Dodgers versus Brewers. The date: May 23, 2002. The player: Shawn Green. Location: Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI. On the call: Ross Porter and Rick Monday.
18 years ago today, outfielder Shawn Green put together a line in the box score like that will likely go unmatched by any big leaguer let alone Dodger ever again. The first phrase that comes to mind is “those are video game numbers.”
In six at-bats, the 29-year-old collected six base hits. Four of those hits left the yard. One went for a double. By the end of the day he drove in seven runs, scored six times, and accumulated 19 total bases, which remains an MLB record.
On the afternoon, Green raised his batting average by nearly 30 points in the midst of a remarkable power streak where he dropped 10 home runs in 7 games. He finished the 2002 season with 42 home runs after setting a still-standing Dodgers record with 49 the year prior, cementing himself as a modern Dodger legend.
He also earned himself this great commemorative bat as a Dodger Stadium giveaway that I later framed.
Despite having 92 wins, LA finished in third place in the NL West that season behind the defending world champion Arizona Diamondbacks and eventual NL Pennant-winning San Fransisco Giants (who lost to the Anaheim Angels in 7 games).
More tidbits from that 2002 season, Eric Gagne earned his first All-Star selection in his first full season as a closer. It was outfielder Dave Roberts’ first full season as a starter where he finished third in the league with 45 stolen bases in 55 tries. It was also the last season in Dodger blue for long-time first baseman Eric Karros.
If we’re having a little more fun with it, new Cubs manager Davis Ross also made his MLB debut with LA that season and infielder Alex Cora hadn’t developed into a horrible, terrible cheater.