Ask a baseball fan to name the dominant hitters of the late 90s and early 2000s and you’ll likely get names like McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Palmeiro, Griffey Jr., Piazza, Bagwell, Biggio, and Thomas give or take a few. One name that usually doesn’t make the cut? Shawn Green.
Green is one of those guys that had tons of speculation regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs due to the era in which he played in, and the seemingly out of place power numbers that he produced. He would finish his career with three seasons in which he hit over 40 home runs, one of them being in 2002. Of his 42 home runs that season, four of them were hit on the exact same day.
The date was May 23, 2002, Green and the Los Angeles Dodgers were taking on the Milwaukee Brewers. Coming into the game, Green was in a severe slump and there were questions about his ability to remain as one of the games best power hitters. He would quiet those doubters in a major way on this day.
Green would launch his first home run of the game in his second at-bat, after an RBI double in the first inning. When he came up for his third at-bat in the 4th inning, he homered again, and again in the 5th. In the 8th, he settled for a single, but was fortunate to get another at-bat in the 9th. Green would launch yet another solo shot, his fourth of the game, becoming only the 14th major-league to hit four home-runs in one game.
Add that on with his RBI double and single and this is Green’s final box score: 6-6, 4HR, 7RBI, 19 total bases. That last figure, the 19 total bases, is still a major league record to this day.
Although Green may not be remembered in the way that many of his fellow sluggers will be, he will always have that day in May in Milwaukee, where he had perhaps the best statistical offensive performance of any major leaguer of all time.