One of our readers commented on my last ‘Where are they now’ series post, and wondered whatever happened to Shea Hillenbrand, Scott Hatteberg, and Jose Offerman. You asked for it, you get it! Today’s installment will be about Hillenbrand. Hatteberg and Offerman posts will be coming soon.
Shea Hillenbrand broke into the big leagues with the Red Sox in 2001. About 1/3 the way through the 2003 season he was sent packing to Arizona in exchange for Byung-Hyun Kim. Hillenbrand, who was born and raised in Mesa, AZ, was very outspoken and critical of the Red Sox FO. Despite earning a berth on the AL All Star Team in 2002, the Sox signed free agent Bill Mueller that winter. Hillenbrand was tied for the most errors in the league in 2002, and had a shaky strike zone assessment, which led Theo Epstein to trade Hillenbrand in May of 2003. He bounced back and forth between leagues, from BOS to ARZ to TOR to SFG to LAA
and finally to LAD in 2007. After being traded to SFG in 2006, his batting average dropped significantly in this trip to the NL. He had played in at least 134 games in each of his first six seasons, but only 73 games in his last season split between LAA and LAD. Starting with his time with SFG, his BA of .254 with LAA was his highest in his last 133 games spread out over roughly a season and a half. Hillenbrand seemed to have differences with many of the teams he played for
and was very vocal about them. In July of 2007, he was replaced by Casey Kotchman and was waived by LAA shortly thereafter. He went unsigned going into the 2008 season, and ended up playing for the independent Atlantic League for 36 games before his season ended prematurely due to a hamstring injury. It should also be noted that in 2003, Hillenbrand hit 3 HR’s in one game while playing for the D-Backs.
Hillenbrand and his wife have two adopted children and reside in Gilbert, AZ, only one town away from his home town. Together they run Marley Farms
and the Against All Odds Foundation
which rescues and rehabilitates animals and allows underprivileged inner-city kids to visit and interact with the animals.
NOTE~ While researching information for this post, I was reminded that also in 2003, Bill Mueller, coincidentally Hillenbrand’s replacement at third base, also hit 3 home runs in one game, 2 of which were grand slams. This duplicated Nomar Garciaparra’s same feat in 1999. Mike Cameron hit 4 home runs in one game in 2002 while playing for the Seattle Mariners. Going back to 1991, Jack Clark, John Valentin, Mo Vaughn (2x), Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek, and Kevin Millar all accomplished this as well. Surprisingly, Manny Ramirez did not accomplish this while with the Sox, although he did do it while playing for Cleveland. Mike Lowell and Victor Martinez also knocked three HR’s in one game before they arrived in Boston.