Draftee Greenberg Bows Out of Baseball in Blaze of Glory

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Draftee Greenberg Bows Out of Baseball in Blaze of Glory

Post by Globalization41 » 14 Apr 2004 07:21

Starting Lineups

New York Yankees

Phil Rizzuto ss
Red Rolfe 3b
George Selkirk rf
Joe DiMaggio cf
Charlie Keller lf
Joe Gordon 1b
Bill Dickey c
Jerry Priddy 2b
Ernie Bonham p

Detroit Tigers
Frank Croucher ss
Barney McCosky cf
Charlie Gehringer 2b.
Rudy York 1b
Hank Greenberg lf
Bruce Campbell rf
Pinky Higgins 3b
Birdie Tebbetts c
Johnny Gorsica p

Briggs Stadium, Detroit, Special to The New
York Times,
By James P. Dawson, Tuesday,
May 6, 1941:
Hank Greenberg today played
his last major league ball game for at least one
year -- maybe for all time. He bowed out in a
blaze of glory.
... Crashing his first home run
of the season in the 2nd inning, Greenberg
came back to hit No. 2 his next time up. Thus
he helped the Tigers to score their fifth straight
victory, their third in a sweep of the series
with the Yankees, and seventh Del Baker's
champions have gained in their last eight
games. ... The count was 7-4. The victims
were Tiny Bonham [three innings, seven hits,
no walks, no strikeouts]
and Atley Donald [five
innings, four hits, five walks, two strikeouts].

The conqueror was Johnny Gorsica [nine
innings, five hits, one walk, one strikeout].
a crowd of 7,850 enjoyed it, because the result
dropped the [12-10] Yanks into fourth-place and
moved the [11-8] Tigers into the No. 2 slot. ...
Tomorrow morning Greenberg will present
himself for mustering into the Army under the
Selective Service Law.
He probably will be
assigned to the Fifth Division at Fort Custer,
Mich. ... Midway in today's game word came
that he had been granted a day of grace to
participate in a pennant-raising ceremony
tomorrow, when Washington invades Briggs
Stadium, but Hank stuck to his original plans.
He said he would not be in a baseball uniform
again; he has discarded it for the khaki of Uncle
Sam's army of trainees.
... "I have been ordered
to report May 7 and will do so," said Greenberg.
"I want no favors; I ask none." ... He said good-
bye to his teammates, to Manager Del Baker,
and to Owner Walter O. Briggs before leaving
Briggs Stadium. [Greenberg's next big-league
game would not be for another four-plus years.
He returned to the Tigers in 1945, at the age of
34, hitting .311 with 13 homers in 78 games.
In 1946 for the Tigers, Greenberg homered 44
times and drove in 127 runs to lead the A.L. in
both categories.]
... A "tomorrow" would
have been anti-climax for the 6-foot 4-inch
giant from New York's Bronx, whose exploits
on the ball field brought him the American
League's most valuable player awards in 1935
and 1940,
who in 1938 tied the major league
home-run record for right-handed hitters with
58, two short of the immortal Babe Ruth's
mark, and who led the A.L. in runs batted in
during 1935 [170], 1937 [183], and 1940
[150]. His season average is .269 and his
lifetime average .326. ... It is a glorious
record Greenberg leaves behind him as he
enters upon a more serious game, surrendering
a $50,000-a-year contract for a $21-a-month
... Greenberg had a co-star today in
Bruce Campbell, who also hit two successive
homers. Between them they accounted for five
runs. ... Leading off the 2nd Greenberg hit his
first homer into the upper left field stand.
Campbell followed by hitting the first pitch
into the upper right field stand. ... In the 3rd
inning, after Rudy York smacked Bonham for
a single, Greenberg exploded for No. 2 into
the same region as his first, and Campbell
followed with his second into his favorite spot.
... That was all for Bonham. Donald came on
the scene in the 4th and gave up a run on three
singles in the 7th. He yielded another on a
pass, a sacrifice, and Croucher's double in the
8th. ... The Yanks reached Gorsica for a run
in the 4th, Campbell's muff letting Red Rolfe
score from second. In the 7th Jerry Priddy hit
his first major league homer in the wake of
singles by Joe Gordon and Bill Dickey. And
that was all the familiarity Gorsica permitted in
a five-hit pitching performance. ... ... Before
today's game Greenberg received a pen and
pencil set from the Stadium ground crew. ...
Hank was bitter at the excessive amount of
publicity his selective service case attracted in
local papers. [Certain sportswriters, sensing
Greenberg's reluctance to enthusiastically
accept being drafted into the Army, were
administering heavy doses of the old false guilt-
trip routine in their stories, implying a lack of
patriotism on the part of the slugger while the
commentaries in total had developed into a
months-long, running soap opera.]
... Without
concealing his resignation to the fact Greenberg
will be irreplaceable, Manager Baker revealed
that Robert (Ned) Harris, 24-year-old rookie
from Beaumont, would replace the star in left.
... Greenberg first came to the Tigers in 1930
[appearing in one game] from James Monroe
High School in New York's Bronx, being sent
back to Hartford for seasoning [and rejoining
in 1933. Including today's fracas,
Greenberg played in 1,049 games as a Tiger.
... Selkirk robbed Higgins with a leaping one-
handed grab in the 3rd just when Pinky's drive
seemed destined for the right-field screen. ...
The Yanks headed for Cleveland, where
Marius Russo is slated to hurl against Al
Milnar. Both are lefties. ... York had 20
putouts, two short of the record. Only one
[Yankee] outfield fly was caught -- by
Campbell on Rizzuto as the game opened.
[Though he hung one to Priddy, Gorsica
tossed mainly groudballs as Detroit totaled 22
fielding assists, five by Croucher at short, eight
by Gehringer at second, four by Higgins at
third, and five by Gorsica. Detroit turned the
only doubleplay of the contest, going 1-6-3. ...
Yankee outfielders tracked down nine flyballs,
three each by Keller in left, DiMaggio in center,
and Henrich in right. Yankee infielders turned
six assists. ... Joe DiMaggio went hitless in
four at bats. ... The Yankees left three runners
on base; Detroit stranded ten. ... The umpires
were John A. Quinn behind the plate, Bill
at first, and Bill McGowan at third. ...
Time of game was 2:04.]

Detroit, United Press, The New York Times,
Wednesday, May 7, 1941: Hank Greenberg,
in his first day at bat for Uncle Sam, today
gave 1,000 autographs and posed for at least
that many feet of newsreel while a 13-piece
WPA orchestra
blared "morale building"
music. ... Greenberg began the metamorphosis
from a $55,000 a year outfielder of the Tigers
to a $21 a month [or $252 a year (with food,
uniforms, and shelter provided)]
buck private at
6:30 A.M. and soon was just another Army
serial number
in a group of 70 selectees. He
received a cardboard lunch ticket to hang
around his neck, was rushed through a physical
examination, fingerprinted, sworn in, and [in
the early afternoon]
loaded onto a bus that
went to the railway station [where he] boarded
a train for Fort Custer, Mich., a reception
center and headquarters of the Fifth Division.
... Throughout the [morning] process
Greenberg was deluged with autograph seekers,
including non-commissioned officers at the
induction center and swarms of women corset
factory employees who work in the same
building and stepped over to stare at the husky
Tiger star. ... In the background the WPA
orchestra, which an officer said helped build
morale, played swing music while selectees on
wood benches watched every move Greenberg
made. ... It was a bizarre scene for the 30-
year-old baseball player, who often said he
would "take it in stride" and ask no favors.
He fretted when news photographers and
cameramen had him pose for every step of the
induction, wondering if others wouldn't think,
"Who's this guy Greenberg, anyway?" Earlier
he had refused a chance to be leader of the
group. ... The physical examination cleared
up the controversy over the flatness of
Greenberg's feet. Captain Roscoe Cavell,
senior medical officer, said Hank's feet were
flat but still serviceable
and not likely to bother
him when he pulls on a pair of Army brogans.
A Florida physician two months ago
recommended that Greenberg be deferred
because of his archless ambulation. ... Before
[boarding the train for Fort Custer] Greenberg
disclosed that his contract had called for
$55,000 and that he would be paid only a
proportionate part of it, about $7,500. ...
Greenberg found more baseball fans, autograph
seekers, and newsreel cameramen on his
arrival at Battle Creek, Mich., and near-by
Fort Custer. About a third of the 15,000-man
Fifth Division turned out to see him enter the
encampment. ... After his temporary
assignment to a reception center company
Greenberg, by request of the men, led the
march to the mess hall, where he ate plentifully
of pork chops, mashed potatoes, creamed peas,
fruit salad, and milk. ... "I'm glad to be
here," he said.
"They're treating me fine." ...
Officers assured questioners that Greenberg
would be in bed by 9 P.M.,
confined to
barracks until he is in uniform. ... He will be
roused by bugle at 6 A.M. tomorrow, receive
clothes, and undergo intelligence and
classification tests. Permanent assignment may
come Friday or Saturday. Greenberg is
expected to remain at Fort Custer or go to
Camp Livingston, La.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]

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