Trying to Make His First At-Bat Not His Last

In the forthcoming book Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy, I wrote a chapter about Adam Greenberg, a baseball player whose first Major League at-bat ended in tragedy. There is now a movement afoot, called One At Bat (more here), to take the edge off that tragedy, but so far it has been unsuccessful. There’s a petition to sign if you’re so inclined.

(HT: M.T.)


Once again, people are getting too hung up on a word or phrase. A plate appearance, and a game played are significant achievements. Just because the plate appearance ended up with this one pitch tragedy, does not make it any less so. You can't change one person's official record because it makes a good story.
Giving him an at-bat actually cheapens what happened to him because he then goes among the many players who only got one at-bat. His story is sad enough without adding this movement to it.
At any given moment during the season, there are 750 players on active MLB rosters with up to 1200 during the month of September. In July of 2005, Adam was one of the 750 players out of over 300 million people from the USofA, and many more from the rest of the world. Even just counting those who play or played baseball he is part of the less then 1% percentage who made it to the major leagues.
To add one personal note, my uncle went to the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training years ago, but due to an injury, never got any further then that. That was before the days of large farm systems, so he never got another chance to play pro baseball, and he ended up as a high school then college teacher and coach. To our family it has always been a source of pride.



The story is very tragic but the reason for the the petition sounds bizarre, seemingly built on a misunderstanding of the meaning of "at bat", using a colloquial definition instead, and interpreting its absence as some sort of lack of respect or legitimacy.

He officially appeared in a major league game. He has an on base percentage of 1.000 and, statistically speaking, was a huge offensive success in his only plate appearance or PA (complete turn at bat).

I wish him the best and hope publicity brings good things his way. Maybe, in the end, that is what the logically flawed petition is about.

Gary Cohen

Adam isn't looking to correct history, he's looking to play baseball. A single at bat return to the big leagues would be a great validation of a life in baseball - for no reason other than the closure. The Cubs are in many businesses, but ultimately they are in business to satisfy their fans. If 17,000+ fans (and counting) think that it's a worthy thing to do in Game 162 with nothing else on the line, shouldn't that matter for something.


For those in favor of "all men, created equal", what exactly is the reason for this rule change being proposed, hmmm? Would it be less egregious if it were underway to *remove* a player for the same reason?

Take your time and energy and put it to the Negro League greats still not recognized in the HOF.


This petition is a classic example of pie-in-the-sky thinking. In order to get an at bat, he would have to be added to the 40-man roster, meaning the removal of a more deserving player from that roster. In addition, in order to be added to the major league roster, he may be taking the spot of another person (although, in September, teams do not always fill their expanded rosters anyway). Either way, there is a cost to doing this - either the cost of a portion of a major league salary for a player not currently deserving of playing in the major leagues, or the cost exacted on another player losing his roster spot . There is also the cheapening of what every other player has done, including those who have had injuries take opportunities from them. Plenty of players were bound for stardom before injuries in the minor leagues cost them even a plate appearance. Shouldn't they get a chance before Adam? And who, exactly, is going to pay the cost of the pro-rated $450,000 salary incurred via this charity case? The petitioners? I am sure it is alot easier to demand charity when it is going to be someone else namely the Chicago Cubs ownership, footing the bill.