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HAMMERIN' HANK GREENBERG by Shelley Sommer

HAMMERIN' HANK GREENBERG

Baseball Pioneer

By Shelley Sommer

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59078-452-5
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Hank Greenberg was an anomaly who challenged the stereotypes of his era. He was a Jewish boy from New York City who was neither weak nor small nor academically inclined. He was well over 6 feet tall, strong and healthy, and he could hit a baseball as well as or better than most major leaguers. He played with the Detroit Tigers, leading his team to several pennants and World Series. Throughout his career there were cheers, but he also had to endure endless, vitriolic anti-Semitic curses. His decision to miss a season-ending game in a tight pennant race in order to observe Yom Kippur became a national issue. At the end of his own career, with customary grace and integrity, he openly empathized with rookie Jackie Robinson, encouraging him to persevere. In many ways this is a typical baseball biography, covering Greenberg’s accomplishments season by season, as well as his family life and military service in World War II. Sommer ably puts it all in perspective for young readers. Employing straightforward, accessible language, she carefully incorporates historic events, well illustrated with personal and archival photographs and laced with copious quotes from Greenberg and his contemporaries. The result is a multilayered portrait of a man who was content being remembered as a great Jewish ballplayer. (source notes, bibliography, resources) (Biography. 10-14)