Just nine years after Babe Ruth’s record setting sixty home run season and long before Ford Frick would attach an asterisk to Roger Maris, Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg came within three home runs of breaking the Babe’s record in 1938. Despite Greenberg’s career being significantly shortened by military service he stands out as one of baseball’s all time greatest players. Greenberg ranks third only behind Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in at bat to RBI ratio (4.07). Speculation is difficult at best, however if Hammerin’ Hank were to hit his average number of home runs for the years he was in military service he would have become a member of the exclusive 500 home run club.
He would ultimately be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956.
Hank Greenberg crossed a different line: He became baseball’s first Jewish superstar.
In 1954, Hank Greenberg became the first Jewish player to be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. His pioneering efforts as a player and owner paved the way for Jews in the top ranks of major league baseball, whether as a Hall of Famer like Sandy Koufax, a general manager like Al Rosen, or an owner and commissioner of major league baseball like Bud Selig of the Milwaukee Brewers
- January, 01, 1911
- New York City, New York
- September, 04, 1986
- Beverly Hills, California
Cause of Death
- metastatic kidney cancer
- Hillside Memorial Park
- Culver City, California