Ham­merin’ Hank Green­berg: Base­ball Pioneer

Shel­ley Sommer
  • Review
By – September 1, 2011
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.

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