Greenberg, Hank, 1911-1986

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Henry Benjamin Greenberg (born Hyman Greenberg; January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986), nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank", "Hankus Pankus", or "The Hebrew Hammer", was an American professional baseball player and team executive. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB), primarily for the Detroit Tigers as a first baseman in the 1930s and 1940s. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award winner, he was one of the premier power hitters of his generation and is widely considered as one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history. He had 47 months of military service including service in World War II, all of which took place during what would have been prime years in his major league career.

Greenberg played the first twelve of his 13 major league seasons for Detroit. He was an American League (AL) All-Star for four seasons[a] and an AL MVP in 1935 (first baseman) and 1940 (left fielder). He had a batting average over .300 in eight seasons, and won two World Series championships with the Tigers (1935 and 1945). He was the AL home run leader four times and his 58 home runs for the Tigers in 1938 equaled Jimmie Foxx's 1932 mark for the most in one season by anyone other than Babe Ruth, and tied Foxx for the most home runs between Ruth's record 60 in 1927 and Roger Maris' record 61 in 1961. Greenberg was the first major league player to hit 25 or more home runs in a season in each league, and remains the AL record-holder for most runs batted in in a single season by a right-handed batter (183 in 1937, a 154-game schedule). His career statistics would have certainly been higher had he not served in the armed services during wartime. In 1947, Greenberg signed a contract for a record $85,000 salary before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played his final MLB season that year. After retiring from playing, Greenberg continued to work in baseball as a team executive for the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.

Greenberg was the first Jewish superstar in American team sports. He attracted national attention in 1934 in the middle of a pennant race when he had to decide whether to play baseball on two major Jewish holidays; after consultation with his rabbi, he agreed to play on Rosh Hashanah, but on Yom Kippur he spent the day at his synagogue, even though he was not particularly observant religiously. Having endured his share of anti-semitic abuse in his career, Greenberg was one of the few opposing players to publicly welcome African-American player Jackie Robinson to the major leagues in 1947.

Greenberg was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956. He passed away on Sept. 4, 1986.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Documentary Films. 1914 - 1944. SERVICE ACTIVITIES National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [SEPT. 1] National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Hank Aaron Scrapbook : scrapbook, 1973-1974. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Motion Picture Films from the Army Library Copy Collection. 1964 - 1980. Selected scenes of past and present sport personalities National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Utley, R. G. Hank, 1924 -. Hank Greenberg Collection : papers 1934-1995. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
referencedIn [Player file : Greenberg, Henry Benjamin, 1930- / compiled by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, N.Y.] National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [DEC. 16] National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Asinof, Eliot, 1919-2008. Eliot Asinof papers, 1954-2006 (bulk 1963-1977). Chicago History Museum
referencedIn Ira Berkow, papers, undated, 1960-2011 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Motion Picture Films from the Army Library Copy Collection. 1964 - 1980. Selected scenes of past and present sport personalities National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Paulson, Robert 1923-. Oral history interview with Robert Paulson, [sound recording], 2003. Wisconsin Veterans Museum Research Center
referencedIn Hedquist, George H. Papers, 1945, 1950. Clarke Historical Library
referencedIn National Baseball Hall of Fame Scrapbook : scrapbook, 1985 - 1986. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
referencedIn [Hank Greenberg photograph] [picture], [n.d.] Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Smith, Wendell, 1914-1972. [Wendell Smith papers : c1943-1961]. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
referencedIn O'Donnell, Harry H, 1894 - 1958. Harry O'Donnell Scouting Notebooks : notebooks 1953-1957. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
referencedIn Eisenstat, Harry, 1915-2003. Harry Eisenstat papers, 1933-2003. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 1860 - 1985. Motion Picture Films from the Army Library Copy Collection. 1964 - 1980. Selected scenes of past and present sport personalities National Archives at College Park
Relation Name
associatedWith Asinof, Eliot, 1919-2008. person
associatedWith Berkow, Ira person
associatedWith Eisenstat, Harry, 1915-2003. person
associatedWith Hedquist, George H. person
associatedWith O'Donnell, Harry H, 1894 - 1958. person
associatedWith Paulson, Robert 1923- person
associatedWith Smith, Wendell, 1914-1972. person
memberOf United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army. Office of the chief signal officer. corporateBody
associatedWith Utley, R. G. Hank, 1924 - person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Beverly Hills CA US
Manhattan NY US
Subject
Baseball--Awards
Baseball players--20th century
Baseball--1930-1939
Baseball--1940-1949
Detroit (Mich.)
Most Valuable Player Award (Baseball)
Occupation
Baseball Player
Baseball players
Baseball executives
Function

Person

Birth 1911-01-01

Death 1986-09-04

Male

Americans

English

Information

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