On July 9, 2005, Adam Greenberg of the Chicago Cubs went to the plate for his first major league at bat.
One pitch later, his major league career was over.
Greenberg, who was hit in the head by a fastball that day in 2005 and never made it back to the “bigs” after that, is being given a second chance thanks to the Miami Marlins. Now 31, he’s been invited by the team to join its roster in these waning days of the regular season. Greenberg’s been given a one-day contract (he’ll donate the salary to charity) and is set to appear in the Marlins’ game against the New York Mets next Tuesday in Miami. It isn’t known yet whether he’ll play in the field and get an at-bat, or serve as a pinch hitter. Neither team is a factor in this year’s playoffs.
It was during a game against the Marlins when Greenberg got beaned after being sent into the game as a pinch hitter. In the years since then, he played some minor league ball. He’s trying to be on Israel’s team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
On NBC-TV’s The Today Show this morning, Greenberg said he “can’t address and express how much it means to me and all the people that are around [me]” to be given this chance. Marlins President David Samson said the team just decided “this is someone we believe deserves to have one at-bat.”
The team was inspired to do this good deed in part by a One At Bat online campaign organized by filmmaker Matt Liston. It collected more than 20,000 signatures at change.org in support of giving Greenberg an at-bat. Greenberg is thought to be the only major leaguer to have had his career ended by the only pitch he faced.
Technically, by the way, Greenberg’s 2005 appearance didn’t count as an official at-bat. But now, it appears, he’ll be able to get into the record books.