Then and Now: John Rocker


How many of you know who John Rocker is? My guess is probably not too many.  John Rocker is a retired Major League Baseball relief pitcher who’s career spanned 6 years over the course of the late 1990s and early 2000s.   Over the course of his career, he played for 4 Major League teams in 280 games (please remember there are 162 games in the season), compiled a record of 13-22 with 332 career strikeouts and 88 saves.  He also managed to rake in over $5 million in salary.

john rocker2 593x409 Then and Now: John Rocker


But during this brief stint of “relevancy”, Rocker was much more known for his controversial statements off the field than he was known for his mediocre play on it.  In an interview for a story in Sports Illustrated in December 1999, Rocker was asked if he would ever play for the New York Yankees or Mets.  His response?

“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 speakingEnglish. 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?”

In the same interview, he also gave his opinion on New York Mets fans.  He said, “Nowhere else in the country do people spit at you, throw bottles at you, throw quarters at you, throw batteries at you and say, ‘Hey, I did your mother last night — she’s a whore.’ I talked about what degenerates they were and they proved me right.”

john rocker1 593x409 Then and Now: John Rocker

Rocker wouldn’t stop there.  In 2002, he would make headlines after directing slurs towards patrons of a restaurant in a largely LGBT community. In 2006, he would defend his former teammate Ozzie Guillen after he called a Chicago journalist a “fag”.  And after being implicated in a steroid ring in 2007, Rocker would admit to his steroid usage, saying, “Yeah, of course I was [using steroids]. I mean who wasn’t? Let’s be honest here, who wasn’t?”

So where is Rocker now?  In 2010, he published a book that would consist of, in his own words, “more conservative Republican rantings”.  He currently writes for a column on a conservative republican website, and just last month he gave his views on the Holocaust. He said, “Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life, but one I think can be collectively agreed upon is the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.” Clearly, nothing has changed.

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Then and Now: John Rocker