Weiss gets first taste of Hall ballot

Weiss gets first taste of Hall of Fame ballot

OAKLAND -- When A's shortstop Bobby Crosby heard that Walt Weiss was going to present him with the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year Award during an on-field ceremony this past April, a huge smile spread across his face.

"Walt Weiss was 'The Man' when I was a little kid," Crosby said. "I was a big-time Walt Weiss fan."

Ed Crosby is a former A's scout, and his son grew up in Southern California rooting not for the Dodgers, Angels or Padres, but for the "Bash Brother" teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s that restored glory to the green and gold.

Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley got much of the attention on those teams, but Crosby was every bit as enamored with Weiss. The 1988 AL Rookie of the Year, Weiss played in the World Series in each of his first three full seasons as a big-league shortstop, winning a ring in 1989.

Weiss went on to a 14-year career in which eight of his teams made it to the postseason, and now he's a first-timer on the ballot for the National Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"He was a winner," Crosby said. "He kind of got lost in the shuffle a little bit with all the big personalities and big stars on those teams, but hey, the guy was the starting shortstop on some awesome teams. I think he was probably a little underrated by a lot of people, but I always admired the way he played."

Weiss left Oakland after the 1992 season and played with the Marlins (1993) and Rockies ('94-'97) before joining the Braves in 1998, when he batted .280 and made the NL All-Star team. He closed his career in much the same manner he started it -- making the playoffs in each of his three years with Atlanta.

  Walt Weiss' resume
Teams: A's, Marlins, Rockies, Braves
Key stats: .351 career on-base, .970 career fielding, eight playoff apparances
Awards: '88 AL Rookie of Year, '98 NL All-Star
Best HOF vote Pct.: 1st year on the ballot
Peers in Hall: Dennis Eckersley
More stats and bio >

"You play to go to the postseason, and it seemed like every year, you'd turn the TV on in October and there's Walt Weiss, playing shortstop," Crosby marveled.

Unfortunately for Weiss fans, Hall voters are most impressed with big numbers. Weiss retired with a solid .351 on-base percentage and a .970 fielding percentage, but his career batting average of .258 and 25 career homers aren't expected to earn him enough votes to keep him on the ballot another year.

"He wasn't a numbers guy," Crosby said. "He just made plays, and his teams won games. He had a [heck] of a career."

Mychael Urban is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.