Shawn David Green was born on November 10, 1972 in Des Plaines, Illinois. The six foot four left handed hitter, won a baseball scholarship to Sanford University.
In 1991 he was the Toronto Blue Jays #1 pick, the 16th pick overall. He had an impressive minor league career winning the International League batting title in 1994, batting .341 with a .401 on base %, 13 HRs & 61 RBIs. He was voted the IL’s top hitting prospect & the league's best outfield throwing arm. He was the Blue Jays Minor League Player of the Year & was named one of Baseball Americas top prospects.
Green was brought up for a cups of coffee in the 1993 Blue Jays championship season (3 games) & again in 1994. He began in Toronto coming in fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, he would go on to hit over thirty doubles five straight seasons as well. By 1995 he was a fixture in the Blue Jays outfield for the next five seasons. He put up bigger numbers each year & by the hitting rich days of the late 1990’s Green was one of the leagues better hitters.
In 1998 he hit 35 HRs with 100 RBIs, following that up with a bigger 1999 season. He led the league in extra base hits (87), doubles (45) & total bases (361) hitting 42 HRs (5th in the AL) with 123 RBIs (6th in the AL) & a .309 batting average. He was second in the AL with 134 runs scored & ninth with 190 hits. Green made his first All Star team & came in fifth in the MVP voting.
In early April he beacme just the third player to hit a HR in the fifth deck of the Skydome, measured at 450 feet. Although he lacked speed, Green was a good outfielder with a decent throwing arm early on, he led the league in assists in 1995 & had double figures in that category twice. He led all right fielders in fielding percentage (.997%)& was second in put outs (.336).
He was about to enter the final year of his contract in Toronto as was his friend, Carlos Delgado. The team had to react & with Green wanting to move closer to his California roots a deal was made. In November 1999 Green was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Raul Mondesi & Pedro Borbon Jr.
Green would spend five seasons in L.A. hitting over 40 HRs twice, while driving in 99 runs or better three times. He set Dodger records for a left hander with his RBI totals begin inning in 1999.
In 2000 he was on base for 53 straight games, falling five times short of former Dodger; Duke Snider's modern day NL record. Green's best season in Los Angeles was 2001; when he hit .297 with 49 HRs (4th in the NL) 31 doubles & 125 RBIs (9TH in the NL).
That season he made a decision to sit out a game on Yom Kippur, the most religious Jewish Holiday, after he had played in 415 straight games. He felt it was the right thing to do out of respect & to set an example to children. He also donated a day’s pay ($75,000) to victims of families of the 911 attacks in New York City.
On May 23rd, 2002 he had a record setting day in Milwaukee in a game against the Brewers. Green hit four HRs with seven RBIs, gathering up six hits, five runs scored & had four extra-base hits in the game. He hit another HR the next day & two more the following day, while driving in six more runs. He broke a three game HR record & finished off the week hitting nine HRs in the week, also an NL record.
He finished the year with 42 HRs 31 doubles, 114 RBIs, a .385 on base % while batting .285. He made the NL All Star team & was fifth in the MVP voting.
The next season he began to suffer from tendinitis & his power numbers began to fall off. He hit just 19 HRs with 85 RBIs but did hit a career high 49 doubles.
In 2004 he moved over to play first base & hit 28 HRs. He batted .266 with 85 RBIs, helping the Dodgers to the playoffs. In his first ever post season he hit three HRs in the 2004 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
That off season he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Dioner Navarro & three minor leaguers.
He remained steady batting .286 with 22 HRs 37 doubles & 83 RBIs in 2005. In 2006 he had played in 115 games with Arizona, batting .283 with 11 HRs & 51 RBIs when he was traded to the New York Mets on August 22nd 2006 for AAA pitcher Evan Maclane.
In his career Green had three seasons of 40 plus HRs, four 100 plus RBI seasons & three forty plus doubles seasons. But those were during baseballs live ball era of the late nineties/early 2000's. Green hit over 30 doubles eleven times, & hit over .280 nine times. A free swinger, he struck out over 100 times seven seasons in his career & is 105th all time with 1315 K’s.
By the time got to the Mets he was striking out much less & in 2006 only went down swinging 15% of his at bats.
He was lured to New York by his close friend, Carlos Delgado. The two became buddies in their years spent together in Toronto, Delgado was even best man at his wedding. He arrived in New York with the Mets 14 1/2 games in first place in the NL East.
Green got a standing ovation in his first at bat at Shea Stadium on August 24th & got a hit in his second Mets at bat. He played mostly in right field, after the main starting spot had been vacant since the Mets traded Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh. On September 6th he hit HRs in both ends of a doubleheader, while gathering up six hits total, in a twin bill sweep of the Atlanta Braves. He closed out the season with hittting two HRs the final week, both against the Washington Nationals. He also had five hits in the last two games of the regular season.
Overall In 34 games since arriving in New York, Green hit .257 with 4 HRs 9 doubles 8 walks & 15 RBIs.
Post Season; In the 2006 playoffs, Green tied for the Mets team lead with three doubles, and hit .313, which was second best on the team.
Post Season: In the NLDS against his old Los Angeles Dodger club, he saw action in all three games going 3-9. In Game #3 he had a pair of hits drove in two runs off pitcher Greg Maddox. In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, he played in all seven games batting .304 (7-23).
In Game #4 at St. Louis, he had two hits including a 6th inning RBI single scoring Carlos Beltran. In the next at bat Jose Vaentin would drive Green home in the Mets 12-5 win. In Game #6 at Shea Stadium, he had a 4th inning RBI single which brought home Beltran with the Mets second run of the game in their 4-2 win, sending the series to a Game #7.
In 2007 the Mets declined an option to keep Green on the team for two more years, instead he got a one year deal. He had a strong April batting .355 with 15 RBIs. He had four multiple RBI games, including a stretch of bringing in a run in four straight games during the opening week of the season. By the end of May he had 5 HRs with 22 RBIs & was batting .314 when he fouled a ball off his foot chipping a bone. It was the first time in his career he was on the DL. He missed almost three weeks, returning in mid June.
On June 25th he hit a walk off HR off St. Louis’ Russ Springer for a dramatic 2-1 Mets victory. On August 8th he went 4-4 in a game against the Atlanta Braves his best muti hit game on the season. On the season he played in 130 games, batting .291 (fourth best batting average on the team) with 10 HRs 30 doubles 37 walks a .352 on base % & 46 RBIs but the Mets missed the playoffs on the last day of the season.
At the end of the season he chose to retire at age 36 to be with his family.
He finished his 15 year career batting .283 with 2003 hits 328 HRs (104th all time) 445 doubles (102nd all time) 35 triples, 1070 RBIs (226th all time) 744 walks, 808 extra base hits (106th all time) a .355 on base % & 1129 runs scored. He struck out often 1315 times which is 105nd all time.
Overall Green played in 1951 games, 1733 in the outfield. In the right field he played 1630 games (17th most all time) posting a .986 fielding% (33rd best all time) with 83 assists (62nd all time).
Retirement: Green retired to Orange County California with his wife & five daughters. He was inducted to the Orange County Jewish Hall of Fame & received the Hank Greenberg Sportsmanship Award in 2004. Shawn Green's grandfather actually shortened the family name from Greenberg to Green many years ago.