The Colorado Rockies have hired former shortstop Walt Weiss as the Major League ball club’s new manager. The National League team announced the signing on Nov. 7 and he replaces Jim Tracy, who resigned from the position following the regular season on Oct. 7. Tracy still had a year to go on his contract at a salary of $1.4 million.
Weiss broke into the Majors with the Oakland A’s back in 1988 when he was awarded the Rookie of the Year award in the American League. He played with Colorado between 1994 and 1997 and between 2002 and 2008 he was a special assistant to Dan O’Dowd, the club’s general manager.
Weiss left the team to enjoy more family time and was the coach of Regis Jesuit High School’s baseball team last season. He led the school to a record of 20-6 and made the semifinals in its division of the state championship.
Arizona Diamondbacks’ third-base coach Matt Williams was also a top candidate for the position which became vacant when Tracy left the club after its worst ever season. It was reported that Colorado first baseman Jason Giambi and bench coach Tom Runnells were also interviewed for the job and Giambi said he would retire from playing if he was hired.
Weiss, who’s now 48 years old, played 14 seasons in the big leagues. He was with Oakland from 1987 until 1982 before heading to Florida for a season in 1993. He then spent 1998 to 2000 with the Atlanta Braves before hanging up his glove and cleats. Weiss batted .258 for his career and played in the 1998 All Star game in Denver.
The Rockies said they knew Weiss better than Williams and that was one of the reasons he was hired for the job. Williams, who was a five-time all star, has been coaching third base in Arizona for the past two seasons. He spent a year coaching at first base before that and has also spent five years in the broadcast booth for the Diamondbacks.
Weiss becomes just the sixth manager in Rockies’ history behind Don Baylor, Jim Leyland, Buddy Bell, Clint Hurdle and Tracy. The club is looking for some leadership in the job after posting a 64-98 record last season.
Tracy’s best season with the team came in 2009 after he was promoted from bench coach to manager. He led the Rockies to the playoffs that season and was also named the National League’s Manager of the Year. Tracy’s career record with Colorado was 294-308.
During the 2012 season Tracy said he wanted to see out his contract in 2013, but he changed his mind after meeting with the team’s brass following the poor season.
Tracy was actually given a contract extension in the spring, but it only guaranteed his salary for the 2013 season, which was to be $1.4 million. He may not be out of a job for long since the Toronto Blue Jays are looking for a manager after recently allowing former boss John Farrell to leave the team to manage the Boston Red Sox.