Rip Sewell - The Fight With Greenberg

The Fight With Greenberg

In 1934, he got a second chance with the Tigers, attending spring training with the team. However, he got into a fight with Hank Greenberg in Lakeland, Florida. According to Sewell, Greenberg made a comment about Sewell's southern heritage, and Sewell responded with a comment about Greenberg's Jewish heritage. The fight was eventually broken up by the police, and the next day, Sewell was called in by manager Mickey Cochrane, who told him: "Rip, don't think I feel any less about you for it; in fact, I think more of you. But we've got thirty pitchers and only one first baseman. What do you think I'm gong to do?" (Donald Honig, "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" (1975), p. 253) Sewell spent the 1934 season playing for the Toledo Mud Hens.

Sewell and Greenberg later became teammates on the 1947 Pirates. Greenberg hit a double to help Sewell get his first win of the 1947 season, and, according to Sewell, the two went on to become friends.

Greenberg, however, gave a different account of the fight in his autobiography. According to Greenberg, Sewell kept mouthing off, even after Greenberg asked to be left alone. Greenberg described the fight as follows: "As we got off the bus, I grabbed Sewell and started pummeling him. He couldn't fight, so he grabbed me around the knees. . . . I was embarrassed for him." (Hank Greenberg, "Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life," p. 52)

Tigers pitcher Elden Auker also wrote about the Sewell-Greenberg fight in his autobiography. Auker's account is consistent with Greenberg's. According to Auker, Greenberg "slapped Sewell across the face and pretty near busted his skin open." (Elden Auker, "Sleeper Cars and Flannel Uniforms," p. 102)

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Famous quotes containing the word fight:

    You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)