Turn Back the Clock Tuesday: Adam Greenberg

Adam Greenberg's career was cut extremely short by one pitch. Photo: Adam Greenberg in his only plate appearance with Chicago in 2005/AP

LOS ANGELES, July 9, 2013 — Turn Back the Clock takes a trip back to 2005. In this day, in 2005, Adam Greenberg’s career started and seemingly ended with one errant pitch.

Adam Greenberg was a ninth round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs out of North Carolina in 2002. The speedy outfielder put up decent numbers as he progressed through the Cubs’ minor league system. The call for which Greenberg had waited his entire life came on July 7, 2005 while he was at AA West Tennessee. He was headed to the show.

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On July 9, 2005, the Chicago Cubs were playing the Florida Marlins. The game started with Greenberg on the bench. When the ninth inning came around the moment happened.

Adam Greenberg entered the game as a pinch hitter. Nerves had to be going crazy. Would he hit a home run in his first at-bat? Would he leg out an infield single for his first hit? Or maybe he would fly out or strike out in his first at-bat.

Valerio de los Santos was on the mound for the Florida Marlins as Greenberg stepped in for his first career at-bat. The pitcher hurled a fastball toward the plate that careened towards Greenberg.

Adam Greenberg was unable to avoid the 92 mph pitch, he could only turn his head. The ball wound up hitting Greenberg in the back of the helmet. Greenberg was removed from the game with a concussion.

He would spend some time on the disabled list while trying to recover and return to baseball. Unfortunately, he also now suffered from vertigo as a result of being hit in the head.

Greenberg spent the six years bouncing around the minor league systems of five different organizations. He ended up playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Independent League. There he faced Valerio de los Santos again a few times in 2011 and even got a single.

He still had not had an official major league at-bat. Then the Miami Marlins stepped in and did the right thing. The club signed Greenberg to a one day contract for the last game of the 2012 season.

In the sixth inning, as Aerosmith’s Dream On played from the loud speakers, Adam Greenberg stepped into the batter’s box. This time he would face the Mets’ R.A. Dickey. Luckily, Greenberg was not hit by the pitch, but he did not hit a pitch either. The eventual Cy Young award winner struck Greenberg out on just three pitches.

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He did, however, finally get an at-bat. Greenberg even now has a Topps’ baseball card for the 2013 season. He signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles this year, but that did not last.

Adam Greenberg is keeping the dream alive. He has returned to the Bridgeport Bluefish.

His position is listed on the Baseball Reference website simply as, “pinch hitter.”

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music for The Washington Times Communities. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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