Hank Greenberg was definitely a hero in Jewish sports history. A talented baseball player who came within two runs of beating Babe Ruth’s homerun record, Hank Greenberg was known as an outstanding ball player. More importantly, he was considered a good role model who gave to charity, supported the community, fought for his country, and led an exemplary life. Although not a religious man, he openly identified as Jewish and wanted “to be remembered not only as a great ballplayer, but even more as a great Jewish ballplayer.” Shelley Sommer outlines the life of this well-known man from his birth to immigrant parents through his marriage later in life and his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Although Greenberg suffered some anti-Semitic razing in his career, he did not have any tremendous conflicts. It was, therefore, difficult to make this biography exciting. The author sprinkles the text with photographs that give a sense of time and place, but readers never really get the feeling that they know Hank Greenberg or had any great insight into his character. This biography may hold the interest of baseball fans, but for those looking for an exciting read, it will not suffice. For ages 10 – 12.
Susan Dubin was the first librarian honored with a Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award. She is the owner/director of Off-the-Shelf Library Services and library instructional consultant at Valley Beth Shalom Day School in Encino, CA.