Adam Greenberg is this generation's Moonlight Graham, only with a particularly cruel twist.
There's a decent chance you're familiar with his story as it has been told by many outlets, including a "SportsCenter" segment earlier this season. Back in 2005, Greenberg was a 24-year-old member of the Chicago Cubs when he stepped into the batter's box for the first plate appearance of his major-league career. His big-league career ended almost as quickly as it began, though, as the first pitch from Florida Marlins reliever Valerio De Los Santos hit Greenberg in the head. The immediate result for the young outfielder was a concussion, but the lingering effects of vertigo and blurred vision put Greenberg on a difficult road to a lengthy recovery process that included stops with three additional organizations but never another call-up to a big-league club.
To this date, Greenberg remains one of only four position players — and the first since Philadelphia's Fred Van Dusen in 1955 — to be hit by a pitch in his only career plate appearance. Of those four, he's the only one to have his career end on the first pitch.
Greenberg can still find his way off that list, though, which is why a Cubs fan named Matt Liston has launched the "One At Bat" campaign — complete with website, Change.org petition and fancy trailer (above) — which aims to get Greenberg an official at-bat in the major leagues.
The hope of that trailer is enough to make your spine tingle, but can such a thing actually happen? It admittedly remains the longest of long shots. Greenberg is now 31 years old and does not hold a roster spot on any minor or independent-league team. He's currently running a business in Connecticut that sells deer antler supplements while working out to stay in the best shape he can. He has designs on making the Team Israel squad for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but isn't exactly on any prospect lists. It's going to take the intervention of someone in the right place who has had their heart strings pulled by Greenberg's story.
The One At Bat campaign hopes that special someone is Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and the petition requests that the at-bat comes at Wrigley Field during the final series of the season. What a scene that would be for a largely lost season for the rebuilding Cubs franchise, right?
Here's the thing, though: The Cubs' 40-man roster is currently running at capacity and there's no way the front office is going to remove a player and put him at risk of being picked up by another team so Greenberg can get his one at-bat, no matter how altruistic the gesture might be.
But here's another thing, too: The Cubs' opponent for that final series will be the worst-in-baseball Houston Astros. Their 40-man roster stands at only 39 after Steve Pearce was traded to the Yankees so they'd have a spot available. I don't know about you, but giving Greenberg one last shot in Chicago would be a much better publicity stunt for Houston than gratifying Roger Clemens' ego one last time.
Here's Greenberg thanking the fans for their continued support. Should he get one more chance? Go here to sign the petition.
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