn’t necessarily translate to a winning record (From 2013 – 2016 he had a record of 283 – 365), he did lead a positive transition from the worst season the Rockies ever had in 2012.
Weiss’ legacy as a coach will be improving the Rockies clubhouse culture. He didn’t micromanage his players and he helped develop his very young team to a place where they are serious contenders coming into 2017 and beyond.
Next: Colorado Rockies: Grading and Analyzing the 2016 Bullpen
Weiss contributed much more than his play for the early iteration of the Colorado Rockies. He should be remembered for uniquely giving to this franchise in ways that no other player has. More importantly he has set up a winning culture, even if he will not be there to enjoy the fruits of his labor.