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Walt Weiss
Shortstop
Born: November 28, 1963 (1963-11-28) (age 46)
Tuxedo, New York
Batted: Switch Threw: Right 
MLB debut
July 12, 1987 for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 2000 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
Batting average     .258
Hits     1,207
Runs batted in     386
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Walter William Weiss (born November 28, 1963 in Tuxedo, New York) is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball.

Weiss was a member of the 1998 National League All-Star Team. He also won the 1988 Rookie of the Year award.

Contents

Early Success

Initially drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 10th round of the 1982 amateur draft, Weiss decided to put his professional baseball career on hold and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In June 1985, Weiss was the 12th overall pick in the 1985 draft.

At the age of 23, Walt made his first major league appearance for the Oakland Athletics in September 1987. The club was impressed enough with the young shortstop's talent that they traded starter Alfredo Griffin that December, ensuring Weiss would assume a starting job in the 1988 season. Weiss' 1988 season did not seem very impressive offensively as he batted .250 with three home runs, 39 RBIs and 44 runs scored, but the budding shortstop's defensive wizardry helped lead the A's to their first American League pennant since 1974. The 1988 World Series was a rematch of the 1974 matchup, with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the National League pennant. Weiss made a costly error in Game Four of the matchup that allowed the Dodgers to win the Series in five games. Following the season Weiss was awarded the American League Rookie of the Year Award, becoming the third consecutive Oakland player to win the award, following José Canseco and Mark McGwire. He was also selected for the 1988 Topps All-Star Rookie Roster.

Mid-career

In 1989 Weiss saw his offensive numbers dip as he battled through injury and adversity. The A's again clinched the pennant and met their crosstown rival San Francisco Giants in the 1989 World Series. Although the Series would be overshadowed by the Loma Prieta earthquake, which delayed play for ten days, Weiss homered and the A's swept the Giants to claim their first title in fifteen years.

1990 saw Weiss put up his best offensive numbers to date in hits, runs, and batting average, while also stealing nine bases. The A's won their third straight pennant, but Weiss was injured in the 1990 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox and missed the A's 1990 World Series loss to the Cincinnati Reds, four games to none.

Limited by previous injuries, Weiss did not play much in 1991 as Oakland missed the playoffs for the first time since 1987. In what would be his final year in Oakland, Weiss batted an anemic .212 in 1992 and was traded to the newly-formed Florida Marlins during the offseason.

Weiss played in 158 games in 1993 for the Marlins, but following the season he became a free agent and chose to sign with the Colorado Rockies - which also had begun play in 1993. He became the first player to play for both the expansion Marlins and Rockies. Weiss had four modestly successful years playing for Colorado, posting career highs in home runs (8) and RBIs (48). However, his strengths were solid defensive play at shortstop and his ability to get on base (.351 lifetime OBP).

Later career

In December 1997, Weiss signed with the Atlanta Braves, and became their starting shortstop. Weiss batted .280 and made the All-Star team for the only time in his career for the 1998 Braves, who finished with 106 wins, but was slowed by injuries and appeared in less than a hundred games for the first time since 1991. The next season, Weiss's decline continued as he only finished with a .226 average.

However, in Game 3 of the 1999 NLDS against the Houston Astros, Weiss made a stunning defensive play to save the season. In the bottom of the tenth, with the bases loaded, one out, and the score tied, Tony Eusebio hit a sharp grounder right up the middle. Weiss ranged hard to his left, dove to his stomach, and threw to home to get the force out. After the game, Weiss said that the ball nearly ripped the glove off his hand. Weiss and the Braves went on to win the game, and the series, on the way to an appearance in the 1999 World Series.

In 2000, Weiss only had 192 at-bats, mostly due to losing playing time to the emergent Rafael Furcal, who would go on to win the Rookie of the Year Award, just like Weiss twelve years prior. Following the season, Weiss retired.

After Baseball

Walt Weiss has been linked to various charitable acts, including repeated donations to a local Northern New York High School (Watertown High School, Watertown, New York). In addition, the baseball field at Walt's alma mater, Suffern High School, is named after him.

External links

Preceded by
Mark McGwire
American League Rookie of the Year
1988
Succeeded by
Gregg Olson
Preceded by
Al Pedrique
Topps Rookie All-Star Shortstop
1988
Succeeded by
Gary Sheffield
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