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EP Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Rocky Coppinger

EL PASO, Texas - Rocky Coppinger lives by a simple mantra, if you want something in life, go out and get it.

For Coppinger, playing major league baseball was a dream, but it wasn't out of the realm of possibilty.

Coppinger was able to have an MLB career, that while short, was still an experience of a lifetime.

On June 30, Coppinger will be honored at the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony as part of the Class of 2020.

The Class of 2020 was unable to have an induction ceremony last year due to Covid-19.

Coppinger was a star pitcher at Coronado High School where he led the Thunderbirds to 3 district and 2 bi-district championships.

He graduated from Coronado in 1993, and in just three short years after finishing high school, Coppinger made his MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles.

At the time, Coppinger was the #1 prospect for the Orioles.

"I was young when I got called up, so that helped me a little bit," Coppinger said. "I think if I was a little smarter at that point I probably would have played a little bit more mental games with myself. It was kind of surreal of what I got a chance to do."

Coppinger spent five years in the big leagues before injuries would force his retirement in 2001.

Along with playing for the Orioles, Coppinger also saw playing time with the Milwaukee Brewers and then for the Oakland Athletics.

He won 17 games as a starting pitcher, 10 as a rookie.

From high school, to college, and then eventually 'The Show', Coppinger's baseball career is one worthy of induction into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame.

"I think it's a great honor," Coppinger said. "I'm excited to get a plaque put up in the Haskins Center, so now I'm going to become a huge basketball fan so I can go take pictures in there. We're all excited."

Now 20 years removed from his time in the MLB, Coppinger is still close the game of baseball, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Coppinger is a baseball coach for his 12-year-old daughter's little league team.

His young players are aware of his history in the MLB, but they're not intimidated by it.

"They know, they've got the baseball cards, but they just see me as Rocky, which is cool," Coppinger said. "Coach Rocky who jokes around with them, and kind of teaches them life lessons in baseball."

Coppinger believes what he gave the game of baseball, the game has given back, and it's something you can't put a price on.

"The reason I played major league baseball was for these moments here, so that I can teach these kids," Coppinger said. "It wasn't to go make money, or for the fame. That's why the Lord gave me a chance to play Major League Baseball."

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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