In the latest chapter of our countdown, we check in with four more players from the all-time list, including inaugural Opening Day shortstop Walt Weiss.
Through their first 28 seasons, the Marlins have employed 630 players in a regular season game for at least one plate appearance or batter faced.
170. Jesús Tavárez
Switch-hitting outfielder Jesús Tavárez is a six-foot native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 1989, he signed his first professional contract with the Seattle Mariners at the age of 18. In three seasons of minor league ball for them, he stole 138 bases. After the 1992 season was completed, the Marlins chose him in the expansion draft with the 26th pick.
Through the 1993 season, Tavárez played in 109 games at the High-A level with the High Desert Mavericks, hitting .293/.375/.423 and stealing another 47 bases. In 1994, he made it to the majors with the Marlins. In his first look at major league pitching, he went seven-for-39 from the plate with no extra base hits and four RBI. On June 8, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Tavárez hit a two-run, game-tying single, then scored the winning run on a Mario Diaz walk-off.
In 1995, Tavárez had his best major league season going by brWAR, racking up a 1.3 mark overall. He played in 63 games and put up a .720 OPS, with a .289/.346/.374 slashline and 16 walks with 27 strikeouts. On August 28, he hit a single and two triples in a 6-4 Marlins win over the Houston Astros. The following year, he was much less successful, with a .219/.264/.246 slashline and no homers in 98 games.
Defensively, Tavárez played 742 1⁄3 outfield innings without an error. Although he only made two assists during his time out there, he was worth 10 zone fielding runs better than the “average” National League outfielder.
169. Matt Perisho
Burlington, Iowa native Matt Perisho is a six-foot left-handed pitcher. In 1993, the California Angels took him in the third round of the draft. Before finding his way to the Marlins in 2004, he played in six major league seasons between the Angels, the Texas Rangers, and the Detroit Tigers. In 86 games, including 28 starts, he put up a 7.07 ERA, a 1.921 WHIP, and 150 K’s in 215 innings, ending in 2002.
In 2003, Perisho appeared in the minor league systems of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Colorado Rockies, and the Arizona Diamondbacks without getting back to the majors. After the Marlins won their second World Series Championship, they signed Perisho through free agency.
Unlike in 2003, Perisho spent the entire season in the majors for the 2004 Florida team, leading the club with 66 pitching appearances. He was 5-3 with a 4.40 ERA, 42 strikeouts in 47 innings, and a 1.51 WHIP. Perisho got 63 percent of his pitches over the plate that season, holding opponents to a .247/.346/.396 slashline and stranding 79 percent of his inherited baserunners.
On June 5, in the seventh inning of a 5-5 tie with the New York Mets, Perisho entered with two outs and the bases loaded, then struck out Jason Phillips on four pitches. After the Marlins scored a run in the top half of the eighth, Perisho pitched a perfect bottom part of the inning, striking out former Marlins outfielder Cliff Floyd.
In 2005, Perisho pitched in another 24 games for Florida, posting a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings of work. After the Marlins couldn’t find any takers in the trade market, they released Perisho at the trade deadline. A week later, the Boston Red Sox signed him.
Perisho pitched to exactly one more batter at the major league level while with Boston, allowing Brian Roberts to hit a double in the seventh inning on September 2. Roberts eventually came around to score, leaving Perisho with an ERA of ♾️ while with the Red Sox.
168. Walt Weiss
Current Atlanta Braves bench coach Walt Weiss was originally a 10th round selection in the 1982 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. A six-foot shortstop from Tuxedo, New York, Weiss didn’t sign, instead matriculating to the University of North Carolina. Three years later, the Oakland Athletics took him in the first round, with the 11th overall choice.
Weiss made his major league debut with the Athletics in 1987, and played a total of six major league seasons. In 528 games, he hit .246 batting mostly in the last third of the lineup and winning the 1988 American League Rookie of the Year Award. Defensively, he was more often than not in the upper echelon of shortstops in the AL, including in 1990 when he was a remarkable 17 zone fielding runs above average.
Although the Marlins got Weiss on the same day as the 1992 expansion draft, he was technically acquired via trade with the A’s in return for Scott Baker. For the inaugural version of the Florida Marlins, Weiss ranked second on the club with 158 appearances, including 149 starts at shortstop. He hit a then-career-best .266, scoring 50 runs and knocking 39 in. More impressively, he drew 79 walks and struck out 73 times.
Weiss totaled 34 multiple hit games for the Marlins, including six three-hit games. On June 2, he went four-for-five in a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Defensively, Weiss graded out as a sliver above the National League “average” shortstop, at two zone fielding runs above the watermark. In 1322 1⁄3 innings, he had a .977 fielding percentage, turning 80 double plays and making 15 errors in 650 chances.
Granted free agency following his season with the Marlins, Weiss joined the other expansion club in 1994, and played four seasons for the Colorado Rockies. He then joined the Atlanta Braves for the final three seasons of his playing career, making his first All Star team in 1998 at the age of 34. He retired after the 2000 season with exactly 658 career walks and 658 career strikeouts.
After retiring, Weiss first served as a special assistant to the GM for the Rockies for seven years. From 2013 through 2016, he was the team manager, leading the club to a 283-365 record. For the last three years, he’s been a bench coach for the disgusting Atlanta Braves.
167. Terry Mathews
Lefty-batting right-handed pitcher Terry Mathews was a fifth round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1987. A six-foot-two native of Alexandria, Louisiana, Mathews played his college ball with the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Mathews took four years to get to the majors for Texas in 1991. He pitched in 74 games over parts of two major league seasons, starting two of them and going 6-4 with a 4.61 ERA. He struck out 77 in 99 2⁄3 innings for the Rangers, and posted a 1.52 WHIP. Going into 1993, he signed with the Houston Astros through free agency, and spent the entire year in their minor league system.
After completion of the 1993 season, Mathews signed with the Marlins. Although he played for four teams over eight major league seasons in total, Mathews pitched the lion’s share of his innings for the Marlins, totaling 180 2⁄3 innings in three seasons.
Mathews was 8-9 with a 3.84 ERA in 138 contests for Florida, with a 1.312 WHIP and 142 whiffs against 63 walks. His best major league season was in 1995 for the Marlins, when he totaled a career-high 82 2⁄3 innings over 57 games, and held opponents to a 1.173 WHIP and a .235/.300/.386 slashline, with 27 walks against 72 strikeouts. He put 63 percent of his pitches over the plate, and stranded 63 percent of his inherited baserunners. Opponents found it difficult to steal against Mathews, and were only successful in 41 percent of their attempts through the season.
On September 10, 1995, Mathews pitched the final two innings of an 11-inning, 5-4 win over the Braves. He retired all six batters in turn, half of them with strikeouts. Near the 1996 trade deadline, the Marlins sent him to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later, who eventually turned out to be Gregg Zaun.
Mathews pitched another four major league seasons after leaving the Marlins, three with the Orioles and one for the Kansas City Royals in 1999.