Terry Blocker is a helluva guy. When pitcher Dave Shotkoski was gunned down in West Palm Beach in 1994, Blocker, trying to make a comeback as a replacement player, took to the streets to help find the culprit.
Without ever meeting the man, Blocker was able to come up with a street nickname. He went to the police, who soon arrested Neal Douglas Evans, age 29, and charged him with first-degree murder and attempted robbery.
“Blocker saved us at least one day and probably two,” said Detective David Atherton of the West Palm Beach Police Department. “He went out on his own. Nobody asked him to do it. He’s very modest. He doesn’t think he’s a hero, but if some people had known what he was doing, he would have been in danger. I’m in danger every time I go there.”
Six years earlier, Blocker was the part-time CF for a Braves team that would’ve probably lost to most replacement squads.
Blocker was chosen by the Mets with the 4th overall pick in the 1991 amateur draft ahead of Frd McGriff, Mark McGwire, Frank Viola, David Cone, Matt Williams, Mark Langston, Sid Fernandez, Paul O’Neill, Ron Darling, Devon White, to name 10. (The Braves, with the 12th pick in the 1st round, selected Jay Roberts. The OF, a special teams stalwart with the Washington Huskies who had not played high school baseball, never advanced past Single-A, batting .187 over 4 years. )
GM Bobby Cox acquired Blocker from New York for pitcher Kevin Brown (not that Kevin Brown) prior to the ’88 season, throwing him into the OF mix along with the likes of Albert Hall, Gary Roenicke and Dion James. Blocker ended up starting 59 games in CF, providing decent defense but little else, batting .212 with a .250 OBP and .283 slugging percentage. The erstwhile speedster was 1-for-2 in SB attempts.
He started the ’89 season in Double-A Greenville but made it back to Atlanta, which tells you plenty about that Braves team. Blocker hit .226 in 31 AB, the last of his MLB career until attempting a comeback, 5 years later, as a replacement Brave. It was then that Blocker finally made his mark, albeit off the field.