Quiet and unassuming, Walt Weiss isn't the sort to boast about his major league playing days, although he has a résumé that deserves recognition.
During his 14-year career, Weiss made an All-Star team and played in three World Series, including in 1989 when his Oakland A's defeated the San Francisco Giants in a fall classic notable for an earthquake. He was also part of Oakland's loss to the Dodgers and Kirk Gibson in 1988, and he was on the losing side when the Yankees defeated the Braves in 1999. Weiss was injured in the American League Championship Series and did not play in Oakland's loss to Cincinnati in the 1990 Series.
They were powerhouse Oakland teams back then, the days of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, but the unheralded Weiss was a key component. Now an assistant to Rockies general manager Daniel O'Dowd, Weiss recalls those days with fondness, and much of Oakland's success came at the expense of the Red Sox.
Weiss was part of the juggernaut A's who swept the Red Sox in the ALCS in 1988 and 1990.
"Those were great battles, great Boston teams," said Weiss, who rattled off the names of several key Red Sox players in those years. Most prominent was Roger Clemens, which rekindled memories of the infamous Game 4 in Oakland during the 1990 ALCS. Wearing his eye-black and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shoelaces, Clemens went into a rage over a call by plate umpire Terry Cooney, and in stunning fashion, the Red Sox ace got ejected (along with second baseman Marty Barrett) in the second inning.
"I think I heard every single word," said Weiss, with a grin.
He heard a series of expletives that live in Red Sox folklore, but there's another Colorado Rockies angle to the story.
The next Boston pitcher that day, lefthander Tom Bolton, was greeted by a Mike Gallego double as the A's went up, 3-0, in a game they won, 3-1, to clinch the sweep.
Gallego is now Colorado's third base coach.
No hitting tips
Whereas Rockies manager Clint Hurdle
didn't mind discussing his pitching decisions - "Aaron Cook
is going to make the fourth start," he said - he wasn't so forthcoming about the designated hitter for Games 1 and 2 at Fenway Park. "I will not discuss the DH situation with you," the affable manager said. When asked later to expand, Hurdle smiled and said, "I answered that one." . . . The Rockies, who'll pitch 26-year-old lefthander Jeff Francis
(17-9, 4.22 ERA) in Game 1 tonight, will go with 23-year-old Ubaldo Jimenez
(4-4, 4.28) tomorrow. The Game 3 starter will be either Josh Fogg
(10-9, 4.94) or 21-year-old lefthander Franklin Morales
(3-2, 3.43), but Hurdle was adamant that Cook will pitch Game 4. Cook is a sentimental story, a longtime member of the Rockies who overcame life-threatening blood clots three years ago and turned into the ace of the staff. But he was injured Aug. 10 and hasn't pitched since. He wasn't activated for the Division Series or the NLCS. "We all know the sentiments that go along with Aaron Cook and the value that he's brought to the organization," said Hurdle of the 28-year-old righthander who was 8-7 with a 4.12 ERA during the regular season.
As you go into crunch time to study up on these Rockies, you no doubt will notice they have a local boy on their roster. A guy who pitched Game 3 against the Diamondbacks in the NLCS, no less. But Fogg says you shouldn't get carried away with this Lynn native stuff. "I lived there just two weeks," he said. "I've never seen the town since." His father grew up in the Lynn area, but the family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Fogg, who played at the University of Florida with St. Louis shortstop David Eckstein
, said he has relatives living in Wellesley . . . No such clarification is needed with catcher Chris Iannetta
. "I know he's from here," said Hurdle. "The people were very vocal in the fact that they wanted to see him play last time we were here in June, so I'm sure we'll revisit that." Born and raised in Providence, Iannetta had a standout career at the University of North Carolina and has been in the Colorado system since being drafted in 2004. As a rookie, he was named the Opening Day starter, but he now is behind Yorvit Torrealba
on the depth chart. In 67 games, Iannetta hit .218 with 4 home runs and 27 RBIs. (Torrealba hit .255 with 8 home runs and 47 RBIs.) "He's handled this very well. This has been a challenging year for Chris," said Hurdle. "We like Chris. We like him a lot."
Role modelTroy Tulowitzki
will try to become the first rookie shortstop on a World Series-winning team since Derek Jeter
with the Yankees in 1996. Tulowitzki wears No. 2 in recognition of Jeter, his favorite player growing up . . . There are some familiar names and faces within the Rockies organization beyond Weiss and Gallego. Most notably Carney Lansford
, who won the AL batting title with the Red Sox in 1981 (.336). He serves as the organization's Triple A hitting instructor, but is traveling with the team for the World Series. After being traded from Boston to Oakland, Lansford played on the Oakland teams with Weiss and Gallego. Other names that might ring a bell: Marcel Lachemann
, who managed the Angels in 1994-96, is a special assistant to O'Dowd; Zack Rosenthal
, the team's assistant general counsel, earned his law degree at Boston University and spent a stint working as an intern for the Red Sox; and onetime Orioles infielder Rich Dauer
is a roving infield coordinator . . . Consider yourself too much of a baseball junkie if you know the Rockies team mascot is named Dinger.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.