Hank Greenberg’s career totals of 331 Home Runs, a .313 batting average, 1276 RBIs are 1628 hits are impressive. However, they are completely deceptive. Greenberg accomplished these totals in only nine and one half years of actual playing time. He lost all but 12 games of 1936 to a broken wrist. He was the second player drafted in 1941, only getting into 19 games that year. He was released from the Army two days before Pearl Harbor. After the attack on Hawaii, he was the first Major Leaguer to enlist in World War II and spent 1942, 1943, 1944 and half of 1945 in the Army Air Corp. As the war effort wound down he was allowed to return to civilian life and finished the last half of 1945 with the Tigers. On the last day of the season he hit a walk off homer to bring the American League pennant to Detroit for the fourth time during his career. Hank came up to the Tigers in 1933. The next season he led his team to their first World Series since 1909. They lost the 1934 Series but won it all in 1935. In 1940 they lost the Series to Cincinnati. During his time with Detroit they won four American League Pennants and two World Series. Hank lead the league in home runs four times, RBIs four times, doubles twice, runs scored once and was voted MVP twice. He was released by Detroit after the 1946 season and signed on with Pittsburgh for one last year. After he retired he was involved with Bill Veeck in the ownership of both the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox who each went to the World Series once during his tenure. Greenberg was with Pittsburgh in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball. As the first Jewish superstar in American team sports history, he had to put up with abuse himself. He was one of the few opposing players to welcome Jackie Robinson to the league.
April 24, 2015
Los Angeles, CA