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John Rocker – Atlanta Brave

Man, John Rocker could pitch and what a closer he was. John Loy Rocker (born October 17, 1974) is a relief pitcher who played for the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as well as the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He threw left-handed and batted right-handed. He is a native of Macon, Georgia and lives in Atlanta.

In high school, he was a pitcher for First Presbyterian Day School in Macon, Georgia.He threw three no-hitters during his high-school career. He was soon drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 18th round (516th overall) of the 1993 Major League Baseball Draft.

In 1998, he was promoted to the major league club. In Rocker’s first season in the Major Leagues, he was 1–3 with a 2.13 ERA in 38 innings pitched. The following year, an injury put Atlanta closer Kerry Ligtenberg on the DL, moving Rocker into the role of closer, where he was 4–5 with 38 saves and a 2.49 ERA. In 2000, he was 1–2 with 24 saves, posting a 2.89 ERA, but in June 2000, Rocker was demoted for threatening a reporter.

John on whether he would ever play for the New York Yankees or the New York Mets.

I’d retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing… The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?

Braves fans were initially willing to support him; however, as Rocker received intense taunting from opposing teams’ fans, his pitching performance declined. On June 23, 2001, Rocker, along with minor-league infielder Troy Cameron (Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 1997), was traded to the Cleveland Indians for right-handed relievers Steve Karsay and Steve Reed, along with cash. 

I abhor the “steroid era” in baseball. In March 2007, Rocker was implicated in a steroid ring that included Applied Pharmacy of Mobile, Alabama. In December 2011, he admitted to using steroids, saying “Yeah, of course I was [using steroids]. I mean who wasn’t? Let’s be honest here, who wasn’t?”

So long to the Braves and so long to what little respect I had left for him. An amazing closer but all ruined by an intolerance for others and the rules.

John Rocker
Year Age Tm Lg IP G GS R RA9
1998 23 ATL NL 38.0 47 0 10 2.37
1999 24 ATL NL 72.1 74 0 24 2.99
2000 25 ATL NL 53.0 59 0 25 4.25
2001 26 ATL NL 32.0 30 0 13 3.66
2001 26 CLE AL 34.2 38 0 23 5.97
2002 27 TEX AL 24.1 30 0 19 7.03
2003 28 TBD AL 1.0 2 0 1 9.00
6 Seasons 255.1 280 0 115 4.05
ATL (4 yrs) 195.1 210 0 72 3.32
TBD (1 yr) 1.0 2 0 1 9.00
TEX (1 yr) 24.1 30 0 19 7.03
CLE (1 yr) 34.2 38 0 23 5.97
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/10/2017.