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Beaned ballplayer gets second chance
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Beaned ballplayer gets second chance

Adam Greenberg will suit up for the Marlins’ final home game

Adam Greenberg was a late addition to Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier.
Adam Greenberg was a late addition to Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifier.

When Adam Greenberg stepped up to the plate for his first at-bat in the Major Leagues in 2005 for the Chicago Cubs, he never expected it might be his last at-bat as well.

The very first pitch hit Greenberg in the head. For months, he endured painful headaches and dizzy spells. He tried to return to action through the minor affiliates of the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Kansas City Royals, as well as independent league teams, but with each passing year, his chances to return to the big leagues seemed less likely.

Thanks in part to an inspired campaign by Cubs (and Greenberg) fan Matt Liston, he will finally get a chance for his second plate appearance. Liston created the web campaign OneAtBat.com to acquire signatures in support of the ill-fated athlete. He also undertook a spirited media campaign, appearing on sports-talk radio and TV programs in an effort to return Greenberg to the Majors.

On Sept. 27, Miami Marlins team president David Samson told Greenberg, Liston, and Matt Lauer on a segment of Today that the ballplayer would get that chance: The Marlins signed Greenberg to a one-day contract on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The 31-year-old outfielder will suit up for the Marlins’ final home game of the year against the New York Mets, and Samson guaranteed Greenberg would get his at-bat. [Editor’s note: This edition went to press before the game was scheduled to take place.]

Greenberg, Liston, and even Lauer were visibly moved by the gesture. One could see Greenberg becoming more emotional as the Today host continued his buildup to introducing Samson.

Greenberg was a last-minute addition to the roster of the Israeli national team for the recent World Baseball Classic qualifier. He came up as a pinch hitter in the top of the ninth in Israel’s 7-3 win over the Republic of South Africa on Sept. 19. After working out a walk, Greenberg impressed the crowd by scoring all the way from first on a short fly ball that was misplayed by the South African outfielder. He got into another game as a defensive replacement. Israeli lost to Spain, 9-7 in 10 innings in the final game and failed to qualify for the WBC next spring.

In a recent interview for Kaplan’s Korner, NJ Jewish News’ sports blog (tinyurl.com/8jtzmod), Greenberg said he was hopeful that making the Israeli squad would serve as a showcase for the Major League scouts who would be in attendance. Turns out he was right.

Liston has updated the OneAtBat website to thank supporters and urge fans to watch the Marlins game either on TV or in person.

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