By now you’ve probably heard the story of Adam Greenberg, the plucky outfielder with the extreme misfortune of being plunked in the head on the very first pitch of his Major League career, never to return again. Thanks to the One At Bat movement, thousands upon thousands of people have identified with Greenberg’s quest and have begged a team to take on Greenberg and give him that at-bat.
Well, it turns out the Cubs won’t be taking him back. Said Jed Hoyer in an email:
“Adam made the big leagues based on merit in 2005. While it is unfortunate he got hit in his first at-bat, he is in the Baseball Encyclopedia as a major leaguer and he should be incredibly proud of that. We wish him the best, but there are no plans to add him to the roster now or in the future.”
And it’s true. While it’s unfortunate that the bat was taken out of Greenberg’s hands, he has a career 1.000 OBP, something that has only happened 127 times in Major League history. As Disney-ready as the story may be, and as uplifting as it would be to see Greenberg back on the Major League diamond, doing it as a promotional stunt wouldn’t help anyone.
Sure, Greenberg would get his at-bat, but what about the player who would never reach the Major Leagues after being bumped from the 40 man roster? Or the player who gets injured before he gets his one chance? I interviewed Bob Lipski, one of these fringe players to only ever receive one at-bat in a piece that went up yesterday. Baseball history is filled with men that scatter the footnotes of history.
Baseball, for all the luck and contract maneuvering, is still a meritocracy. Adam Greenberg earned his lone shot and unfortunately, hasn’t earned his way back in. Currently in Bridgeport of the Independent Atlantic League, Greenberg is hitting .259/.393/.422 against talent that averages out to somewhere around AA ball.
Should some team take a flyer on Greenberg and stash him in the minors? Absolutely, let him hit his way back. If he does, it’s better than any publicity stunt a last place team could make at the end of the season. Even if Greenberg never makes it back to the Major Leagues, his story is stillan inspiring one of courage, passion, and proof that more than 10,000 people care about a comeback story.