LEFT BEHIND NO. 9: John Rocker


John Rocker.gifLefthanded Reliever
Seasons with Braves: 1998-2001
Career Stats with Braves: 8-12, IP 195.3, ERA 2.63, 83 SV, 259 SO

This is an omission, I presume, due to Mac’s distaste for this particular player. I think he makes the three full seasons rule, since he came up in early May and appeared in 47 games. And he also appeared in another 30 in his fourth season. And, well, between the lines, he can’t hardly be left off. He’s the Braves No. 4 in all-time saves, and his ERA is phenomenal. I love Cecil Upshaw and Rick Camp being on the 44. This guy was way better.

His stuff was filthy.

He averaged 1.32 Ks per inning, which is the all-time best for the Braves: better than Wohlers, McMichael, Smoltzie, anybody. A lot better. By comparison: Roger Clemens is 0.95. Randy Johnson is 1.19. Bruce Sutter is 0.82. Mariano Rivera? 0.88. This guy was nasty.

His H/9 is 6.27! No other reliever is under 7.

His ERA+ for all four seasons with the Braves are 199, 174, 161, and 142.

Can’t keep him off. Don’t care what he did. In the 44? Absolutely.

Mac’s additional comments: I mentioned in my introduction to the series that “I couldn’t bring myself to include” Rocker. So Bledsoe is correct. But Rocker’s career with the Braves was really short, less than 200 innings, shorter than Remlinger’s, McMichael’s, or Ligtenberg’s, and far shorter than Camp’s. Camp was the closer for two seasons in which his ERA, relative to the league, was better than Rocker’s — and threw just about as many innings in those two years as Rocker did in his four. So they’re even, and then you add in Camp’s career as a starter and setup man, and it’s no contest.

I could have found a Rocker card but I didn’t want to, so a picture from when he was with the Indians.

John Rocker Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

15 thoughts on “LEFT BEHIND NO. 9: John Rocker”

  1. He still could be closing today with the Bravos, if his mouth could have been sealed shut or he spoke english (pun intended)

  2. I’ve always been one of the proud few John Rocker fans. Nice to see him at least make the Left Behind squad.

  3. I was at plenty games at Shea in 1998-99, sitting near the bullpen, listening to the Mets fans rain abuse on the Braves relievers, so I found the first Rocker first anti-NY salvo amusing—in a professional wrestler sort of way.

    After that, I just wanted to ship him to Siberia. I don’t care how good he was. In my view, he remains an embarrassment to the Braves & The South.

  4. I agree about the Embarrassment to the south part. I get so tired of hearing how southern people are represented in the media and all Rocker does is completely reinforce everything they believe about my family and I.

    Go Cocks..

  5. Yes, Rocker was an a-hole and out of control. But he was blindsided by the PC police. I live in the New York area and my wife is Chinese. Yes, riding in NYC subways is depressing with vagrants and people on welfare. And yes, women of Asian origin do tend to drive slowly in the left lane. There are plenty more reverse racists in the NorthEast who behave worse than folks like Rocker in the South (and I’ve lived in both areas), but minorities have permission to be racist and ignorant, while wealthy white men don’t. (I suspect he was behind a Chinese lady driver during his Sports Illustrated joyride, perhaps my Sister-in-law in Alpharetta, who he mistook for Japanese.)

    Rocker must have hurt himself along with screwing up his composure, because his career was certainly short. He was always nearly out of control, and at some point he fell off the edge both physically and mentally. What a waste.

  6. Fluornoy, I’d say more like the “Kiss My Left Behind” slot.

    And Mr. West, Rocker wasn’t blindsided by anything but his own inability to control his temper. There’s no way you can be the subject of a multipage Sports Illustrated story and not draw attention (even withoout the more, ah, intemperate things he said). Rocker couldn’t deal with it and his pitching fell apart.

    Smitty, I may be a UGA alum, but I know you’re not going to dump to Steve Spurious. (I also knew we were going to lose today- the Bulldogs losing in Jacksonville is right there with death and taxes.)

  7. Imagine having to take the 7 train to [Shea Stadium] looking like you’re [in] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who 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?
    John Rocker—

    It seems to me that most people allowed the media to control and manipulate their emotions rather than just read Rocker’s quotes and think for themselves. He doesn’t like New York and he doesn’t care much for foreigners. Who cares? That whole thing was nothing but a witch hunt on Rocker, and that’s the sad truth.

  8. I kind of agree hazeman. He went too far, being on a sports team catering to all groups, but (most) of what he said was really not that bad. Some of what he said about New York and illegal immigrants and his current “speak English” campaign is probably a view held by a majority of Americans.

    His career faded because of injuries and his control problems. Here is the answer for people who ask “what would it have been like if he kept his mouth shut,” answer: exactly the same.

  9. He wanted to be heard on these issues, otherwise he wouldn’t have spoken on record to a journalist about them. Well, he got heard, then he got to hear back. Witch hunt, my ass.

    I don’t care if someone has purple hair, and I can’t tell by riding a train next to someone whether they have AIDS, four kids on welfare, or have been in jail four times. It was a bizarre rant, untempered by any sense that someone with AIDS, or on welfare, or who’s even been to jail, possesses any humanity or any role on God’s green earth beyond what John Rocker thought about sharing a space for a few minutes with them.

  10. Anyone who is a public figure (and, if you are a ballplayer, you are a public figure) better have the brains to know when to shut the hell up. There was no reason for him to do this rant. On the other hand, we always supposedly like people that are “outspoken.” Whether being outspoken is good seems to depend if we like what the person says. I still think it was inappropriate to suspend him for doing nothing but making offensive comments (although I understand that Selig really had no choice). If that’s the rule, then John Smoltz has offended me with his view of gays.

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