Of Life Magazine, Oprah and the Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg didn’t think he could play in Game 7 of the World Series. Said his wrist hurt too much.

Tigers manager Steve O’Neill asked him to give it a try. Said the Tigers needed him to beat the Cubs that day.Mhc_am_greenberg2_191502_7

So Greenberg did, batting cleanup that day 52 years ago in Wrigley Field. The first three Tigers singled to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. Up came Greenberg and nobody knew that he was in pain.

He bunted. Dropped a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners to second and third. The Tigers scored five that inning and went on to beat the Cubs, 9-3 to win the 1945 World Series. That’s the last time the World Series was played in Wrigley Field.

Saw that the other day when they showed the Life and Times of Hank Greenberg on television the other day. Greenberg is a Hall of Famer who played with the Detroit Tigers from 1933-46, although he missed almost four complete seasons because of World War II.

He was the first big star to enlist. Not sure he saw action – they were vague about that – but he was in Burma.

Remember reading as a kid that Greenberg was actually terrified at coming to the plate. This was early in his career and he had a deep-seated fear of failure. Then one day he told Charlie Gehringer: "Get on base and I’ll drive you home."

Gehringer doubled. Greenberg singled him home. He was a monster after that.

Gehringer is in the Hall of Fame too. He was the guy who had five straight 200-hit seasons as a second baseman. Michael Young has tied that streak and can beat it this year.
Greenberg once said, "The only way you can get along with newspapermen is to say something one minute and something different the next."

But he was the general manager of the Cleveland Indians from 1949-57. The Yankees won the pennant five straight years in 1949-53, then the Indians won it in 1954. They won 111 games and were swept by the New York Giants in the World Series.

Greenberg wrote a big article in Life Magazine entitled: "How We Beat the Yankees."

Maybe the Rangers hire Nolan Ryan and he’ll eventually write a big article on "How We Beat the Angels."

Only problem is, don’t think Life magazine is still around. Is it? Maybe it’s a monthly. Hard to tell at the checkout line at Tom Thumb. All those magazines and newspapers only have Britney Spears on the cover. Or Oprah Winfrey. Oprah’s magazine only has Oprah. Guess she doesn’t have to worry about the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

Greenberg hit a home run in his first game back on July 1, 1945. He had 11 multi-home run games that summer, a Major League record that Sammy Sosa tied in 1998. The next year he hit 44 home runs and drove in 127 runs to lead the American League

But that winter his picture appeared in the paper with him holding a Yankees uniform. Greenberg was from New York and there was some vague reference to him wanting to finish his career with the Yankees.

Detroit owner Walter Briggs immediately sold Greenberg to the Pittsburgh Pirates for $75,000. Owners could do that then.

Pitchers and catchers in two weeks.

18 Comments

Anyone else out there shocked at the pittance the Twins got for the best pitcher in baseball. High ceiling guys without a whole lot of track record to me.

Free Agengy is evolving in an interesting way. Teams are doing more today to try to lock up stars before they get to FA. The players that are a year away from FA use the leverage on the teams, and the teams step up to pay them to keep them. Even the major FAs who leave are typically turning down big offers. This wasn’t the case just a few years ago – players wanted to become FAs to get the big money (now they don’t have to leave to get it).

Teams who can’t convince the FAs to take the money are now forced to trade the player before getting nothing but a draft pick as the FA walks.

This trend is a positive one for smaller market teams IMO. However, the teams have to step up to create the environment that makes players want to stay. No big news flash I know – we’ve talked about this before. But I think this underscores how important a positive and can-do attitude is for the franchise (or any workplace, for that matter).

RW came in here promoting a ‘positive attitude’, but we really have only seen it in brief stretches. This philosophy needs to reappear, or the team will not reach what potential it has this season.

Also, with the trend of FAs not leaving, I wonder how many FAs will really end up on the market at the end of 2008. It may very well end up that the FA class is no better than it was this past year (my prediction).

If this turns out to be the case, it is more justification and reason for the commitment to rebuilding.

I am totally shocked. Santana is the rarest of the rare – the best number one starter in baseball who is still in his prime. The Mets don’t even have to give up either of their top two prospects??????? They give up a questionable CF prospect, two fringe major league ready pitchers and an 18 year old who has a lot to learn.

The only downside for the Mets is the amount of money they have to pay Johann, which will happen over the next 2 days. $25MM a year for a long term deal is a lot for a position where a single injury can turn into a financial disaster.

The prices being paid for pitchers remain ridiculous. Look at how much the Rangers paid for that former Rockies pitcher coming off surgery. The guy has done nothing for several years and got $4MM per year??????

Is the Twins management telling the truth about what the Yankees and Red Sox offered? I know Minnesota was less inclined to keep Johann in the AL, but the Mets offer seems lame in comparison to what was previously offered. This is a happy day for the Angels, Tigers and Tribe.

Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera plus another couple of young players looks like a better deal even if Ian Kennedy wasn’t one of them.

Jason Jennings has “done nothing” for several years? You need to take a better look at his ’06 season instead of just the wins and losses. He had a 3.78 ERA pitching in Colorado. His career ERA is right around the league average despite pitching in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/jennija01.shtml

Given the tone and nature of the most recent blogs, I want to remain positive, upbeat and say I’m hoping everything gels this year, and we might be able to win. I am not wearing rose-colored glasses; I just want to start the pre-Spring Training bandwagon once again….and with all the new guys, who knows? The teams who look strong on paper seldom actually win. Someone from left field emerges to surprise almost each and every year–why not the mighty Texas Rangers?
(To Dwi, courtney, fbatts, and on and on: Give the team a chance. Be positive. Be a homer, if necessary. It’s the only team we’ve got.)

I, too, am not thrilled with all of the moves, all of the signings, etc….but, guess what? It’s what we have, and it is reality folks.

One cautionary note: If we get a couple of breakout, hotshot players emerging this year, bank on us not wanting to pay them when they fully blossom. You can’t fight our history with penny-pinching Liverpool Tom. We could have offered WAY more for the best pitcher since Pedro Martinez arose to take baseball by storm. Santana would have been quite a coup, but sadly, we haven’t even tried for Bedard, Kazmir, etc….oh, well, here’s to our Heroes–I’ll follow you, watch you, and support you. It’s reality. Life is too short to keep looking back. Looking forward would be a boon to the Rangers, and also this very blog that TR provides for us, that we love.

LIFE magazine was published weekly from 1936 until 1972. It returned as a monthly magazine from 1978 – 2000, then as weekly insert – locally in the Fort Worth Star Telegram until early 2007 when it ceased publication entirely.

You must be missing the publications at the check out stand with the stories of the recent alien invasion of west Fort Worth — or was that the Star Telegram?

“The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” is a very good movie, not only for the baseball but also for way it portrays the era that Mr. Greenberg played. If you haven’t seen it – make sure you put this film in your Netflix queue

The past really isn’t the past when these things keep happening now are they? What irks me is Hicks and Daniels won’t stand up and say hey we made bad deals. Others on the blog have said it. But neither of them. What is the agenda? What would it have taken to get Santana down here since our farm system is now rated #5 overall? Volquez, Blalock, Young and who else? Its all about the pitching. $150 million is chump change for Santana he is at the worst the second best pitcher behind Beckett. Doesn’t look like too much to give up, if we could have re-signed him. Looks like the new GM up there has a little Danielitis and made a bad deal. You never deal from desperation, just my opinion. You don’t have to support it and don’t stroke out over it.++++++:) I want someone over there to play to win!!!!

bingo, I am going to jump on the bandwagon with you. I’ve mentioned recently that if you ask the players, they will tell you that they need the fans, and positive fans are a whole lot easier to win for than negative ones. Even last weekend, Michael Young kinda vaguely refered to the fans and others who have already counted the team out. This shows the players are already feeling the negative vibes. If the team has a bad year, and the negative attitude has continued, then the fans MUST be willing accept thier own part of the responsibility. Remember, last year, the really bad part came in the first part of the year. After mid-June, we actually had a winning season. Who is to say that can not continue and improve…….I’m behind you boys. I believe you can and will do it for us all.

Fans and players have got to have some sort of optimisim that things will be better this year, or there’s not really any sense in playing the game. I won’t go so far as to say we’ll contend,but we may just steal second place (that is if the Mariners can’t complete this deal for Erik Bedard).

So count me in on the optimistic bandwagon – here’s to a .500 season this year, and a climb into contention in the years to come.

I’m very excited about the season as a critical stepping stone TOWARD being not only a contender, but a perennial favorite (from 2011-2016).

If we play our cards right, this year should be a ball.

Resurrect-n-flip is fun on both ends, and the development of the youth it brings is fun as well.

But we have to commit temporarily to what might not be the best possible team on the field.

For example, even though others could temporarily hit for a higher OPS than Nelson Cruz or Jason Botts, or have a lower ERA than Tejeda, playing these guys TO DEVELOP them will give us the knowledge we currently lack.

If they show real improvement and great promise, we keep them for ’09. If they fail miserably, we cut them. If they leave us in doubt for ’09, when a few more wins would make a bigger difference, then we trade them to another team that is in our current shoes next year– in good shape to see which players pan out.

Cutting Nelson Cruz this spring, though, to get David Murphy on the field 2 months earlier, would depress me. Why lose a guy who is out of options, in order to play another who has options, when BOTH promise to be the same player (or the currently lesser player promises to be greater) within 2 years?

We’ll need TWO young outfielders around Josh Hamilton within 2 years (and hopefully even by the All-Star Break, after trading the best 2 of Byrd, Cat and Bradley).

I like our team, but I know we will always be underdogs unless we harness all our growth and do all our pruning with OUR season for ripeness in mind: we should not pick every season, but only after we have ripened ON the vine, in HARVEST season. Picking & cutting fruit is not the best way to check for ripeness.

Likewise with players.

It does not matter what we would have offered the Twins for Santana. He had a no trade clause and had said he would waive it only for Boston or NY (Mets or Yankees). You can’t blame Hicks and JD for that.

Ummmm, OK i’m with you guys on this positive thingie! (Even though if you had a winning franchise a stud like Santana would come here which is DIRECTLY blamed on ownership / management, Why the heck do you think he wanted to go to NY or Boston?)but hey, positive!

“If you build it, they will come” so lets build they dern thing starting this year!

GO Rangers!

Thanks keibarr. That is the root issue here. We have to create a winning atmosphere. And i only say this to illustrate. Remember when the Cowboys were winning in the early 90′s we had a lot of players come here to play in the super bowl on the cheaper side. The same thing is going on with the Patriots. Moss, Seau and others are flocking to New England for a chance at a ring. Is New England really a great place to be if the Pats weren’t winning. You would be surprised who would come here if we would just get pointed in the right direction. I said it last year before the year started. It looks like if we wanted to keep Young and Teixera we better start winning well they got the wrong player. Texiera is the one we should have re-signed if it was going to be an either or situation. We didn’t start winning so he is gone. Washington alienated his best player, what a manager he is. We won’t be second place this year folks. Sorry that is just the truth. Now if you get Davis at first, Cruz in right, Murphy in left and start pitching the young pitchers creating something to build on then that would be postitive. It won’t happen though. The Cinco are right. The longer we delay doing this the longer we delay a return to the top. This really is frustrating that the rest of you can’t see it. I want the Rangers to dominate the league like the Red Sox are going to do for the next few years. The question is how do we get there? Are Broussard, Bradley, Millwood, Padilla and Cat going to take us to that level???????

Prediction Rangers out of it by April. Is that really a stretch? How many times have we been out of it by April? My estimation and experience is that has happened a lot. If Washington spends all of his time this year in spring training trying to find out who the 25th guy is, doesn’t play a reasonably set lineup and create some cohesiveness among his starters he is done. A third place finish and .500 baseball would be great. Stop being the laughingstock have some intestinal fortitude be a man. New marketing strategy: Play to Win!!!!

Hey TR, maybe it isnt “fools gold” to count on Millwood Millwood has a 10 year career so far. In 5 of those years he has won more than 14 games for 83 wins. Three of those seasons with the vaunted Braves at the start of his career. The other 5 years he has won a total of 50 games for an average of 10 wins per season. He is 26-26 in two years here. He won 16 the first year and 10 last year, what his statistics show he does. When he is on he wins an average of 16.6 games. When he isn’t then he wins 10. So hopefully he will be on this year and get us 16 wins. Now that leaves Padilla to get us 18 wins. Does anyone think he will get that? He is 72-71 overall in an 8 year career. He is 21-20 as a Ranger. This is the guy who needs to rebound if we are to do anything. And i just can’t see that happening. He has won 14 games only 3x in this 8 year career which is more than 1/2 of his wins. He averages 6 wins per year when he isn’t winning 14 or more. The stats show this. How many did he win last year. I think this guy is a good pitcher, like the way he pitches inside, seems to be tenacious and a bulldog. What is going on with the guy? At this point i am all for hiding a wine bottle in his glove it will get us 16 to 18 wins.

Whenever Richard Cory walked downtown
We people on the pavement looked at him

He was a gentleman from soul to crown,

Clean favored and imperially slim

And he was always quietly arrayed

And he was always human when he talked

But still, he fluttered pulses when he said,

Good morning, and he glittered when he walked

And he was rich, yes richer than a king

And admirably schooled in every grace

In fine, we thought he was everything

To make us wish that we were in his place

So on we worked, and waited for the light,

And went without the meat, and cursed the bread,

And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head… Edward Arlington Robinson and one of the greatest poems every written. How is that for positive?

Tis a far,far better thing than i have ever done before. Go Rangers, Go Hicks, Go Washington, Go Daniels, just go. Get a new suit TR!!!!

Man, we really need a limit on consecutive posts.

Just ready for season to start. Wonder if some people ever preview their posts?

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