Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg was one of the great sluggers of the 1930s and 1940s. He lost more years than most to service for his country, as he originally went in during May 1941 and stayed in after Pearl Harbor through part of the 1945 season. He was still quite good when he returned in 1945, so it is clear that he could have hit at least 100 more home runs if he had not missed the time.

He was married to Carol Gimbel, whose family owned a chain of department stores. Hank and Carol’s son Steve worked for Major League Baseball in the Office of the Commissioner for many years.

He was the first player to hit 25 home runs in a season in both major leagues (Johnny Mize joined him 3 years later). He was also the first player to win the Most Valuable Player Award at 2 different positions,a s a first baseman and as an outfielder.

He was drafted on May 7, 1941, at age 30, and reported to Fort Custer, Michigan, but was discharged on December 5, 1941 under the law releasing men over 28 years of age. He re-enlisted on January 30, 1942 and was discharged on June 15, 1945, as a captain with the 20th Bomber Command. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and 4 battle stars. In 1947, Greenberg became the first major league player to earn more than $80,000 in pure salary.

After his playing career, he became General Manager of the Cleveland Indians from 1950 to 1957 and the Chicago White Sox from 1959 to 1961.