"Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes"

Apr 1, 2013

The 2013 Major League Baseball season officially got underway yesterday, Sunday the 31st, with a night game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. Welcome back, baseball! And therefore, on this edition of ST, we're talking about the life, career, and influence of one of the all-time great hitters, Hank Greenberg, who joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933 and went on to share the spotlight with the legendary sluggers of that era, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig. But that's only part of the story --- Greenberg was also, of course, one of the very few Jewish athletes competing nationally at that time. He was not only an iconic ball player --- he entered in the Hall of Fame in 1956, less than a decade after his last game in the Majors --- but was also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience in the Thirties, Forties, and beyond. Our guest is John Rosengren, an award-winning author and sportswriter whose newest book, just out, is "Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes." As a critic for this book noted in the pages of Library Journal: "Greenberg became an icon for American Jews and filled that role with dignity.... Rosengren's well-written book is recommended to all fans."