Adam Greenberg

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2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres #56 Adam Greenberg

Adam Daniel Greenberg

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Biographical Information[edit]

Adam Greenberg is an outfielder who is most famous for being knocked out of the game in his first plate appearance in the major leagues before making a one-game comeback 7 years later.

As a freshman in college at the University of North Carolina (where he faced ignorant comments about Judaism in the south), outfielder Greenberg was named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year as he hit .386, stole 28 bases and led the ACC with 7 triples. In 2001, he led the conference with 29 steals but hit only .310. As a junior, 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. That year, the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 9th round of the 2002 amateur draft and he split the remainer of the year between two class A clubs. He hit .224/.331/.345 for the Lansing Lugnuts but was at .384/.500/.575 in 21 games for the Daytona Cubs, swiping 15 bases in 17 games.

Greenberg spent the 2003 campaign with Daytona and put up a .299/.387/.410 line, stealing 26 bases in 35 attempts. In 2004, Greenberg hit .291/.381/.424 for Dayton with 12 triples in 91 games (he would tie Doug Deeds for the Florida State League lead) and got moved up to the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, where the 23-year-old put up a .274/.364/.451 effort in 33 games. His season ended with an 0 for 4 game and a walk for the Iowa Cubs. Overall, his 14 triples tied him for third-best in the minor leagues that year.

Greenberg began 2005 with West Tenn and hit .269/.386/.407 with nine triples and 15 steals in 19 tries. Called up to the Cubs on July 7th, he was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat two days later by Valerio de los Santos and did not get into another game with Chicago before he was sent back to West Tenn to finish the year.

Starting poorly in 2006, Adam only hit .179/.266/.202 for the Diamond Jaxx and .118/.118/.118 for Iowa and was released by Chicago. Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was assigned to the Jacksonville Suns and continued his struggles, batting .228/.387/.311 for the Suns. He did draw 51 walks in 75 games but struck out in 70 of 219 AB. He stole 9 bases in 12 attempts. He played better for the Wichita Wranglers of the Texas League in 2007, hitting .266 in 132 games, with 30 doubles, 11 triples and 8 homers, scoring 73 runs and drawing 74 walks. However, he was back in AA in 2008, with the Arkansas Travelers, and while his average rose again, to .271, but only played 70 games and had only 13 extra-base hits. He was released after the season, although he still kept his dream of returning to the big leagues alive, spending the next three years with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.

In September of 2012, however, Greenberg was one of a number of Jewish-American ballplayers recruited to play for the Israeli national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in Jupiter, FL. Israel was eliminated by Spain in extra innings in the qualifying pool finals. He only played two games and did not get an at-bat, as the starting outfielders were a mix of Shawn Green, Cody Decker, Ben Guez and Joc Pederson. Greenberg replaced Decker in left field in the 8th inning of Israel's first game against South Africa. He drew a walk from Carl Michaels, advanced on a Green hit and scored on an error by Karl Weitz. In his other game, he was an 8th-inning defensive sub for Decker again and did not bat.

However, the media interest in the team (as well as a fan-led drive that had existed before the WBC Qualifiers) had some benefit for Greenberg, as the Miami Marlins decided to give him a one-day contract to play in the team's final game of the season, in order to have the one major league at-bat that had been denied him by circumstance. He did get that at-bat on October 2nd, pinch-hitting for Bryan Petersen in the 6th inning of the Marlins' game against the New York Mets. Facing knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, he struck out on three pitches, but got a loud ovation from the home crowd which had been touched by his story of perseverance.

Fred Van Dusen was the only player before Greenberg whose major league career consisted of a single HBP (four other players had been hit in their only plate appearance but had taken the field). Van Dusen regained the honor of being the sole such player after Adam's brief comeback. Appropriately, he was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch in the game in which Adam made his belated comeback.

Greenberg returned to the Bluefish in 2013.

Primary Sources: 2001-2006 Baseball Almanacs,

Further Reading[edit]

  • Brian McTaggart: "Baker has Greenberg at peace after ill-fated AB: 'Genuine' message helps Greenberg overcome depression after career cut short",, February 23, 2020. [1]

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