During his time with the Atlanta Braves, left-handed reliever John Rocker was certainly controversial though largely reliable.
On this day 20 years ago, his final outing as a member of the Braves was memorable. For Rocker, however, it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. In his final game with Atlanta, Derrek Lee blasted a two-run home run in the ninth inning to lift the Florida Marlins to a 3-2 victory at Turner Field.
Trying to take three of four from the Braves, Florida was down to its last out on June 21, 2001. With Charles Johnson on first and Rocker on the mound, Lee was asked to pinch hit for pitcher Braden Looper with the Marlins on the short end of a 2-1 score.
Ahead in the count 2-1, Lee was able to turn around a 96-mile per hour fastball from Rocker and deposit it into the left field stands. The 417-foot blast gave Florida a 3-2 lead.
Chipper Jones singled off Antonio Alfonseca to start the ninth, but the Florida closer got Keith Lockhart to fly out before inducing a game-ending double play off the bat of Rico Brogna.
Lee’s blast served as the game-winner and gave the Marlins their only lead of the day. Atlanta’s only two runs came on RBI groundouts from Paul Bako and Mark DeRosa. Florida got on the board in the top of the fifth on a Charles Johnson sacrifice fly.
Rocker would be traded to the Cleveland Indians two days later where he would post just a 3-7 record and 5.45 ERA. It was widely speculated that Lee’s late blast helped send him packing. It came on this day two decades ago.