Interview with Former MLB All-Star, Shawn Green
I recently conducted an e-mail interview with former Blue Jays/ Dodgers/Daimondbacks/Mets outfielder, Shawn Green. Green played 15 seasons with 4 teams amassing 328 HRs, a 34.9 career fWAR, as well as setting the record for total bases in a single game. So without further ado here is my interview with Shawn Green.
1. Growing up, which teams or players did you follow and admire?
“I lived in San Jose when I was in grammar school, so Rickey Henderson was my favorite player (he later became my teammate and coach). As I got a little older, I started to follow the best left-handed hitters in the game: Rod Carew, Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs, and Tony Gwynn.”
2. Which city did you enjoy playing in the most?
“I enjoyed the different cities for different reasons. Toronto was great because it’s a beautiful city with very nice people, but it’s more of a hockey town than a baseball town. L.A. was great because it’s home for me and I had a lot of family and friends there. Plus, Dodger Stadium was a great place to play half of the games in. New York was fun because we had a great team and the fans were really into it.”
3. What was your proudest moment in baseball?
“My proudest moment was probably when I hit 4 home runs in one game. I was only the 14th player to ever do that, so that was probably the high-point of my career.”
4. Are you familiar with sabrmetrics?
“I’ve heard the word often and know it refers to approaching baseball from a statistical perspective. I think that statistics provide some interesting insight to players and teams, but many GMs nowadays have taken it too far.”
5. What was it like writing your first book, The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness At 95 MPH?
“I enjoyed writing my first book. I loved the creative process and hope to do it again someday.”
6. What was it like leaving Toronto after the many years you had spent in their system?
“It was harder to leave Toronto than I thought. I had great friends on the team and within the organization. I believe that most players find it more challenging to leave their first team than it is to leave subsequent teams.”
7. Most players seem to only excel at only one or two skills. You were able to be a 30-30 guy (as well as 40-20 twice) and win a gold glove. How difficult is it to achieve such accomplishments?
“I took a lot of pride in being an all-around player. Every aspect of the game is very important, and I wanted to help my team in more than 1 or 2 areas. It meant a lot to me to steal bases and to win the Gold Glove because early in my career, I played for a manager, Cito Gaston, who told me that I wasn’t a fast enough runner to be good at either of those skills.”
8.Do you feel statistics accurately reflect a player’s performance, or is there more to it?
“I feel that statistics are a good starting point, but there’s much more to evaluating players than just relying on the numbers. The best GM in the game when I played was my GM in Toronto, Pat Gillick (who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year). He was great because he could look at a player in a game (or even at practice) and know whether or not that player had the skills to be successful.”
9. Who was the toughest pitcher(s) you ever faced?
“The toughest pitcher I ever faced was Mariano Rivera. He threw left-handed hitters the same pitch over and over (a hard, cut-fastball), yet he was almost impossible to hit well.”
10. Any chance of you taking another job in baseball?
“I think that I’ll get back involved in baseball in some capacity. I’d like to do something in the front office so that the travel isn’t as intense as it is for those guys in uniform.”
You can follow Justin Millar on twitter at @justinmillar1, or email him at Justinmillar1@gmail.com. Comment below to join the discussion.