Shawn David Green (born November 10, 1972 in Des Plaines, Illinois) is a left-handed power hitter in Major League Baseball. He is noted for his swing and his arm in the outfield. He is also one of the most notable Jewish ball players. Usually, Green misses games on days of Yom Kippur.
Shawn Green was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round (16th pick) of the 1991 amateur draft and made his Major League debut on September 28, 1993. He spent most of 1993 and 1994 playing in the minors, where he compiled impressive numbers. In 1994, he hit .344 with 13 home runs and 81 RBI with Toronto's AAA affiliate, the Syracuse Sky Chiefs.
In 1995, his rookie season, Shawn started slowly but picked up the pace later on as he became more comfortable with Major League pitching. He started in 97 games that season, hitting 15 home runs and batting .288. The 1996 and 1997 seasons were very similar in that Shawn faced limited at-bats, wasn't trusted to hit left-handed pitching, and continued to produce only in sporadic intervals. He was, however, developing in other ways. He proved to be more aggressive on the base paths in 1997 than any previous year and stole 14 bases. He was also developing his upper body strength in hopes of alleviating the skinny kid persona which had followed him from the minors.
In 1998, for the first time, Shawn was granted an every day spot in the line up — right-handed pitcher or left — and he delivered by becoming the first Blue Jay to hit 30 or more home runs and steal 30 or more bases in the same season. The season was beyond what even his fiercest apologists over the previous seasons had predicted. Shawn had never hit more than 18 home runs in a season (Major or minor leagues) but was now showing the signs of becoming a true power hitter. He finished the season batting .278 with 35 home runs, 100 RBI and 35 stolen bases.
In 1999, Shawn proved his new-found power swing was no fluke. On April 22 he belt a 449-foot home run into SkyDome's 5th deck, putting him in prestigious company with the likes of Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Joe Carter. By the All-Star break he had hit 25 home runs and knocked in 70 RBI, earning him not only his first All-Star appearance, but also the chance to compete in the Home Run Derby at Fenway Park. Shawn hit two home runs but was eliminated in the first round. He finished the season batting .309 (a career best), with 42 home runs and 123 RBI.
In the off-season, Shawn expressed his desire to sign with a team closer to his California roots as a free agent after the 2000 season. The Blue Jays, strapped with the rising contract demands of Shawn and slugger teammate Carlos Delgado, decided it was best not to leave the decision of which player to pursue until mid-way through the season. On November 8, 1999, Shawn was traded with Jorge Nuñez to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Pedro Borbón, Jr. and Raúl Mondesí.
Shawn was quick to sign an extension with Los Angeles, agreeing to a $84-million/6 year deal that included a $4 million signing bonus. With a lot of pressure riding on his now well-paid shoulders, Shawn struggled in 2000, his first season with Los Angeles, but had a career year in 2001, batting .297 with 49 home runs, 125 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. His 49 home runs were a Dodgers season record but placed only tied fourth in the league, behind Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Luis González.
Shawn started off slowly in 2002 but quickly turned things around. On May 23, which can aptly be called the turning point of the season, Shawn hit four home runs against the Milwaukee Brewers and had 19 total bases, both Major League records. Shawn went on a tear from there on, finishing with a .285 average, 42 home runs, 114 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.
In 2003, Shawn struggled throughout the whole season. It turns out that he had problems with his shoulder which just limited him to a batting average of .280, with 19 home runs and 85 RBI. As the 2004 season came along, Shawn was determined to do better than the previous season. Shawn improved slightly as he batted .266, hit 28 home runs, and collected 86 RBI that led the Dodgers into the 2004 playoffs. But before that, Shawn moved to first base for the rest of 2004 season. In January 2005 there were trade rumors which would send Shawn to the Arizona Diamondbacks. At first, the trade was in serious jeopardy because Shawn had a no trade clause. He said he would only waive the clause if he got an extension from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Finally, on June 10, 2005, Shawn received an extension for 3/$32 million. The next day, Shawn passed his physical and the trade went through. It was a part of a three-team trade which sent Shawn and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for four minor leaguers.
Green's entire offensive game has slipped in recent seasons. His power, once among the best in baseball, is now merely average. Pitchers seem to be realizing this fact, because Green's walk rate has declined in the past few years as well. His strike zone judgment has suffered similarly, and he will sometimes swing and miss because of declining bat speed. Green's contact skills have always been average at best, so his drop-offs in power and patience have generally torpedoed his offense. But while Green is also painfully slow, he is still a decent baserunner because of his intelligence and experience.
Green is primarily a low ball hitter. Against righthanders, he is more aggressive at the plate and looks for something he can drive. He has upper-deck power from just left of dead-center to the right-field foul pole. When facing a lefty, Green takes a more defensive stance and is willing to poke singles the opposite way.
Green is a downright bad right fielder at this stage—he doesn't get good jumps, and no longer has much in the way of range in any direction. Plus, he is somewhat mechanical in the field, and that hurts him at first base, where quicker decisions are necessary. His outfield arm is above average in both strength and accuracy, despite a slow release.
Green's best season came with the Dodgers in 2001, when he notched 34 win shares on the strength of 49 HR and an impressive .297/.372/.598 line. Green had at least 20 win shares in every season from 1998–2003, including back-to-back 30-win share (MVP-caliber) years in 2001 and 2002.
Most Known For
He is one of the most notable Jewish baseball players. He once missed a playoff game to observe Yom Kippur.
- Selected by Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round (16th pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 3, 1991 - signed September 25, 1991).
- Traded by Toronto Blue Jays with Jorge Nunez to Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Pedro Borbon and Raul Mondesi (November 8, 1999).
- Traded by Los Angeles Dodgers to Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Dioner Navarro, Danny Muegge, Beltran Perez, and William Juarez (January 11, 2005).
- Traded by Arizona Diamondbacks with cash to New York Mets in exchange for Evan MacLane (August 22, 2006).
- Shawn Green is one the very few Jewish-American Major League Baseball players.
- In 2000, Green had a streak of 53 consecutive games getting on base, only 5 shy of Duke Snider's 58 for an NL record.
- On May 23, 2002, Green hit a Major League tying 4 home runs against the Milwaukee Brewers, and had 19 total bases, breaking Joe Adcock's record of 18 set in 1954. He also scored 6 runs that game (also a Major League record).
- With Green on the Mets, he joined the roster with Carlos Delgado, making them the first teammates to have (once) hit 4 homers in a game.
- Green holds the record for the most homers in 3 consecutive games (7).
- He made a cameo appearance on the series premiere of the hit show "Numb3rs" (2005), while he was a Los Angeles Dodger.
- He also appeared as an actor in "Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape!" (2005), and as himself in "The Core" (2003), and in "The Nick Cannon Show - Nick Takes Over Baseball" (2002).
- He was named Baseball Man of the Year at the Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular on June 29, 2003, an event that helped raise money for the hospital's genetic defects unit.
- While Green is often likened to the former Jewish slugger, Hank Greenberg, Green's grandfather in fact shortened the family name from Greenberg to Green, for "business reasons."
- Green's walkup songs are "Be Yourself" by Audioslave and "Song 2" by Blur.
- He throws his batting gloves to children each time he hits a home run in his home ballpark.
- Has two bats in the National Baseball Hall of Fame: 1) the bat he used on May 23, 2002, to hit 4 homers against the Milwaukee Brewers; and 2) the bat he used to hit a grand slam on May 21, 2000, one of a record six grand slams hit on that day.
- Green has been very good friends with teammate Carlos Delgado since they were in the minor leagues together. They attended each other's weddings, and at Delgado's, Green displayed his skills in salsa dancing.
- Green has a pet dog named Izzy; it's a male Japanese Chin.
- Green's favorite book is "Siddhartha," by Herman Hesse.