Green was a right handed pitcher during his playing days getting signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955. He would spend five years in the minors before getting to the major league level. Overall he played ten years in the minor leagues (seven years at the AAA level) posting an 89-64 record with a 3.59 ERA in 201 games (172 starts).
Green came up with the Phillies in parts of seasons from 1960-1964. He saw Robin Roberts pitch his last days as a Phillie, as well as seeing Dick Allen win the Rookie of the Year Award.
In 1964 Green was aboard early on as the team rolled along staying in first place much of the season. He returned as September call up witnessing the team lose a six game lead with just 12 game left to play, in one of the worst collapses in NL history. The previous year he had his best season going 7-5 with two saves posting a 3.23 ERA in forty appearances.
That same year on June 23rd facing the New York Mets at the Polo Grounds, Jimmy Piersall hit his 100th MLB career HR & ran around the bases backwards in celebration. Piersall stated that he saw Duke Snider hit career HR #400 with little fanfare & wanted to do something special for his milestone HR. The fans were delighted but Green, the Phillies & the Mets weren't as happy.
In May 1965 he was sent to the Washington Senators as a throw in from a previous deal, pitching just six games there. In July of 1966 his contract was purchased by the New York Mets.
Green debuted as a Met on July 23rd in Los Angeles, pitching one inning, allowing a run to the Dodgers in a 6-2 Mets loss. The next day he pitched two innings serving up a HR to catcher Johnny Roseboro. Green pitched just four games in a Mets uniform posting no record with a 5.40 ERA striking out one batter, walking two & allowing three earned runs in five innings of work. On August 10th he weas returned to the Phillies following a previous deal.
He finished him pitching career in 1967 going 20-22 lifetime in the majors with four saves, 268 strike outs 197 walks in 562 innings of work over 185 appearances.
Retirement: By the early seventies Green became an assistant minor league director for the Phillies (1970-1972), eventually becoming the Director of Player Development & scouting (1973-1979).
In 1980 he was named the teams manager and led the team to its first Worlds Championship. Green certainly was not the most popular manager in baseball. He was a rough guy with a loud voice who yelled often & had a nasty temper to with it all. He was very difficult to deal with & did not have good people skills.
He said of himself "I'm a screamer, a yeller and a cusser. I never hold back." He had many issues with players on the team, like slugger Greg Luzinski,and Gold Glovers; Larry Bowa & Bob Boone. He even came to blows with pitcher Ron Reed during an ugly incident.
After 1981 he was hired away by the new ownership for the Chicago Cubs as the team's General Manager. He held the position for five seasons, with his biggest achievement being the trade that landed future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg in Chicago.
In the deal he gave up Ivan Dejesus & Larry Bowa to the Phillies. Green also made acquisitions of the likes of Dennis Eckersley, Gary Mathews & Rick Sutcliffe who went 16-1 winning the Cy Young Award. The Cubs became contenders for the first time in a long time winning the NL East in both 1984 & 1989. In between the team finished last in 1987.
He was named the teams president and continued to bring on the drama. He was a strong supporter of getting lights installed at Wrigley Field & threatened to move the team if the city didn't agree. He blasted his team in the press fired his manager & eventually resigned due to differences with upper management.
In 1989 he managed the AL New York club getting them to a dismal 56-65 record before getting replaced by Bucky Dent. After laying low for a few seasons he was named the eleventh manager of the New York Mets replacing Jeff Torborg in May 1993.
The Mets went 46-78 the rest of the '93 season with Green at the helm. He walked into one of the worst periods in Mets history & the Green era would not be a good one.
A strict disciplinarian with a fiery personality was not going to click among this team. Green was always yelling at players, throwing fits, removing them from games, & having tirades with umpires. His explosive personality was terrible in New York especially on a losing team.
He even managed to anger women & animal rights groups when he asked how he copes with losing, he said "I just beat the hell out of Sylvia (his wife) and kick the dog and whatever else I've got to do to get it out," . Although he was joking it didn't go over well.
In his time as manager he would see Vince Coleman get charged with a endangerment after his firecracker throwing incident outside Dodger stadium which injured a young girl. It was a time when Anthony Young set a record with consecutive losing decisions & Bobby Bonilla needed ear plugs to drown out the boos he heard at Shea Stadium. It was also the time when the Mets Generation K pitching staff failed after being hyped as the teams saving grace.
Also In Greens time in New York, the Dwight Gooden ERA ended. Green showed no sympathy but rather blamed Gooden for his issues which violated the league's drug policy once again. He showed no support for Gooden suggesting it's time for him to move on.
Green constantly berated his players to the press, was always pressing his veteran for more production & was accused of having no patients with the younger players. He clashed with the troubled Carl Everett, insulted David Segui publicly & even got into a public heated argument with star pitcher Bret Saberhagen.
In the middle of all these messes was the 1994 MLB season ending baseball strike. That year the Mets finished 55-58 in third place, 18 games behind the Montreal Expos. In 1995 Green brought the Mets to a second place tie with a 69-75 record, 21 games behind the Atlanta Braves. By 1996 his time was done, he was replaced by Bobby Valentine in August after posting a 59-72 record.
In his Mets career he was 229-283 as manager, with a .447 %.
Overall he was 454-478 as manager with a .487%. After his time with the Mets, Green never managed again, eventually retiring to his farm in Pennsylvania. Since 2005 he as been an advisor to the Phillies.
Family: His son John Green is a supervisor of baseball scouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Family Tragedy: In 2011 his nine year old granddaughter was one of the tragic victims in the shooting spree that killed six people outside a Tucson Arizona Safeway, following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's.
“They say time heals,” Green said in 2013. “Time, I don’t think, will ever heal that part of my life. I still tear up when I see something that reminds me of Christina.”
Passing: Green was battling kidney disease & had been in declining health since 2016. He passed away on March 22, 2017 at age 82.