Amid an era of big-time offense, Shawn Green often flew under the radar, but the man who celebrates his 45th birthday today was consistently among baseball's elite power hitters. After breaking out with 35 homers on the Blue Jays in 1998, he clubbed 157 long balls from 1999-2002, a total eclipsed by only seven other players in the game.
Most of that time was spent with the Dodgers, and Green was never better than on one afternoon in 2002. He set the franchise mark for home runs in a single season with 49 in 2001, but had gotten off to a sluggish start in '02. Green entered the Dodgers' series at Miller Park against the Brewers on May 21 with his OPS uncharacteristically sitting below .700.
Green showed signs of breaking out, belting a pair of homers on May 21 and notching a triple the following night that scored the only run in a 1-0 Dodgers victory. Those games would pale in comparison to May 23.
On that day, Green tied one of baseball's most impressive records by crushing not one, not two, not three but four home runs in a single game. The attack on Brewers pitching was something to behold:
Hang on. Slow down for a second and watch Green react to the record-tying fourth blast:
Now that's a fun strut, and a well-earned one at that.
As Green later told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, it was simply one of those hot streaks where everything clicked.
"That day, and that week, I had a very calm sense of being in the zone," Green said. "For that week, I was just very relaxed. Everything slowed down. All the clichés."
It's hard to believe, but Green's eruption was even better than most four-homer games. On top of the dingers, Green added a double and a single to go 6-for-6 with 19 total bases, a Major League record that has never even been tied.
We have to say it was a good day.