Greenberg’s Grinning

October 4, 2012


Adam Greenberg, one day member of the Miami Marlins.

Adam Greenberg has been to hell and back, but his story is certainly an inspiring one.

Adam Greenberg was a prospect back in 2005 for the Chicago Cubs, and he was called up on July 7, 2005. Two days later, he came on as a pinch hitter for the Cubs to face Valerio de los Santos of the Florida Marlins. The first pitch de los Santos threw hit Greenberg right in the head, and the prospect left fielder went from going to the happiest moment of his life to the most threatening moment. It is shocking how close Greenberg actually came to dying on that occasion while he was still conscious. With the help of trainers, he got up and left the ballpark in an ambulance.

Just three weeks later, Greenberg was back playing minor league baseball for the Cubs double A team in West Tennessee. After a couple of games, Greenberg came to realise how much of an effect the pitch was having on him. He couldn’t play ball. The only way Adam Greenberg could get to sleep was by sleeping upright to avoid a headache.

In 2006, he returned to play baseball with the Cubs minor league teams. He was then released in June of that year. For the next four years, Greenberg spent time at many minor league teams trying to get his career back on track, but no one was willing to give him a chance in the majors. He went with the Dodgers, Angels, Royals and Reds, yet still no one wanted to give him a shot.

After realising his fortune, Greenberg signed with the Independent League team the Bridgeport Bluefish. While playing for the Bluefish in 2009, Greenberg was drilled by a 2-2 pitch, and frustrated, went to charge the mound. He pulled back, but the benches cleared and a little push and shove broke out. He was with the Bluefish for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

On the 29th of April 2011, Greenberg came up against Valerio De Los Santos, the same man to have hit him in the head six years ago. After a tough at bat, Greenberg got a single out into right field. This time, he had won.

Now, in the current year of 2012, the Miami Marlins, the team who Valerio was playing for all those years ago, had signed Greenberg to a one at-bat contract to play on the 2nd of October against the New York Mets. For seven years since being hit, Adam Greenberg had dreamed of returning to the major leagues, and in the bottom of the 6th inning with the Marlins 2-0 up, that dream was now a reality.

Greenberg swinging at one of R.A. Dickey’s deadly knuckleballs.

He was a pinch hitter for left fielder Bryan Peterson, and in a sign of the significance of the at bat, the song “Dream On” was played as Greenberg was walking to the plate. The crowd was going crazy, and every person on the field and on both benches applauded Greenberg. He was to face one of the best pitchers in baseball, the knuckleballer R.A Dickey. After promising to treat him like any other major leaguer, Dickey blew Greenberg away with three straight strikes on the knuckleball. All were high up in the zone, tempting Greenberg to swing. The first pitch, Greenberg took. The next two, he had two great hacks at.

Although he had been struck out, the smile on Greenbergs face was priceless. He had got his wish, he had another at bat in the MLB. Greenberg didn’t take the field in the seventh, and was replaced by Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins. For the record, Miami did win the game 4-2.

Speaking to the media after the game, Greenberg said that “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.” As a spectator, it was certainly one of the best things to see in baseball. On Baseball Tonight after the game, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling summed it up by saying “this is one of the things that makes baseball special.” Curt, you certainly aren’t wrong.

Adam Greenberg hopes to possibly become a full time player next year, like what he was headed for in 2005. Regardless, Greenberg has certainly become an icon to many, and shown that if you keep dreaming and hoping, that what you want may become a reality.

Click the image for Greenberg’s at-bat.

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About JarrahVW

I am a student from Melbourne, Australia who loves sport and wants to make writing about it his career. I have a wordpress site at with analysis and general information about many Australian, American and International sports. As well as that, I also write on

View all posts by JarrahVW


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