Baseball player Adam Greenberg will finally get a Major League at bat on Tuesday after the Miami Marlins signed him to a one-day contract. Greenberg is the only MLB player whose career ended on the very first pitch.
In his one and only MLB plate appearance (which doesn’t count as an official at bat) with the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning on July 9, 2005, Greenberg was beaned on the first pitch by Marlins reliever Valerio de los Santos and never made it back to the big leagues. ESPN explains what happened after Greenberg was hit in the head by a 92-mph fastball and his MLB career abruptly ended before it really started:
“In the days, months and years that followed that ninth-inning appearance, Greenberg dealt with post-concussion syndrome, dizziness, severe headaches, double vision, nausea and eventually the reality that the minor leagues might be the highest level of baseball he’d ever attain, other than that one fleeting experience in the majors.”
Greenberg, a left-handed outfielder, was released by the Cubs in 2006 and then bounced around with several minor league teams and later with the Bridgeport (Conn.) Bluefish of the Independent League.
Adam Greenberg’s supporters and fans subsequently waged a campaign to get him to the big leagues for an official at bat. Some 25,000 persons signed a petition on Change.org to convince MLB to “step up to the plate for Adam.”
With the approval of the baseball commissioner, the Miami Marlins agreed today to offer Greenberg a one-day contract seven years after his brief MLB debut.
Greenberg, who was a high-school baseball star in Connecticut, will likely face the New York Mets’ knuckleballer R. A. Dickey, who is going for his 21st win, on Tuesday in Miami. The Marlins ballpark has a retractable roof, so, fortunately, there will be no complication from a possible rainout.
The Cubs, his original team, declined to offer him a contract for the one at bat, but as ESPN reports, “the Marlins, with time running out on the season, embraced the opportunity as a win-win for Greenberg and the team whose hurler abruptly ended his first major league career.” Marlins owner Jeffery Loria said in a statement:
“I’m extremely proud to extend this opportunity to Adam. He has earned this chance as his love and passion for the game never diminished, despite his career tragically being cut short.”
According to the New York Daily News, Greenberg will donate his $3,000 one-day salary to the Sports Legacy Institute, an organization that studies brain injuries.
Documentary filmmaker Matt Liston made this video in support of Adam Greenberg’s one at bat:
Learn more about Adam Greenberg’s story in this ESPN “Outside the Lines” video:
The Hartford CBS affiliate aired this report about Adam Greenberg:
[Image of Marlins Park by Robert Jonathan]