Adam Greenberg finally had his dream recognized with the Marlins in last night’s 4-3 routing of the Amazin’s. After years and years of perseverance, over 22,000 signatures, nearly 2,400 minor and independent league at-bats, Greenberg beat the odds for one one-day contract and a second chance at achieving his childhood dream: getting an at-bat in the big leagues.
The left hand-hitting outfielder was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of University of North at Carolina Chapel Hill in the ninth round of the 2002 MLB draft. After several up and down seasons in the minors, Greenberg finally got the call in 2005 to the big leagues. In the top of the ninth on July 9th with the Cubs up 4-2, manager Dusty Baker called upon the light hitting at-the-time 24-year old to pinch hit. Greenberg stepped in for his first pitch of what he hoped to be the beginning of a long career in the show. That career would become much shorter than he had anticipated as on the first pitch he saw, Marlins reliever Valerio De Los Santos threw a 95-mph fastball that tailed away from the strikezone and struck Greenberg in the head, and as a result suffered from vertigo, seemingly putting his major league career to and end.
That was at least, until last night. After signing a one-day contract with the Miami Marlins, he got his long awaited second chance. In the bottom of the fifth, Ozzie Guillen sent Greenberg out to pinch hit for Bryan Peterson. Going up against leading Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey, Greenberg went down swinging on three pitches, not quite the lone at-bat he hoped for, but an at-bat none the less. The Marlins went on to win on a walk-off single in the 12th, and Greenberg was able to celebrate with his team, and was given a rousing ovation by the crowd as he headed toward the dugout: his pain, eased.
In the classic film, Field of Dreams, the main character Ray Kinsella sets out to locate Moonlight Graham, a former Giants outfielder who’s major-league career consisted of just one inning in the field. He brings a young Graham back to his field in Iowa to play with baseball’s all-time greats, easing his pain.
The real Moonlight Graham draws many parallels to that of our now former-Marlin. Graham was signed by the New York Giants out of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1902, 100 years before Greenberg was drafted out of the same university. Graham made his debut for that lone inning in 1905, and as was mentioned before, Greenberg debuted a century later in 2005. Both never had an official at-bat in their painfully short careers; that is until last night.
These two left-handed outfielders both had childhood dreams of making it to the big-leagues. In a way those dreams were recognized, but not in any way, shape or form how they pictured it. However for at least one of them, their dream was not recognized on-screen in a blockbuster movie, but rather on the field, getting to play the game he loves in the show, one more time, getting that one at-bat.
For Adam; and in a way for Moonlight, their pain is finally, finally, eased.