In the city of Macon and its suburbs in the heart of Georgia, First Presbyterian Day School is known simply as FPD. Long a college preparatory school that fed to the Ivy League schools in the north, FPD burst to national acclaim in 2003 when it was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award for Education–the highest honor in American education. That academic excellence has carried over into their athletic programs, from an excellent football program to a well-known track team. An important part of their success is their well-known baseball team.
The baseball program has seen a lot of success. In the past 20 years In the past 28 years, the Vikings have won the Georgia Regional Championship eleven times, the last coming under coach Terry Mitchell in 2004. With previous coach Jimmy Turner the Vikings won the regional title 7 times and, more importantly, won the Georgia State Championship in 1992. The last four years have seen FPD make the tournament with winning records but no titles have come their way. Fans are still impressed with their black and red team, cheering them on as each hit registers on the 20-foot 1530 LED baseball scoreboard overhead. That scoreboard is just one of many baseball scoreboards manufactured by Electro-Mech.
The most famous baseball graduate from the program is also the most infamous. John Rocker, a Macon native, was one of the hardest throwing teens and pros that the area and country had seen. For the FPD Vikings, Rocker threw three no-hitter games! Famous for his dominating fastball he was signed by the Atlanta Braves right out of high school, just 80 miles to the north. Rocker spent one year in the Minor leagues before getting called up to replace an injured Braves starter in 1998. In 1999, he was the Braves full-time closer and he posted his best season. He worked to earn 38 saves in 74 games with an incredible 2.49 ERA for the season. It would also prove to be his best and last without controversy. That summer, infamously, Rocker gave a driving interview to a magazine where he referred to New Yorkers in many unpleasant ways. The pressure from the fans, media and his own expectations left Rocker a shell of what he was: his pitch fell off, he was traded and ultimately he quit baseball rather than be banished back to the Minors.
Anytime fans come out to the field here they are treated to a fun and competitive team. A standout season for fans was the year 2000, when spectators were treated to the greatest offensive season in Viking history. Tommy Joyce playing in his senior year had a season batting average of an astounding .631. He added several other FPD records that year: 16 home runs, 66 runs batted in and 53 base hits (breaking his own record of 45). After the season, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. Joyce’s teammate that year Rashad Eldridge was picked up the same year by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the baseball draft. Neither player has yet made it into the Major Leagues.