Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg (January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986), nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank," "Hankus Pankus" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman in the 1930s and 1940s. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was one of the premier power hitters of his generation and is widely considered as one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history.He served over four years in the United States Army and in World War II which took place during his major league career.
Greenberg played primarily for the Detroit Tigers. He was an All-Star for four seasons and an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player two seasons. His 58 home runs for the Tigers in 1938 equaled Jimmie Foxx's 1932 mark for the most in one season by anyone but Babe Ruth, and tied Foxx for the most home runs between Ruth's record 60 in 1927 and Roger Maris' record 61 in 1961. Greenberg was the first major league player to hit 25 or more home runs in a season in each league, and remains the AL record-holder for most RBIs in a single season by a right-handed batter (183 in 1937, a 154-game schedule).
Greenberg was the first Jewish superstar in American team sports. He attracted national attention in 1934 when he refused to play on Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday in Judaism, even though he was not particularly observant religiously and the Tigers were in the middle of a pennant race. In 1947, Greenberg signed a contract with a $30,000 raise to a record $85,000 before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was one of the few opposing players to publicly welcome Jackie Robinson that year to the major leagues.
By Dean Hanley
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