Adam Greenberg, a Jewish baseball player from Connecticut who suffered a career-threatening injury in his first major league at bat, has been given a second chance: He signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.
The 31-year-old outfielder made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs on July 9, 2005. Brought in as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins, Greenberg was hit in the head by the first pitch thrown to him.
He suffered a concussion and went on to experience severe headaches and positional vertigo as a result of the injury. He did not play any more that season, and between 2006 and 2008, played minor league ball for several teams, including the Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Angels. He also spent three years, from 2009 to 2011, playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.
Last season, in response to an online petition, the Florida Marlins signed Greenberg to a one-day contract, and on October 2 he pinch-hit in the sixth inning against the New York Mets, striking out on three pitches.
At the baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tennesse, in early December, Greenberg approached Orioles manager Buck Showalter and introduced himself. Showalter, in turn, directed Greenberg to the team’s special assistant Brady Anderson and general manager Dan Duquette.
The result of these meetings was a minor league contract through which Greenberg will have an opportunity to earn a spot on the Orioles triple-A team, the Norfolk Tides.
“The opportunity is everything,” Greenberg said. “That’s all I ever asked for.”
While all of the media attention was “nice,” according to Greenberg, the goal was to get a chance “to showcase myself on the field, and I am so grateful that the Orioles are giving me the opportunity to be a part of their organization.”