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1995 The Rookie Season

1995 :”Shawn Green #15, starting right fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays”. Oh how that must have sounded to Shawn his parents and his sister Lisa. After all the long hard years of little league, hitting in the back yard and all those miles traveled on busses whilst he was in Dunedin and Knoxville and all of the air miles in Syracuse had finally paid off. He was starting in the outfield on opening day in the major’s.

It was a season of mixed blessings for Green. He started off hitting very poor and there was talk in the press that maybe he would be sent back down, but after the All Star Break his bat caught fire helping him to match and pass several Blue Jay rookie records.

In all he made 97 starts with the Jays’ that season. May 14 1995 was a special day for him. He hit his first Major League home run that day off Cal Eldred of the Milwaukee Brewers. He went on to hit five home runs in May. Even though May had brought power to his bat his average on May 20 was just .200. Were the critics right when they said he was not ready to play at Major League level?

No because by June 4 in Cleveland he raise his average to .304 with a two hit game that brought about his first Major League three run home run. The Shawn Green from Syracuse was now playing with the “big boys."

Other honors won by Green in ‘95 were tying the team record for putouts by an outfielder with 9, this happened on July 18 against Minnesota. He also got his first Major League pinch hit on August 19. He went on to hit three doubles on September 23 to give him 31 on the season, a new Blue Jay Rookie record. He also had a 14 game hit streak that to my mind could have been extended but he was removed for a pinch hitter in his final at bat in the 15th game and therefore missed the chance to extend the streak. He hit a single in his first at bat in the next game! Still he tied Alfredo Griffin for the club rookie record. He tied with Carter with 9 outfield assists for a club lead and was tied 6th over all in the AL. He made 6 errors in right field that tied him with Jon Nunnully of the Royals for first place amongst all AL rookies. His three double plays tied him for second in the Al.

As Always Shawn hit better after the All Star break upping his average by 86 points. His 15 home runs ranked him third amongst all Blue Jay rookies, and his 50 extra base hits set a Blue Jays rookie record that previously stood at 41 ( Damaso Garcia in 1980). He also lead the team in slugging percentage .509 another Blue Jay rookie record and he was also the only Blue Jay rookie to lead the team in that category. He also became the Blue Jays rookie of the year.

Yes it was a good thing they did not send him back to Syracuse as he was one of the few bright spots on a very lackluster 1995 Blue Jay team.

During the winter while other young players went on to play winter ball or relax with their families and friends Shawn continued his commitment to his education by returning to university as soon as the season ended. Not wanting to be so far from home though after being away for so long all summer he decided that he would leave Stanford and go on to UCLA which was nearer to his home and the family he loved so much. Yes he may have made the big leagues in a big way, but that psychology degree was still as important to him as it was before. He still needed that education just in case!


121 379 52 100 31 4 15 54 .288

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