Hammerin' Hank Greenberg: Baseball Pioneer profiles the so-called "Jewish Babe Ruth."
The Detroit Tigers' heavy-hitting first baseman wasn't the first Jewish major leaguer, but he was the first Jewish baseball star. This young-adult biography chronicles Greenberg's early life as the too-tall son of Romanian immigrants (he was 6 feet 3 in eighth grade), growing up among Yiddish speakers in New York City, and traces his career with the Tigers, his season with the Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring in 1947, and his management jobs with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. Greenberg joined the Tigers in 1930, when he was just 19, and had to endure name-calling and ethnic slurs not just from the stands but also from the opposing dugout and even his own teammates. Sommer skillfully places Greenberg's career in the context of the Great Depression, World War II and Jackie Robinson's pioneering efforts as the first black major leaguer.
Ages 10 +