For the second time in four weeks, the Baltimore Orioles have added a Jewish player.
The club announced last Thursday that it signed 31-year-old outfielder Adam Greenberg to a minor league contract. The Orioles also signed third baseman Danny Valencia in late November.
Greenberg’s career has been unique, to say the least.
Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2002 out of the University of North Carolina, Greenberg ascended the minor league ranks before making his major league debut, at 24, in a pinch-hitting role on July 9, 2005. He saw one pitch.
On the first offering from the Florida Marlins’ Valerio de los Santos, Greenberg was plunked in the back of the head with a 92 mph fastball. After visits with several doctors, he was diagnosed with positional vertigo, a condition that causes nausea, dizziness and severe headaches.
“Just bending over to tie my shoe left me with headaches for hours,” Greenberg told ESPN.com in 2007.
The after-effects put a damper on what was an up-and-coming major league career. However, Greenberg persevered, and from 2006 to 2011 he played on several minor league and independent league teams.
Last season, the Marlins signed Greenberg to a one-day contract to give him the opportunity to finally experience his second major league at-bat. Although he struck out on three pitches, Greenberg said it was an event he’ll always cherish.
“It was magical,” he told The New York Times. “The energy that was in the stadium was something that I have never experienced in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever experience that again.”
There have been eight Jewish Orioles since the team’s inception, if you include David Newhan, who has since become a Hebrew Christian.