Drafted in the ninth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball amateur draft, Adam Greenberg’s dream had finally come true.
The Chicago Cubs selected the Guilford, Connecticut native out of the University of North Carolina where he had played three seasons for the Tar Heels.
Greenberg spent three years, 2002-2005, in the Cubs’ minor league system working his way up to the Cubs West Tennessee Double-A affiliate.
On July 7, 2005, Greenberg got the call every boy dreams of – he was being called up to the bigs to play for the Chicago Cubs.
Then came the real moment on July 9 in a game against the Florida Marlins.
Greenberg was called upon to pinch hit in the ninth inning of a nationally televised Sunday night game.
The very first pitch he saw would be the last for seven years. Marlins pitcher Valerio de los Santos delivered a 92-mph, fast-ball that hit Greenberg squarely in the back of the head.
“I was scared to death. I really grasped my head like I was holding it together … I remember telling myself just to stay alive. I was scared,” Greenberg said in an interview on the Dan Patrick show.
Greenberg spent the next few weeks rehabbing before returning to the Cubs West Tennessee affiliate with the intention of returning to the Cubs.
Unfortunately the long-term effects of the mild concussion Greenberg suffered that day prevented him from returning.
The next five years, 2005-2011, were spent with Greenberg trying to return to the majors with a number of MLB organizations. He spent time with the Dodgers, Angels, Reds and Royals. Greenberg never made it back to top tier of baseball.
Go back to that game in 2005 when Greenberg was hit by the pitch and think about how you would feel if your dream had been taken away with a single pitch.
That is exactly what Cubs fan Matt Liston has done. Liston saw what happened and decided he wanted to help Greenberg get another opportunity.
Liston started oneatbat.com drawing attention to the story and receiving the support of 20,000 fans that signed an online petition.
Recently Greenberg was able to get back on the field for the World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament for team Israel. In the stands at the tournament were the Miami Marlins, the team saw enough evidence to offer a one day contract to the former Cub.
Even more refreshing is the fact that MLB commissioner Bud Selig has signed off on the one-day contract for Greenberg.
The MLB doesn’t offer one-day contracts, so without Selig’s consent an organization would have had to release one of their prospects, a highly unlikely occurrence, in order to give Greenberg an opportunity.
Greenberg will get his chance at the plate Oct. 2 against the New York Mets and their ace knuckle-ball pitcher R.A. Dickey.
Greenberg accepts that his story and the off-field circumstances have played a part in his contract offer but insists that his on-field performance also played a role in earning this chance.
“I’m just going to go up the same way I would at any other at-bat, compete and try to reach base, my goal as a player is to help your team win,” said Greenberg on the DP show. “I’m hopeful this is the start of part two of my career to get myself back to the big leagues and stay.”
Regardless of what happens when Greenberg steps up to the plate on Oct. 2, we should all take away from this that anything is possible if you don’t give up and keep your mind set on your goal.
“Right now it’s one pitch at a time,” said Greenberg.