Hank Greenberg - Miscellaneous


Incidents of anti-Semitism Greenberg faced included having players stare at him and having coarse racial epithets thrown at him by spectators and sometimes opposing players. Examples of these imprecations were: "Hey Mo!" (referring to the Jewish prophet Moses) and "Throw a pork chop—he can't hit that!" referring to laws of Kashrut. Particularly abusive were the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1934 World Series. In the 1935 World Series umpire George Moriarty warned some Chicago Cubs players to stop yelling anti-Semitic slurs at Greenberg and eventually cleared the players from the Cubs bench. Moriarty was disciplined for this action by then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

"When I was playing, I used to resent being singled out as a Jewish ballplayer. I wanted to be known as a great ballplayer, period. I'm not sure why or when I changed, because I'm still not a particularly religious person. Lately, though, I find myself wanting to be remembered not only as a great ballplayer, but even more as a great Jewish ballplayer.”

— Hank Greenberg, after his career

Greenberg sometimes retaliated against the ethnic attacks, once going into the Chicago White Sox clubhouse to challenge manager Jimmy Dykes and at another time calling out the entire Yankee team.

Greenberg was traded to the National League in 1947, which was Jackie Robinson's rookie year. Greenberg befriended Robinson and encouraged him; they became good friends and Robinson credited Greenberg with being a good influence helping him through his rookie year.

Jewish fans in Detroit—-and around the American League for that matter—took to Greenberg almost at once, offering him everything from free meals to free cars, all of which he refused.

"Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg."

— Jackie Robinson

In 23 World Series games, he hit .318, with five homers and 22 RBI.

Greenberg was one of the few baseball people to testify on behalf of Curt Flood in 1970 when the outfielder challenged the reserve clause.

Greenberg died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California, in 1986, and his remains were entombed at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, in Culver City, California.

In an article in 1976 in Esquire magazine, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Greenberg was the first baseman on Stein's Jewish team.

In 2006, Greenberg was featured on a United States postage stamp. The stamp is one of a block of four honoring "baseball sluggers", the others being Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, and Roy Campanella.

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