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A day for the ages for Green05/23/2002 6:49 AM ET
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers have been waiting all season for Shawn Green to go off, but not like this, not all in one day.
The hope was that Green could carry the offense without Gary Sheffield, and for the first quarter of the season, he couldn't. He slumped. He was booed at home. Saturday, he was benched by the manager.
Thursday, the same guy pulled off the stuff of legends. The guy who didn't hit a home run in almost four weeks became the 14th player in Major League history to hit four home runs in one game. He set a Major League single-game record with 19 total bases. He went 6-for-6 with a double and single against the last-place Milwaukee Brewers. He drove in seven runs, scored six.
Green set franchise single-game records for most home runs, most runs scored and most total bases. He tied club records with five extra-base hits and six total hits. One homer was a three-run shot, three were solos, the last one part of back-to-back-to-back blasts in the ninth inning.
When Green sat out Saturday's game against Montreal, his average down to .230, his name on the lineup card was listed with other Dodger reserves -- Dave Hansen, Alex Cora, Jeff Reboulet. Today his name is right there with Lou Gehrig and Willie Mays.
As the team headed for the weekend showdown in Arizona, it did so with hard proof of what could happen if the Green that hit 49 home runs last year is back.
His four home runs were only half the team's total, the eight homers in one game another franchise single-game record. Joining Green in the home-run trot were Brian Jordan, Hiram Bocachica, Adrian Beltre and Dave Hansen. Marquis Grissom had a ninth home run pulled back into the park by Milwaukee left fielder Geoff Jenkins.
"See what Greenie can do when he's in a zone?" said Jordan, who was on the St. Louis disabled list when Mark Whiten hit four home runs in a 1993 game in Cincinnati. "This is what it's all about, getting all of us clicking at the same
time. Greenie's finally relaxing, I'm finally relaxing. This was exciting, but it was exciting enough to have an 8-1 lead in the second inning. It was a breath of fresh air."
"Obviously, when Greenie swings like he did today, he presents a threat that we haven't had this year," said Eric Karros. "He's the only guy on the team capable
of that. The funny thing is, four days ago everybody's ready to write him off. He was booed in L.A. That's why you can't overreact to one game or one series. People who don't know the game sometimes have a tendency to do that."
"I wish I had a few days off to enjoy it," he said. "The ball's been looking
like a ping-pong ball, but today it was like a softball. It's incredible to be
in the same category as guys like Mays and Gehrig. It's incredible to have
records like this. Duke Snider, they wrote a song about him. They're legends."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.