Originally published at: https://jewishoriginal.com/the-influential-mlb-debut-of-hank-greenberg/
The Influential MLB Debut of Hank Greenberg: A Jewish-American Icon
On this significant day in Jewish history, September 14th, 1930, Hank Greenberg made his MLB debut. A moment that still echoes in the annals of baseball.
#onthisday, in 1930, Hank Greenberg made his grand entrance into Major League Baseball.
Hank Greenberg: A Man of Many Nicknames
Nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank,” “Hankus Pankus,” and “The Hebrew Hammer,” Hank Greenberg was not just the best Jewish-American professional baseball player; he ranks among the all-time greats in the sport.
Choosing the Detroit Tigers Over Hometown Yankees
After a standout amateur career, his hometown New York Yankees offered him a contract. However, Hank opted for the Detroit Tigers, shaping his future and that of the franchise.
Triumphs and Records
Greenberg’s achievements include two American League MVPs, two World Series titles, and four pennants. He narrowly missed records held by legendary players like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
An Icon Off the Field
Being proudly Jewish, Hank confronted significant antisemitism in 1930’s America. He once declared every home run he made was against Hitler. He was also one of the few players who welcomed Jackie Robinson into the league.
Personal Choices and Military Service
In 1934, during a playoff run, he chose not to play on Yom Kippur. Hank was drafted in 1941 and later re-enlisted, becoming the first major leaguer to serve in the Air Force during WWII.
Life After Baseball
After his active career, Greenberg played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and later became an executive. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1956.
A Legacy Remembered
Greenberg passed away in 1986, but his impact on baseball and American culture endures.