By Meghan Creane
There aren’t a lot of great second chance stories in professional sports. You’ll hear of a come back from a few days or even months out of the game, but a second chance after seven years is pretty much unheard of.
In 2005 Adam Greenberg hit the field for his first major league game with the Chicago Cubs, without so much as a swing of the bat his first time at the plate took a nasty turn. Greenberg was hit in the back of the head by a 92 mph fastball thrown by Miami Marlins left-hander, Valerio De Los Santos. The fateful pitch left Greenberg with a nasty concussion, leading to two years of vision problems, vertigo and headaches that would last for multiple hours at a time.
At this time Greenberg stated that he was “more concerned with his quality of life than playing ball.” After he regained full strength Greenberg began playing again in minors and in the Atlantic League. It was around this time that filmmaker Matt Liston began a campaign to get Greenberg the second chance so rarely given out.
The conclusion of this campaign came one month ago when the Marlins gave Greenberg the chance he had been pining for seven years. This past Tuesday, the second of October, the Marlins gave him a one-day contract. The Marlins have been having one of their worse seasons on record and saw this opportunity as a chance to not only help Greenberg but also to raise their own morale.
Marlins’ manager Ozzie Guillen went on record as saying “We’ve been losing so many games, we hate each other in the dugout,” something the presence of Greenberg seemed to turn around in his one day appearance, “[bringing] a lot of smiles and a lot of tears.” Leading up to the game Greenberg was swarmed with press, reunions and various public appearances, which makes even clearer how rare such an event is. Greenberg then hit the field in his Marlins jersey, number nine, for batting practice and warm-ups.
By the fifth inning Greenberg was taking swings and by the sixth the crowd and both teams were up on their feet as he took to the field as a pinch hitter. Greenberg took the first pitch, and swung at the next two leading to a strike out, an ending that does not accurately fit the emotion of the day for all involved. It was a day of second chances and the goodness of people and most importantly a day that inspired hope and following dreams.