It was an honor to share the journey and insights of former Chicago Cub and Miami Marlin Adam Greenberg in the book we co-wrote called Get Up: The Art of Perseverance. His journey of resilience and perseverance began in Guilford, Connecticut, with a dream of one day becoming a Major League Baseball player. His relentless drive, work ethic, and passion to succeed took him to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned tremendous accolades in Coach Fox’s baseball program. Soon he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs organization and made his way through the minors until he got the call.
Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs the night of Adam’s first appearance in the Major Leagues, sent him into the game to pinch hit. When Adam stepped in the batter’s box, it was the culmination of his entire life’s work. He dug in and awaited his first pitch. His greatest triumph became his worst nightmare as the first pitch he saw was a 92 mph fastball that struck him right under his helmet on the back of his head. Major League Baseball didn’t have any concussion protocols at the time. His team didn’t even send him to the hospital after Adam was hit in the head by a pitch that could’ve killed him.
Vertigo, vision changes, headaches, loss of consciousness, and balance problems from having 92 mph of force blast through the minuscule bone structures of his inner ear plagued him as he fought for 7 years to get back to the Major Leagues. It went into the record books as a plate appearance. Adam never had an official at bat.
After nearly 30,000 baseball fans responded to Matt Liston’s One At Bat petition that sought to give Adam an official Major League At Bat, David Sampson and the Miami Marlins offered Adam just that on the Today Show. Soon Adam again stepped into a Major League batter’s box with Aerosmith’s “Dream On” thundering through a stadium full of people who came to their feet. They cheered on a ball player as he played the game he loved in a Major League uniform he earned.
Adam faced R.A. Dickey, that year’s Cy Young Award Winner. He got his official MLB At Bat. Although he would never become a Major League All Star, steal a base, or hit a home run, Adam instead lived one of the most interesting and unique careers in the entire history of Major League Baseball. He went on to spend his time inspiring others with his story of perseverance and encouraging others who suffered traumatic brain injuries and other adversity to pursue their dreams and overcome their challenges.
So on a warm summer day in July 2017, it was an honor to sit down with Adam in the Chicago Cubs dug-out as he prepared to throw out the first pitch in celebration of the launch of our book. It was a pleasure to hear the fans cheer as the cover of Get Up: The Art of Perseverance flashed on the stadium screen. We recorded Episode 1 of Get Up Nation® in the ballpark Adam once dreamed of playing in as the fans embraced his inspiring journey, and I identified the gift I wanted to give others after living a lifetime of service. The gift of resilience and perseverance.
Listen to Get Up Nation® at www.getupnationpodcast.com.