Colorado Rockies flashback: How Walt Weiss made history

This Colorado Rockies flashback for this date takes you back to January 7, 1994, a year after the inaugural season of action for the Colorado Rockies as a Major League Baseball franchise.

Most Colorado Rockies fans probably know that Walt Weiss was the team’s manager from 2013 to 2016. He was succeeded before the 2017 season by current Rockies boss Bud Black. Many Colorado fans may also be aware that Weiss, a shortstop during his 14-year Major League career, played four seasons for the franchise from 1994 through 1997.

On January 7, 1994, as a free agent, Weiss agreed to a two-year deal to join the Rockies.

In so doing, Weiss became the first player to appear on the roster of each of the two Major League expansion teams in 1993. A year before coming to Colorado, Weiss was a member of the expansion Florida Marlins during the team’s first campaign in the National League.

A graduate of North Carolina, Weiss was selected as the 11th overall pick by the Oakland Athletics in the 1985 MLB Amateur Draft.

He spent six seasons with the A’s, garnering American League Rookie of the Year honors in 1988. In 147 games that season, he batted .250 and had a .979 fielding percentage with just 15 errors committed in 700 chances. His play helped Oakland advance to the 1988 World Series where the A’s were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

A year later, though, Weiss celebrated a World Series championship when the A’s swept the San Francisco Giants in four games.

After spending six years with Oakland, he was traded to the expansion Marlins prior to the 1993 season. In his lone year with Florida, Weiss batted .266 in 158 games as the Marlins compiled a 64-98 mark in their initial campaign.

In his four seasons with the Rockies, he played at least 110 games each season with a high of 155 games in 1996. That season he batted .282 — his best single-season average as an everyday starter — while banging out career highs of 146 hits, 48 runs batted in, and eight home runs.

Of note, Colorado fashioned winning seasons in three of the four years in which Weiss was with the team as a player.

The Rockies were 77-67 in 1995 and 83-79 in both 1996 and 1997. On the heels of a strike-shortened season in 1994, the 1995 campaign was also shortened with a 144-game regular season played because of the strike.

In its third season of competition, Colorado earned its first postseason entry, grabbing the National League’s inaugural Wild Card berth in MLB’s inaugural season with an expanded postseason format in 1995. The Rockies were eliminated from the 1995 postseason by the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Departing Colorado as a free agent, Weiss would go on to finish his playing career with three seasons with Atlanta, where in 1998, he was named to the National League All-Star Team.

Ironically, the final game of Weiss’ career as a player came October 1, 2000, against Colorado — a franchise in which he would later take over as manager beginning with the 2013 season.

Weiss compiled a 283-365 record in his four seasons as manager of the Rockies. His best season directing the club came in his final year in 2016 when Colorado ended with a 75-87 mark.

Where is Weiss now? He will start his fourth season this spring as bench coach with the Braves. Atlanta was just one win away from making it to the 2020 World Series before the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied from a 3-1 National League Championship Series deficit to capture the pennant on the way to a World Series triumph against the Tampa Bay Rays.