[13], Greenberg played minor league baseball for three years. The Story of My Life, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1989. pp. He was second in the league behind Williams in runs scored (129) and OBP (.433), all while batting .340 (fifth best in the AL). They said that Aaron has a hitch in his swing and will never hit good pitching. In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Fans grumbled, "Rosh Hashanah comes every year but the Tigers haven't won the pennant since 1909." In 1947, Greenberg signed a contract with a $30,000 raise to a record $85,000[3] before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he played his final MLB season that year. [15] He also set a major-league record with 11 multiple-home run games. In 1947, Greenberg and the Tigers had a lengthy salary dispute. He also set a major-league record with 11 multiple-home run games. Sammy Sosa tied Greenberg's mark in 1998. In November, while serving as an anti-tank gunner, he was promoted to sergeant, but was honorably discharged on December 5 (the United States Congress released men aged 28 years and older from service), two days before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Looking for horns and finding none, White said, "You're just like everyone else.". In 2006, Greenberg was featured on a United States postage stamp. Greenberg immediately became the favorite to become the new team's first owner and persuaded Veeck to join him as his partner. At the same time, he was third in the league in strikeouts (78). ISBN 1250064791. Greenberg died of metastatic kidney cancer in Beverly Hills, California, in 1986, and his remains were entombed at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, in Culver City, California. The anti-Semitism Greenberg faced ranged from players staring at him because they had never before seen a Jew, to coarse racial epithets hurled at him. The ump—former Yankee pitching star of the 1920s Murderers Row team George Pipgras—supposedly said, "Sorry Hank, but I'm gonna have to call the game. "[31] When Veeck sold his interest, Greenberg remained as general manager and part-owner until 1957. Moriarty was disciplined for this action by then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Greenberg was furious and sold his share soon afterwards. He was the first major league player to return to MLB after the war. [31] During his tenure, he sponsored more African American players than any other major league executive. [20] His salary was cut from $55,000 ($926,000 today) a year to $21 ($400 today) a month. In 1931, he played at Evansville in the Three I League (.318, 15 homers, 85 RBIs). Said Greenberg, "Our guys checked 'em out and their reports were not good. He married Coral Gimbel (of the New York department store family) on February 18, 1946, three days after signing a $60,000 contract with the Tigers. [7][8] His family moved to the Bronx when he was about seven. Most Valuable Player (AL), 1935 and 1940. After the 1960 season, the American League announced plans to put a team in Los Angeles. In 1959, Greenberg and Veeck teamed up for a second time when their syndicate purchased the Chicago White Sox; Veeck served as team president with Greenberg as vice president and general manager. "Battling Moriarty – Ump Who Loved to Fight". Greenberg replied, "Don't worry, George, I can see it just fine", so the game continued. On September 19, 1937, he hit the first home run into the center field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. Team co-owner Bing Crosby recorded a song, "Goodbye, Mr. Ball, Goodbye" with Groucho Marx and Greenberg, to celebrate Greenberg's arrival. In addition, Yankee Stadium was not a good park for right-handed hitters. (referring to the Jewish prophet Moses) and "Throw a pork chop—he can't hit that! The complete text of the poem is at the end of Greenberg's biography page at the website of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. [15] He was second in slugging percentage (.604) and total bases (316) behind Ted Williams.[15]. Moriarty was disciplined for this action by then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. In his final season of 1947, Greenberg tied for the league lead in walks with 104, with a .408 on-base percentage and finished eighth in the league in home runs and tenth in slugging percentage. [1] He followed Veeck to the Chicago White Sox as part-owner. When Greenberg decided to retire rather than play for less, Detroit sold his contract to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lately, though, I find myself wanting to be remembered not only as a great ballplayer, but even more as a great Jewish ballplayer. For the business executive, see. [3] He was unanimously voted the American League's Most Valuable Player. (There is some reason to dispute this as a motive. [38][39], Incidents of anti-Semitism Greenberg faced included having players stare at him and having racial slurs thrown at him by spectators and sometimes opposing players. To persuade him not to retire, Pittsburgh made Greenberg the first baseball player to earn more than $80,000 in a season in pure salary (though the exact amount is a matter of some dispute). Greenberg wouldn't budge and pulled out of the running for what became the Los Angeles Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Greenberg felt that runs batted in were more important than home runs. They had no children. It sticks out all over Mr. All he needed was somebody to teach him the value of hard work and self-discipline. (Although both Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx were on the All-Star team, Foxx was designated as a third-baseman. He led the AL by driving in 183 runs (3rd all-time, behind Hack Wilson (191) in 1930 and Lou Gehrig (184) in 1931), while batting .337 with 200 hits. Thomas Dunne Books. Over the course of his career he demonstrated a higher-than-average fielding percentage and range at first base. His 183 RBI in 1937 ranks 3rd all-time for a single season. During Veeck and Greenberg's first season, the White Sox won their first AL pennant since 1919. [32] In 1995, Stephen Greenberg co-founded Classic Sports Network with Brian Bedol, which was purchased by ESPN and became ESPN Classic. Greenberg remained in uniform until the summer of 1945. In 1933, he rejoined the Tigers and hit .301 while driving in 87 runs. ", "Hank Greenberg – Hit 58 home runs for the Detroit Tigers in 1938", "Religion Aided a Home Run Chase, and May Have Led to Its Failure", "Greenberg Casts His Waiver Rule On Majors and Picks Up Maglie", "Greenberg: hitting home runs against Hitler", "Steve Greenberg, son of Hank, the king of sports deal", "Hank Greenberg went to bat for his country and the Tigers", "Hank Greenberg Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac", The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg website, American League season runs batted in leaders, "You're Looking at One for the Ages Here", Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, September 14, 1930, for the Detroit Tigers, September 18, 1947, for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday June 12, 1983: The Detroit Tigers retired Greenberg's uniform number 5 during "Greenberg-Gehringer Day" at, Career statistics and player information from, t. Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg (January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986), nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank," was an American Hall of Fame 5-time All-Star and 2-time MVP first baseman and outfielder in Major League Baseball. Greenberg would likely have approached 500 home runs and 1,800 RBIs had he not served in the military. This article is about the baseball player. He was an American League (AL) All-Star for four seasons[a] and an AL MVP in 1935 (first baseman) and 1940 (left fielder). (He played on Rosh Hashana.) [1] He had 47 months of military service including service in World War II, all of which took place during his major league career.[2]. During the season, one of his teammates (Jo-Jo White) walked slowly around Greenberg, staring at him. In 1929, he was recruited by the New York Yankees, who already had a capable first baseman: Lou Gehrig. After moving to the outfield in 1940, Greenberg was voted to the All-Star Team for the 4th year in a row. As a fielder, the 193-cm (6-foot-4-inch) Greenberg was awkward and unsure of himself early in his career, but mastered first-base through countless hours of practice. He came in third in the vote for MVP. [3] Greenberg came in third in the vote for MVP. Greenberg married Caral Gimbel (of the Gimbel's New York department store family) on February 18, 1946, three days after signing a $60,000 ($726,000 today) contract with the Tigers. National Baseball Hall of Fame, 1956 (First player of Jewish descent elected to the Hall of Fame garnering 85% of the votes), 1983: The Detroit Tigers retired Greenberg's uniform number 5 during "Greenberg-Gehringer Day" at Tiger Stadium (Detroit)|Tiger Stadium (former teammate, 1999: Major League Baseball All-Century Team nominee (he ranked Number 37 on, "Henry 'Hank' Greenberg: Hall of Fame Infielder and Outfielder, Revealing the Survival of American Judaism Generation by Generation", in, Career statistics and player information from. In Greenberg's first game back after being discharged, he homered on July 1, 1945. Peter S. Horvitz and Joachim Horvitz (May 2001). [10], In 1929, the 18-year-old 193-cm (6-foot-4-inch) Greenberg was recruited by the New York Yankees, who already had Lou Gehrig at first base. In 1953, he was partly responsible for an important change to baseball's waivers rule. The Pirates also moved in the seats in Forbes Field's cavernous left field, renaming the section "Greenberg's Gardens," to accommodate Greenberg's pull-hitting style. He was a Special Services officer of the 20th Bomber Command, 20th Air Force in China when it began bombing Japan on June 15. Greenberg was the first baseman on Stein's Jewish team. He had two broth­ers, Ben, four years older, and Joe, five years younger, who also played base­ball, and a sis­ter, Lil­lian, two years older. He is 7th among all major league ballplayers lifetime in slugging percentage (.605). [15] In the bottom of the 6th inning, Greenberg and Lou Finney were sent into the game to replace right fielder Charlie Keller and left fielder Ted Williams with Greenberg playing in left field and Finney in right field. Greenberg asked him what he was looking at. 4–5, List of Major League Baseball home run records, List of Major League Baseball doubles records, List of Major League Baseball career home run leaders, List of Major League Baseball career runs scored leaders, List of Major League Baseball career runs batted in leaders, List of Major League Baseball annual runs batted in leaders, List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders, List of Major League Baseball annual runs scored leaders, List of Major League Baseball annual doubles leaders, "True Baseball Heroes: Jackie Robinson, An African-American and Hank Greenberg, A Jew, Shared a Special Friendship as Two Men Who Endured Years of Unimaginable Bigotry", "Why Hank Greenberg Never Became a New York Yankee", Hank Greenberg Minor Leagues Statistics & History | Baseball-Reference.com, Hank Greenberg Stats | Baseball-Reference.com, "Hank Greenberg: Caught Between Baseball And His Religion", "ESPN Classic – The first "Hammerin' Hank, "All-Star Game: Was Hank Greenberg left off despite being RBI leader?

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