Hank Greenberg

Henry Benjamin Greenberg
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1956
Primary team: Detroit Tigers
Primary position: 1st Baseman

"He was one of the truly great hitters, and when I first saw him at bat, he made my eyes pop out," Joe DiMaggio said.

Hank Greenberg is widely regarded as one of the best hitters ever. Born Hyman Greenberg on Jan. 1, 1911, in New York City, his hometown Yankees offered him a contract, but he would spurn them, instead choosing to join the Detroit Tigers.

Greenberg would win two MVP awards in his career with Detroit. The first came in 1935 when playing first base he hit .328 and led the league in both home runs (36) and RBI (168). Greenberg's Detroit Tigers would win the World Series that year, though he missed the majority of it after breaking his wrist in the second game. Greenberg acquired his second MVP in 1940 as an outfielder; he batted .340 and again paced the American League in homers (41) while driving in the most runs (150). This would be the first time in MLB history that a player won an MVP award at two different positions.

War spreading across the globe in the 1940s would cut out a significant portion of Greenberg's playing career. Hank was initially brought into military service in May 1941, only to be honorably discharged on Dec. 5 of that year, a mere two days before the attacks at Pearl Harbor. Greenberg would immediately re-enlist. In June 1945, his military service concluded and the Hammer jumped right back into baseball.

Even though he had been out of baseball for a number of years, Greenberg's skills hadn't waned. His return in the latter half of the 1945 season helped drive the Tigers to another World Series appearance. Greenberg's performance was spectacular, as he drove in seven runs in seven games while hitting .304, propelling the Tigers to victory.

In 1946, the Hammer put on a vintage performance, once again leading the league in home runs (44) and RBI (127). That would be his final year as a member of the Detroit Tigers, however, as the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased his contract before the 1947 season. He would play only one season with the Pirates before retiring to take over direction of the Indians' farm system. Greenberg would shortly become their general manager and would later serve the White Sox in the same capacity.

"He was one of the truly great hitters, and when I first saw him at bat, he made my eyes pop out. "
Joe DiMaggio

Tigers Gear

Represent the all-time greats and know your purchase plays a part in preserving baseball history.

Tigers Membership Card

Relive your cherished baseball memories and favorite moments from your team with your personalized membership card.

Career stats

Year Inducted: 1956
Primary Team: Detroit Tigers
Position Played: 1st Baseman
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: New York, New York
Birth year: 1911
Died: 1986, Beverly Hills, California
Played for:
Detroit Tigers (1930)
Detroit Tigers (1933-1941)
Detroit Tigers (1945-1946)
Pittsburgh Pirates (1947)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG