NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former major league pitcher John Rocker is back in the news for something he said.
Unsurprisingly, his words have again fueled controversy.
The 38-year-old last pitched for the Devil Rays in 2003, and he also spent time with the Rangers and Indians. But the baseball world — and Mets fans in particular — will remember him most for his time spent with the Atlanta Braves.
The Georgia native’s big league career was brief, but his outspoken personality and offensive comments made an indelible mark on the sports world, and he won’t soon be forgotten for being one of the most hated athletes of this generation.
Rocker currently writes a column for conservative website WorldNetDaily.com, and his latest piece raised some eyebrows.
The ex-reliever focused on gun control in his Monday column, and brought the Holocaust into the conversation.
“Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life,” Rocker wrote, “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.”
Rocker was heavily criticized following an interview he did with Sports Illustrated in 1999, when the Mets and Braves were battling for supremacy in the National League East.
“I would retire first,” Rocker said at the time in regard to playing in New York. “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.”
Rocker continued his rant aimed at New York City by saying, “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of 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?”
Mets fans despised Rocker so much during that pennant race that www.rockersucks.com was created as a forum for which to bash the player on a daily basis.
The left-hander’s best season came in ’99, when he pitched to a 2.49 ERA with 38 saves and 104 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings pitched.
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