With the Miami Marlins 2012 season all but over, the Marlins will try to add some good to their P.R. department today, by giving outfielder Adam Greenberg a second chance. Greenberg, famously known as only the second player in Major League baseball history to get hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance without taking the field. The other being Fred Van Dusen. Van Dusen will throw out the first pitch in the game tonight.
Greenberg, tonight, will be reunited with former minor league teammate Justin Rugginano, and former Major League teammate Carlos Zambrano.
I would like to take this time out to introduce Adam Daniel Greenberg to Marlins fans. So when he comes to the plate tonight, you can spring some factoids about the 31-year outfielder to whomever you watch the game with, and impress them!
Greenberg was born February 21, 1981, in New Haven, Connecticut. Greenberg attended Guilford High School in Guilford, Connecticut. He was a four-year letterman on Guilford’s baseball, basketball, and soccer teams. Greenberg was the first player in Connecticut history to be named to four all-state teams.
After high school, Greenberg went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his junior year in 2002, Greenberg hit .337, stole 35 bases, scored 80 runs, homered 17 times, and led the ACC with seven triples. He was named to the All-Conference Team. Following the 2002 season, Greenberg was named to the Jewish Sports Review College Baseball First Team All-American, along with future major leaguers Craig Breslow and Sam Fuld.
Greenberg’s junior season was good enough for him to gain attention of Major League baseball teams. The Chicago Cubs selected the outfielder in the ninth round of the 2002 draft.
Greenberg was never seen as a top prospect in the minor leagues, never cracking the Cubs top prospect lists. He was at best, destined to be a fourth/fifth outfielder for his major league career, if he ever made it there.
After hitting .269 with a .386 on-base percentage with nine triples and 15 steals in 2005 with West Tennessee, Greenberg received a call to the big leagues on July 7th, 2005. He would get his first and only plate appearance in a pinch hit role in the ninth inning on that same day, The rest is history.
Greenberg took a 92 MPH pitch to the back of the head by former Marlins pitcher, Valerio De Los Santos. Greenberg went down immediately and the stadium went into complete silence, as the importance of the ballgame suddenly did not matter. Interestingly enough, Carlos Zambrano was sent into the game as a pinch-runner for Greenberg.
Reliever Santos’ immediate reaction was, “The first thing going through your mind is ‘This guy’s dead.’”
Luckily, that was not the case. Greenberg suffered a mild concussion and still suffers from positional vertigo. Greenberg was released by the Chicago Cubs the following season, after a disappointing showing in the minors. The Dodgers would then sign him, and ironically place him on the Jacksonville Suns, the Marlins current Double-A organization.
Greenberg then signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish, an Independent League team. While he was there, he would would face off against the pitcher that almost ended his baseball career, and life, De Los Santos. Greenberg was able to single in his first at bat off the left hander, but would go hitless in the next seven at-bats against Santos.
The single off of Santos did mean a lot to Greenberg:
It was a big deal. As much as I might try to pretend it wasn’t. It’s been five and a half years, and to face him again in a game that meant something and get the result, to get a hit off him, it was a special moment. It brings things full-circle. You have the what-if stuff, ‘what if he threw that first pitch for a strike five and a half years ago?’ The fact is, it happened.
Tonight, Adam Greenberg will get an opportunity against the New York Mets to get his first career at-bat in. Manager Ozzie Guillen has said that Greenberg will be used as a pinch hitter, in the middle of the game. He may or may not get an opportunity to face knuckerballer, and CY Young candidate, R.A. Dickey. Dickey will be in search of his 21st win and a chance to solidify his resume with a strong start.
The Marlins will counter with Jacob Turner, who has likely already earned a starting spot in the rotation next season. Go out to the stadium tonight and see if Giancarlo Stanton can come close to hitting 40 home runs this season. Stanton is currently three away with just two games left. For someone with Stanton’s power, this is not out of the realm of possibility.