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Adam Greenberg Strikes Out in Major League Debut -- Seven Years Later

Alexa Girkout |
October 3, 2012 | 12:53 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

At Marlins Park, Greenberg got a second chance at his MLB debut (verndogs/Creative Commons)
At Marlins Park, Greenberg got a second chance at his MLB debut (verndogs/Creative Commons)
Fans in Miami cheered Tuesday night when one of their own struck out—on three pitches.

It wasn’t because they were expressing their frustration at a pitiful season, or that controversial manager Ozzie Guillen had stepped into the batter’s box (although, surely that would rile the crowd up).

The hitter in the box was Adam Greenberg, 31, who was, in a way, making his second major league debut.

Greenberg first premiered seven years prior in 2005 with the Chicago Cubs. The outfielder was greeted with a 92 mile-per-hour fastball to the back of the head from then Marlins pitcher Valerio De Los Santos.

Head injuries in baseball are terrifying, not only because batting helmets seem almost prehistoric compared to what football players wear, but because a matter of inches or miles per hour can determine whether a pitcher recovers or not.

And there’s also that haunting video of Randy Johnson completely annihilating a bird who simply flew in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even this year, A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy fractured his skull and sustained other serious injuries when a batter hit a comebacker that unluckily found his head. McCarthy underwent two hours of surgery only a few weeks ago and will spend at least part of his recovery time watching his teammates play in the postseason.

For Greenberg, the concussion was just the beginning. He would later develop vertigo, vision problems, and recurring headaches that lasted hours. It took him two years to fully recover.

He had effectively closed the baseball chapter of his life until the online campaign "One At Bat" emerged in support of Greenberg getting a second opportunity to play in the majors.

The campaign steadily gained popularity and eventually reached the Miami Marlins, who signed Greenberg to a one-day contract.

Greenberg stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning Tuesday night for a pitch-hit appearance against the New York Mets and Cy Young hopeful R.A. Dickey.

The at-bat went a lot better than his first, even if it was only 33 seconds long.  Greenberg saw three knuckleballs and swung and missed at the latter two.

He headed back to the dugout amid applause. 

Topps trading cards announced Tuesday night via Twitter that it will include Greenberg in its 2013 baseball cards because he "embodies dedication, hard work & persistence."


Adam Greenberg @marlins embodies dedication, hard work & persistence, proud he will be part of 2013 Topps Baseball! RT! twitter.com/toppscards/sta…

— Topps Company (@toppscards) October 3, 2012



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