Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Adam Greenberg’s Second Coming as a Jewish Major Leaguer

January 4, 2013 5:42 pm 0 comments

Adam Greenberg's baseball card.

Adam Greenberg’s career in the Major Leagues seemingly came to an abrupt ending with just one pitch on July 9, 2005.

Making his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs as a pinch hitter, Greenberg strolled up to the batter’s box only to be hit directly in the back of his head seconds later by a 91-mph fastball thrown by Florida Marlins pitcher Valerio de los Santos.

“I thought my head was splitting in half, and I was trying to hold it together,” he said. Greenberg suffered a mild concussion, was immediately removed from the game, and spent the rest of the 2005 season on the disabled list.

After the Cubs released him in June 2006, Greenberg bounced around the minor leagues with several teams for a few years, and spent 2009-2011 playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Independent Atlantic League.

Greenberg’s sad career took an optimistic twist last September when he got a chance to represent Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Jupiter, Florida. Greenberg walked during his one at bat as a pinch hitter and scored on a single by Shawn Green during a game against South Africa.

“It was pretty cool, going out there, wearing ‘Israel’ across my chest,” Greenberg, who is Jewish,said. “And I know everyone in the locker room felt the same. It was a special day, a special moment.”

Those of us watching Greenberg bat during the qualifier game were filled with excitement as another Jewish underdog story played out in front of our own eyes.

I was lucky enough to be sitting in the row right above Israel’s dugout wearing my “Team Israel” baseball cap. Along with many other Jewish fans at Roger Dean Stadium that day, I stood and applauded Greenberg as he walked up to the plate for his one appearance.

Jewish baseball fans are always immensely proud when a Jew makes it to the Major Leagues, but it turns out that putting “Israel” on his chest might have signaled a miraculous second coming in Greenberg’s career. But that was only the start of what might be Adam Greenberg’s Second Coming as a Jewish Major Leaguer.

Thanks to an online campaign called “One At Bat” which urged a major league team to give Greenberg one more chance, Greenberg was signed to a one-day contract by the (now) Miami Marlins who sent him up as a pinch hitter on October 2 in a game against the New York Mets.

Greenberg was greeted by a rousing standing ovation by Marlins fans who embraced his story and his strong comeback effort. Though he struck out on three pitches, he returned to the Marlins dugout with an ear-to-ear smile and was welcomed by high-fives and hugs from his Marlins teammates for the day.

“It was magical,” he said. “The energy in the stadium was something I never experienced, and I don’t know if I will ever experience it again. You could just feel the genuine support. It was awesome.”

The most recent chapter of his comeback story was written earlier this month, more than seven years after his first ill-fated plate appearance, after he contacted Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter at the baseball winter meetings.

“I just walked up to him, introduced myself,” Greenberg said. “I’ve always kind of looked at Buck and said that would be the guy that I would love to play [for], that type of hard-nose mentality.”

After contacting general manager Dan Duquette and special assistant Brady Anderson, the Orioles signed Greenberg to a minor league contract, giving him a chance to resume his professional baseball career. But Greenberg knows that this might as well be his last chance to make a comeback.

“The last few years have been very, very difficult and challenging, but I got myself physically where I need to be and more important than anything, mentally I’m at a point in my career where I’m able to commit 110 percent back to the game,” he said. “To get the opportunity with the Orioles means everything to me.”

All of Greenberg’s fans are hoping that he makes it back into the major leagues as a member of the Orioles. But whatever happens, Greenberg’s story of resilience in recovering from his dramatic and nearly deadly debut continues to inspire people to keep chasing their dream no matter what obstacles are thrown in the way.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →