With Adrian on HR tear, Green reflects on day he hit four
In 2002 game, former Dodgers slugger finished 6-for-6 with seven RBIs
LOS ANGELES -- As Adrian Gonzalez stepped in for his fourth at-bat Wednesday night, Shawn Green was on a family vacation in Maui, and his phone lit up.
"A friend of mine texted me, saying it must be nice every time somebody has three home runs in a game to be remembered," Green said Thursday. "It's true. It's nice to be thought of a couple of times a year, especially when it's a Dodger, and a left-handed hitter at that."
With a chance to join Green and Gil Hodges as the only Dodgers to slug four homers in a game, Gonzalez settled for an RBI single in that fourth at-bat, still having set a Major League record for hitting five homers in the first three games of the season.
Not bad, but no real threat to Green's historic day in Milwaukee nearly 13 years ago, on May 23, 2002, when he launched four home runs, a double, a single, went 6-for-6 with six runs scored, seven RBIs and a record 19 total bases. It was arguably the best single-game offensive performance ever.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who tied a Major League record with a home run in eight consecutive games, said these homer binges are "like riding a wave."
Like Gonzalez and Mattingly, Green's outburst wasn't limited to one day. He set another record for seven homers in three consecutive games and a league record for nine in a week. Green hit 17 home runs in a 23-game span, and he finished that year with 42.
"That day, and that week, I had a very calm sense of being in the zone," Green said. "As opposed to other times, when you're in the zone and you almost start pressing because you don't want to waste that great feeling you have. When that happens, in some ways you feel more pressure when you're in that zone. But for that week, I was just very relaxed. Everything slowed down. All the clichés."
Green, 42, was a Dodger for five years, then went on to play for the D-backs and the Mets, retiring in 2007.
Today, Green is a technology entrepreneur. He founded Greenfly, which connects media companies with athletes and celebrities and just completed a successful March Madness venture with CBS.