An El Paso Baseball Player’s Role in a Legend’s Final Homerun
The name Mark McGwire is one of the biggest names in the world of MLB. "Big Mac" has made a name for himself playing with the Oakland Athletics & the St Louis Cardinals between 1986 to 2001. He once held the record of having the 5th highest number of home runs; at 583. What you might NOT know is the pitcher who GAVE Mark his final home run was an El Paso player.
Who was the El Paso pitcher?
John Thomas Coppinger, aka Rocky Coppinger, was born on March 19th, 1974. Rocky would graduate from Coronado High School as part of the class of 1993. He would be drafted into the MLB in 1996 at the age of 22 & would play for the Baltimore Orioles (later for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1999). He would stay playing in the major leagues until 2001. Rocky would also join the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020. You can see a lot more of his stats with the Orioles & the Brewers here.
Now that we've been introduced to Rocky...
Let's go back to the date of Mark's final homerun
The final day where Mark McGwire scored his final home run (his 583rd) was on October 4th, 2001 while playing in Brewers territory. Mark only scored one home run the entire game & it was thanks to Rocky's pitching. The Cardinals would end up winning 10-3. There's highlights of that particular game in this 2001 Highlight video on YouTube (you can see the game appear at the 11 minute mark).
Rocky Coppinger hasn't done many interviews in his career; but recently he did one with Doug Rutter G & Ruben G in 2022. There he talked about getting his start in the MLB & his life post-MLB.
No matter what you take from this, one thing is for certain: both Mark & Rocky have names for themselves in the world of baseball & both have cemented their names in history.