Adam Greenberg (baseball)

Adam Greenberg
Born: (1981-02-21) February 21, 1981
New Haven, Connecticut
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 9, 2005, for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 2012, for the Miami Marlins
MLB statistics
Batting average .000
On-base percentage .500
At bats 1
Plate appearances 2

Adam Daniel Greenberg (born February 21, 1981) is an American former professional baseball player. He was an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball in 2005 and was best known for being hit in the head in his major league debut on the first pitch of his first plate appearance. He suffered a compound skull fracture from the pitch.

Greenberg is one of two players in league history to be hit by a pitch in their only plate appearance without ever taking the field.[1][2] However, a successful online petition drive in 2012 led to him getting signed by the Miami Marlins to a one-day contract. He had one at bat for the Marlins and struck out on three pitches. He agreed to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles for 2013, but the option wasn't pursued.

He also played parts of five seasons with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball near his hometown.

Early life and high school

Greenberg is the son of Wendy and Mark Greenberg.[3] He is Jewish.[4] He attended Guilford High School in Guilford, Connecticut. He was a four-year letterman on Guilford's baseball, basketball, and soccer teams.

He was baseball team captain as a junior and senior, four-time All-conference and all-area, and was the first player in Connecticut history to be named to four all-state teams.[5]

He was also soccer team captain for 1998 and 1999, and was a striker and four-year starter. Greenberg was a three-time all-conference, all-area, and all-state selection. He was named all-New England and All-America in 1998, during which season he set the school season record with 17 assists. He was also the team and area most valuable player in 1998, and helped lead Guilford to the state soccer title in 1996. He holds the school record for career assists, with 33.[6]

College and draft

Greenberg went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[1] There, he played college baseball for the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

As a junior in 2002, he hit .337, stole 35 bases, scored 80 runs, homered 17 times, and again led the ACC with seven triples. He was named to the All-Conference Team. In 2002, he was named a Jewish Sports Review College Baseball First Team All-American.[7]

He was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the ninth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft.

Minor leagues (2002–2005)

In 2002, Greenberg hit .224 for the Lansing Lugnuts, and .384/.500/.575 in 21 games for the Daytona Cubs, swiping 15 bases in 17 games.

Greenberg spent the 2003 season with Daytona and put up a .299/.387/.410 line, stealing 26 bases in 35 attempts. In 2003, when Executive Editor of Baseball America Jim Callis was asked whether he thought Greenberg had a chance to be a starter, or was destined to be a backup, he responded: "Very good character guy, often compared to John Cangelosi, more of a fourth or fifth outfielder."[8]

In 2004, Greenberg hit .291 with a .381 OBP for Daytona, with 12 triples in 91 games (tying for the Florida State League lead), and moved up to the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, where he put up a .274 batting average in 33 games. His season ended with the Iowa Cubs. Overall, his 14 triples tied him for third in the minor leagues. Greenberg began 2005 with West Tennessee, hitting .269 with a .386 on-base percentage with nine triples and 15 steals. He spent three months of the winter playing baseball in Venezuela, playing center field and leading off.[9]

Chicago Cubs (2005)

"The first thing going through your mind is, 'This guy's dead,'"[10]

Valerio de los Santos, after hitting Adam Greenberg in the head with a fastball

On July 7, 2005, Greenberg, was called up to the Cubs' major league team from their West Tennessee Double-A affiliate. Pinch hitting in the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins, in a game on July 9, Greenberg was hit directly in the back of his head by a 92 mph fastball on the very first pitch from Valerio de los Santos.[1][11] Greenberg suffered a mild concussion as a result of the beaning, and was immediately removed from the game. Carlos Zambrano was sent in to pinch-run for Greenberg, and eventually came around to score the Cubs' fifth run in an 8–2 victory.

"Just bending over to tie my shoe left me with headaches for hours," he said. For weeks, Greenberg slept upright, the only way to tolerate the excruciating headaches.[10] He spent the rest of the 2005 season on the 15-day disabled list, and continued to suffer from positional vertigo.[11]

Return to minors, Independent League (2006–2011)

In 2006, Greenberg hit .179 for the Diamond Jaxx and .118 for Iowa, and was released by the Chicago Cubs organization on June 2, 2006. Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune, in an interview on 06/06/06, compared him to Moonlight Graham, who 100 years earlier had appeared in his only Major League game, only to not get an official at-bat, a story recounted in the film Field of Dreams. Greenberg said in the interview, "If that was the extent of my time as a baseball player, just that one very strange little moment, well, there's nothing more I can do about it."

Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers a few days later, Greenberg was assigned to the Jacksonville Suns, hitting .228, but had a .387 on-base percentage (his minor league average), as he had more walks than hits. He also hit well against lefties, with a .455 batting average, and hit .313 with runners on base. Following this stint in the Dodgers' farm system, Greenberg played for the Kansas City Royals organization. The Kansas City Royals agreed to terms with Greenberg on a minor-league contract on December 5, 2006.

Greenberg played the 2007 season with the Royals' Double-A Wichita Wranglers in the Texas League. He batted .266 with a .373 on-base percentage (10th in the league), a league-leading 11 triples,[12] 13 sacrifice hits (second in the league), 74 walks (tied for fourth in the league), and 23 stolen bases (fifth in the league) in 467 at bats, while leading the team with 73 runs scored.[13]

In December, the Royals signed Greenberg to a minor league contract for 2008.[14] Unable to gain a spot in the Triple-A Omaha Royals outfield, Greenberg was granted free agency by Kansas City. After a brief stint with the Independent Bridgeport Bluefish near his hometown of Guilford, in which he batted .289 with a .450 on-base percentage, Greenberg signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and was assigned to the Double-A Arkansas Travelers.[15] There, he batted .271 with a .361 on-base percentage, and 16 steals in 262 at-bats.

On February 23, 2009, Greenberg signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds and was invited to minor league spring training.

He did not make the team in spring training, and played with the Independent League Bridgeport Bluefish. In an August 8, 2009, game, Jim Heuser's first pitch sailed behind Greenberg, who yelled out to Heuser. Greenberg was then drilled by a 2–2 pitch and went to charge the mound, but pulled back. Both benches cleared and there was a shove or two in the middle of the pack.[16] He had 53 steals, the team's single season record.[1]

Greenberg finished the 2010 season with the Bluefish batting .258 in 105 games, with a team-high 75 walks.[1]

He played outfield for the Bluefish again in 2011, his fourth year with the team.[1] He faced De Los Santos, who was pitching for the Long Island Ducks, the same pitcher who had hit him in the head by the pitcher in his sole Major League at bat, and this time he singled.[1] Greenberg said:

It was a big deal. As much as I might try to pretend it wasn't. It's been five and a half years, and to face him again in a game that meant something and get the result, to get a hit off him, it was a special moment. ... You have the what-if stuff, 'what if he threw that first pitch for a strike five and a half years ago?'[1]

Greenberg later went hitless in his seven remaining at bats against De Los Santos throughout the course of the season. He led the Bluefish in several categories in the 2011 season, including triples, walks and stolen bases.

Miami Marlins (2012)

In 2012, a Chicago Cubs fan started an online petition to get Greenberg his first official Major League at bat.[17][18] The campaign succeeded when the Miami Marlins offered Greenberg a one-day contract to play in their October 2, 2012, home game against the New York Mets.[19][20] The contract was worth $2,623, which will be donated to an organization that researches brain trauma in athletes.[21] Prior to the game, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen considered making Greenberg the leadoff hitter and starting him in left field, but then decided he would try to have him bat in the middle of the game and was not sure if he would allow him to run the bases.[22][23]

Greenberg led off the bottom of the sixth inning as a pinch hitter.[24] The Aerosmith song "Dream On" was played through the stadium's public address system as Greenberg walked to home plate and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.[21][24][25] He was struck out by Mets knuckleballer and eventual Cy Young Award winner[26][27] R.A. Dickey on three pitches and was removed from the lineup at the end of the inning.[21][24][25][28] Greenberg said after the game, "It was magical. The energy that was in the stadium was something that I have never experienced in my life, and I don't know if I'll ever experience that again."[29] He also said he wanted to continue his Major League career and hoped he would be invited to a team's spring training in 2013, ideally the Marlins.[30][31][32]

Topps made a Greenberg baseball card for their 2013 series.[33]

Israel National Baseball Team

Greenberg played for the Israeli National Team.


Greenberg officially announced his retirement from baseball in February 2014.[34]

National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

In 2014 he was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[35][36]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Eric Montgomery (July 28, 2011). "Greenberg Singles". Shoreline Times. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  2. Robertson, Linda (October 3, 2012). "Adam Greenberg savors his moment with Miami Marlins". Bradenton Herald. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
  3. Berkow, Ira (August 22, 2005). "Cubs Rookie Recovering From a Debut That Nearly Became an Exit". The New York Times.
  4. "Adam Greenberg: On the comeback trail". New Jersey Jewish News. July 2, 2009. Archived from the original on September 16, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  5. "Player Bio: Adam Greenberg :: Baseball". February 21, 1981. Archived from the original on July 19, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  6. ".". Archived from the original on January 14, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  7. "Weinberg Named Baseball All-American". July 22, 2002. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  8. ".". Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2014.
  9. ".". Archived from the original on October 26, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  10. 1 2 ".". Archived from the original on May 25, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  11. 1 2 "Greenberg won't let dream slip away – MLB – ESPN". March 16, 2007. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  12. "Texas League". Texas League. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  13. "2007 Player Statistics: Adam Greenberg". February 21, 1981. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  14. Archived January 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. Dick Kaegel. "The Official Site of The Kansas City Royals: News: Mailbag: Where is reliever Braun?". Archived from the original on January 12, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  16. "Big innings doom Barnstormers – OurSports Central – Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. August 8, 2009. Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2010.
  17. Brink, Bill (September 14, 2012). "Filmmaker focuses on Greenberg's shot at 2nd chance". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  18. Kaduk, Kevin (August 30, 2012). "Adam Greenberg seeks one official at bat with help of campaign and petition". Yahoo!/Big League Stew.
  19. Schilken, Chuck (September 27, 2012). "Adam Greenberg's return to majors is seven years in the making". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 7, 2012.
  20. Capozzi, Joe (September 27, 2012). "Adam Greenberg signs one-day contract with Miami Marlins". The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013.
  21. 1 2 3 Stock, Christopher (October 2, 2012). "Seven years later, Greenberg strikes out in first major league at-bat". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 10, 2012.
  22. Capozzi, Joe (October 1, 2012). "Marlins: Ozzie plans to use Adam Greenberg for one at bat in middle of game". The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on June 5, 2013.
  23. "Adam Greenberg to play Tuesday". ESPN (The Associated Press). October 1, 2012. Archived from the original on March 20, 2013.
  24. 1 2 3 Kavanagh, Jim (October 2, 2012). ""One at-bat" player strikes out". CNN. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013.
  25. 1 2 Carig, Marc (October 2, 2012). "Adam Greenberg strikes out against R.A. Dickey in second-chance at-bat". Newsday.
  26. DiComo, Anthony (October 3, 2012). "Dickey leaves door open in NL Cy Young race".
  27. Brooks, Matt (October 3, 2012). "Adam Greenberg's "magical" second at-bat was worth the wait". The Washington Post.
  28. Wine, Steven (October 3, 2012). "Player Gets 2nd Chance in Majors After Beaning". ABC News (The Associated Press). Archived from the original on October 4, 2012.
  29. Keh, Andrew (October 2, 2012). "An Out Well Worth Waiting 7 Years For". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 31, 2013.
  30. Stump, Scott (October 3, 2012). "Injured baseball player on big-league dreams: 'I'm not done'". NBC News. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012.
  31. Keefe, Neil (October 3, 2012). "Adam Greenberg Opens Up About His "One At-Bat" With Miami Marlins". CBS Local.
  32. Berardino, Mike (October 2, 2012). "Three pitches, but a lifetime of memories for Adam Greenberg". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012.
  33. Katz, Michael (October 13, 2012). "Adam Greenberg gets 2013 Topps baseball card". USA Today.
  34. Devin Pangaro. "#OneLastAtBat: Adam Greenberg officially retires". Retrieved May 25, 2014.

External links

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