Sometimes in life we are lucky enough to get a second chance. For some of us, that second chance comes seven years later, facing off against the eventual Cy Young winner with a wicked knuckleball.
Such was the case for Adam Greenberg.
Seven years after being hit in the head by a 92 mph fastball, Adam Greenberg had his second at-bat after signing a one-day contract with the Miami Marlins. Greenberg pinch-hit in the sixth inning, facing off against R.A. Dickey.
The crowd noise was deafening as Greenberg stepped to the plate. The at-bat lasted only three Dickey knuckleballs as Greenberg struck out, but the fans couldn’t have been happier, seeing him get his shot. Greenberg can take some solace in the fact that Dickey had ended 229 other at-bats in the same fashion en route to leading the National League in strikeouts with 230. Miami would go on to win the game 4-3 in 11 innings.
Greenberg’s first at-bat lasted only one pitch. While a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2005, Greenberg was hit in the head by the first pitch he saw from Marlins’ pitcher Valerio De Los Santos. Greenberg suffered a concussion and as a result from the injury, had vision problems, vertigo, and headaches. Other than that one at bat, the 31-year-old former ninth-round pick did not play at all during the 2012 season.
Greenberg has spent the previous three plus seasons playing with Bridgport of the Independent League. During his time there, he has hit .255 with an on-base percentage of .371. His 2011 season saw him hit .259 as he reached base at a .393 clip. Greenberg has shown excellent speed, stealing 126 bases during his time with Bridgport, including 53 in 2009 and 44 in 2010.
Greenberg’s at-bat was one of only a few good moments for the Marlins in 2012. Miami had high expectations heading into 2012—they had gone after big-name free agents such as Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle. But Miami wound up finishing in last place in the NL East with a 69-93 record.
As for Greenberg, things are starting to look up. On December 20, the Baltimore Orioles signed Greenberg to a minor league contract. With his speed and ability to get on base, Baltimore might be able to make use of him on the major league level. Whether he makes it there or not, he has certainly earned his chance.
by Andy Mindzak