Ten years ago today, Shawn Green had quite possibly the best game any hitter has ever had, tying or setting some rather impressive records along the way.
On May 23, 2002, Green and his Dodgers teammates were in Milwaukee to take on the Brewers. Green came up in the top of the first with one out and a runner on second, and promptly belted an RBI double off Milwaukee starting pitcher Glendon Rusch. For many, an RBI double would be a highlight. For Green, it would be one of his worst at-bats on the day.
Next inning, Green came up again, this time with two on and two out. This time Green connected for a fly ball that cleared the fence. Rusch just didn’t have it that day, and two batters (and two extra base hits) later, was in the showers, having allowed eight runs while getting five outs.
Rusch was done, but Green had just begun. Milwaukee’s bullpen would not be able to solve the Dodgers right fielder at all.
In the fourth, Green led off against the Dodgers. On the mound was Brian Mallette, who had just been inserted into the game. Green tagged Mallette for another home run. In the fifth Green came up again against Mallette and it was a repeat of the previous inning—home run. This was only Mallette’s fifth big league appearance; he never would get a sixth.
Things were now rather interesting. Green had three home runs through five innings—and that guaranteed he’d get at least one more at-bat. That means he could tie the record of four homers in a game. He could even break the record if he was lucky.
In the eighth inning Green came up again to lead off. With the Dodgers up 10-2, even many Milwaukee fans were rooting for Green to make history by nailing another homer. Alas, he couldn’t quite do that, lashing out a single instead. He was now 5-for-5 with three homers and a double.
There was no guarantee that Green would get another chance, but fortunately for him his Dodgers teammates were going a better job than Milwaukee’s relievers.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Green stood at the plate one final time. Brewers pitcher Jose Cabrera was perfectly capable of surrendering a home run—in fact he’d done just that to Adrian Beltre batting just before Green in the Dodgers batting order.
Green took the first pitch for ball one. He swung at the next offering but missed, evening the count. The third pitch was the big one. Green connected and once again the ball launched over the fence for his fourth home run of the day. (For good measure, Cabrera then allowed his third consecutive homer when backup Dave Hansen went deep on him).
Green’s day: 6-for-6 with four home runs and a double. Four homers tied a record, and his 19 total bases set a record. You can’t do much better than that, and it’s what Shawn Green did 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, today marks the anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something occurring X-thousand days ago) of many other events. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
5,000 days since the White Sox top the Tigers 17-16 in 12 innings. The teams combine for 51 hits in this contest.
5,000 days since Carlos Beltran makes his big league debut.
9,000 days since rookie Padres catcher Benito Santiago’s hitting streak peaks at 34 games, the record for a first-year player.
9,000 days since Gary Matthews Sr. plays in his final contest.
15,000 days since one time Padres pitcher Sterling Hitchcock is born.
20,000 days since White Sox pitcher Bob Keegan no-hits the Senators in a 6-0 win.
20,000 days since Yankee pitcher Bob Turley pitches a two-hitter only to lose 1-0 to the Kansas City A’s.
1862 Dummy Hoy, star center fielder, is born.
1872 Deacon Phillippe, high quality turn-of-the-century pitcher, is born.
1873 Brewery Jack Taylor, good pitcher who (as his nickname clearly notes) has a taste for liquor, is born.
1888 Hall of Fame outfielder Zack Wheat is born.
1889 The wooden grandstand in Brooklyn’s Washington Park burns, leaving the Bridegrooms (as the Dodgers were then called) homeless.
1890 The Pirates and Giants combine to steal 20 bases in one game, the all-time record. New York steals 17 of them.
1896 Normally known for his pitching, today Cy Young impresses on offense as he legs out an inside-the-park home run. Chippy McGarr, Young’s teammate does likewise against 200-game winner Jack Stivetts.
1901 The Indians stage one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history when they score nine runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 14-13 win over Washington. The rally began with two outs and no one on base.
1901 It’s the ultimate sign of respect: Nap Lajoie receives a bases-loaded intentional walk.
1906 Negro League Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo is born.
1908 Giants third baseman Art Devlin fields a record 13 chances in one game.
19110 Cincinnati hitter Dode Paskert steals second, third and home in the first inning against Boston.
1911 Christy Mathewson notches his 18th consecutive win over the Reds.
1915 George Mullin, early star AL pitcher, appears in his final game.
1918 It’s work or fight. Baseball players learn they have until July 1 to find war-essential jobs. If they’re still playing ball at that time, they’ll become eligible for America’s World War I draft.
1924 Walter Johnson fans 14 and allows one hit in the 100th of 110 career shutouts.
1925 Reds pitcher Pete Donohue has a devastating day at the plate, smacking four singles and a home run in a 11-2 win over the Phillies.
1926 Cubs star Hack Wilson hits a homer off the Wrigley Field scoreboard, which isn’t the same scoreboard it currently has.
1927 At night, hard-drinking center fielder Hack Wilson is arrested for violating the nation’s prohibition laws.
1930 Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell is off today, as he allows a personal worst 17 hits. Yet somehow he nearly wins anyway, but the Phillies top Hubbell and his Giants teammates by one run, 9-8.
1935 Hall of Fame third baseman Bill Terry legs out his 100th triple.
1935 It’s the first night game in major league baseball. Well, in theory. It’s delayed by rain in Cincinnati.
1936 Sammy Byrd has one of the most awesome at-bats in baseball history. Stepping to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and his team trailing 3-0, he uncorks a walk-off, pinch-hit grand slam. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.
1937 Dizzy Dean stages a one-man protest against the balk. He pauses in his windup as he’s supposed to—but stays paused for three full minutes. He’s upset at a balk call from four days prior.
1938 Cubs pitcher Bill Lee beats Boston 4-1. That run he surrenders is the only one against him in a 47-inning stretch from mid-May to early June.
1944 It’s a real blowout in the American Association, as Milwaukee whumps Toledo, 28-0.
1944 Wartime restrictions are starting to ease up, and as a result New York City has its first night baseball game of the war. Brooklyn tops the Giants 3-2 in Ebbets Field.
1951 Mel Parnell has a pretty good day. He four-hits the Browns while rapping out four hits himself at the plate in Boston’s 12-0 win. In that same game, Parnell’s teammate Ted Williams receives a personal best five walks.
1952 Roy Campanella hits his 100th career home run.
1956 Orioles manager Buck Showalter is born.
1957 A Cardinals loss gives skipper Fred Hutchinson a career record 86 games under .500 (244-330), his all-time low point. He’ll be 586-497 for the rest of his career.
1957 Dummy Hoy, on his 95th birthday, writes that sportswriters should go back to calling him Dummy again, just like they did in his playing days. (They’d taken to calling him William, his given name, instead over the years).
1958 Willie Mays knocks out his 200th career home run.
1960 The White Sox release former Indians ace Mike Garcia.
1960 Sandy Koufax is denied a no-hitter when opposing pitcher Bennie Daniels gets a second inning single against the Dodgers southpaw. That proves to be the only hit Koufax surrenders in a 1-0 win over the Pirates.
1961 Billy Pierce ties his personal best of 12 Ks in one game—and today he does it while throwing only six innings. The other times he fans a dozen he throws nine, 10, and 12 innings. Despite that, he loses today’s contest, 3-1.
1963 Gavvy Cravath, one of the best sluggers of the 1910s, dies.
1965 The Cubs beat the Dodgers 3-2 in 16 innings on a bases-loaded walk to George Altman. LA scores twice in the first inning and that’s it for them on the day.
1965 Earl Webb dies. He still owns the record for most doubles in one season with 67.
1965 Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda, in an act of anger and frustration, puts his foot through a batting helmet. However, in a moment of comedy and humor, he can’t dislodge it afterwards.
1969 Pirate rookie Al Oliver makes three errors in one inning.
1969 Mickey Lolich sets a Tigers record by fanning 16 batters in one game. He’ll tie that record 17 days later.
1970 Bob Gibson fans a personal best 16 batters in one game, leading St. Louis to a 3-1 win over the Phillies.
1970 The Padres top the Giants in a wild one, 17-16. Willie Mays reaches base seven times for the only time in his career. He has two homers, two singles, and three walks.
1971 Veteran third baseman Clete Boyer appears in his final game.
1971 A’s phenom Vida Blue appears in his 11th straight Quality Start. His line in that time: 11 GS, 10 CG, 94 IP, 50 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 30 BB, 93 K and a 0.96 ERA. He’s 10-1 on the season. So yeah, not bad.
1972 Roberto Clemente grounds into three double plays in one game for the only time in his career.
1975 Harmon Killebrew enjoys his 46th and final multi-home run game.
1977 It’s the Sport magazine article heard ‘round the world. An article by Robert Ward interviews Reggie Jackson, and quotes him claiming, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.” He is dismissive and insulting to many of his teammates, most notably Thurman Munson. This doesn’t go over well in the Yankees clubhouse, to put it mildly.
1978 The AL approves transfer of the Red Sox to a group headed by Jean Yawkey, Buddy LeRouex, and Haywood Sullivan for $15 million.
1978 A’s manager Bobby Winkles walks away from the job despite a 24-15 record, saying he wants to leave on his terms, not those of owner Charles Finley. Jack McKeon, the man Winkles replaced in the dugout the year before, now replaces Winkles.
1978 The Braves release Tom Paciorek, who will last many more years as a big league hitter.
1978 Irate after a 3-2 loss to the Padres, Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda destroys his office. In fact, he overdoes it and ends up damaging the door frame causing him to be locked in.
1979 Al Oliver smacks three home runs in one game.
1980 Five hours after the official midnight deadline for negations, a baseball strike is averted with a new basic agreement and an increase in the minimum wage.
1981 The Royals and Twins have a nice pitchers duel that ends in a 1-0 win for KC after 15 innings. Royals starting pitcher Paul Splittorff goes 11 innings while Roger Erickson lasts 9.1 for Minnesota.
1981 Ozzie Smith’s longest hitting streak peaks at 15 games. He has 20 hits in that span—19 singles and one double.
1984 The Tigers win their 16th consecutive road game. Their record is now 34-5.
1984 It’s revenge for Fernando Valenzuela. A week ago he faced the Phillies and Steve Carlton only to have the veteran lefty belt a grand slam against him. Today Valenzuela and Carlton meet again, but this time Valenzuela wins 1-0 on a three-hitter with 15 Ks.
1986 Tony Gwynn hits a walk-off home run. It’s the first of two in his career.
1986 The Oakland A’s make one of their best pickups. They sign Dave Stewart, a reliever released by the Phillies two weeks before. Tony LaRussa will make Stewart a starting pitcher and he’ll win 20 games a year four straight seasons.
1986 Veteran pitcher Ken Forsch appears in his last game.
1987 The Cubs top the Braves 7-6 in 16 innings despite walking 14 Braves. Atlanta strands 17 runners on the day.
1987 In his 241st career start, Bob Welch allows his first leadoff home run. He’ll end his career with seven leadoff homers allowed.
1987 Former MVP Steve Garvey appears in his final game.
1987 Giants manager Roger Craig receives the rare post-game ejection by an umpire. The Giants lose 9-8 to the Phillies with a ninth-inning balk call setting up the winning run. Craig has words with Hall of Fame umpire Doug Harvey about it after the game ends and Harvey thumbs him.
1989 The Cleveland Indians sit atop the AL East despite a 21-22 record.
1990 Former Yankees outfielder Charlie Keller dies.
1991 Tommy Greene pitches a no-hitter to beat Montreal, 2-0.
1993 Will Clark lays down his first sacrifice bunt since September 1987. He’ll never do it again, making this the only one in his final 7,326 plate appearances.
1993 California signs amateur free agent catcher Bengie Molina.
1993 The White Sox release ex-Jays ace Dave Stieb.
1993 Glenn Davis, former star Astros slugger, plays in his final game.
1993 Craig Biggio enjoys what might be the best game of his career. He’s 4-for-5 with a double, two homers, three runs, 11 total bases (his most) and one K, helping Houston top the Padres, 9-7.
1995 Chuck Finley posts his 100th career win, giving him a record of 100-90. He does it in style, with the best Game Score of his career: 96. His line: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, and 15 K. That also ties his personal best with 15 Ks.
1995 Jim Edmonds enjoys the first of 28 multi-home run games.
1995 California signs amateur free agent Ramon Ortiz.
1995 A new golden age begins in the Bronx as Mariano Rivera makes his big league debut.
1997 For the only time in his career, Derek Jeter has two sacrifice bunts in one game.
1999 Baltimore scores 10 runs in the first innings, with Brady Anderson getting hit by pitch twice.
2000 Rickey Henderson draws his 2,000th career walk, which is especially impressive when you realize that pitchers never want to let the speedy Henderson on first base.
2001 Derek Jeter enjoys a nice 5-for-5 game. It’s his only one until the day he gets No. 3,000.
2001 Jeff Brantley appears in his final game.
2002 In his 600th career game, switch hitter Luis Castillo homers from the left side of the plate for the first time.
2003 Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols has his first five-hit game.
2003 The umpires in A ball eject the groundskeeper from a game. He told the umps it was time to cover the field and they disagreed. An argument ensued, and umpires always have the trump card in an on-field argument.
2003 Jason Bay makes his big league debut.
2003 Scott Rolen enjoys his best game ever according to WPA. He’s 2-for-5 with a home run for a 0.646 WPA day. His big moment is a three-run homer with two out in the ninth with his team trailing by a pair.
2004 Randy Johnson nearly sets a record. He’s retired his last 33 batters faced heading into today and gets the first six today for 39, two short of Jim Barr’s record, but then the first man in the third reaches base against him.
2004 Tom Glavine ties his personal best Game Score: 92. His line: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, and 8 K. Only an eighth-inning double keeps him from a no-hitter.
2005 Mark Mulder pitches a 10-inning complete game shutout over the Astros. It’s the first extra inning complete game shutout in the NL since Greg Maddux did it 17 years earlier. The losing pitcher is Roger Clemens, part of a stretch of four straight starts in which his team loses 1-0 each time with him pitching.
2006 Carlos Beltran hits a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 16th for a 8-7 Mets win over St. Louis.
2009 Jason Giambi launches his 400th home run.
2010 Jose Lima dies at the too-young age of 37.
2011 Corey Hart of the Brewers launches three homers in one game.