“The first day that Hank was in the army, he and the other recruits were lined up and the sergeant immediately began spouting some anti-Semitic remarks like “I don’t want no Goldbergs and no Cohns in my unit.” Whereupon Hank raised his hand and says “My name is Greenberg.” and he looks at Hank 6-3, 6-4, 200, 230, he says “I didn’t say anything about Greenbergs.” – Dick Schaap
Number of Times Seen – 1 (3 Apr 2014)
Brief Synopsis – The story of Hank Greenberg, the first “openly” Jewish baseball player and how he coped with the bigotry and racism of the 1930’s.
My Take on it – Growing up in the 80’s I had heard lots of stories of Hank Greenberg (I even had a great uncle by that name, not the same guy obviously) and how he was the first Jewish ballplayer.
Watching this movie about him which featured many interviews of him (eventhough he died a bit more than a decade before this movie was made), of his friends, fans and former teammates, one can get a much better depiction of how it must have been for him in the days when bigotry and antisemitism was rampant in public.
Greenberg was a star athlete and like Jackie Robinson a decade later, helped diversify the nationalities of players in the big leagues of baseball.
Not only was he an example to minorities, but he was also one of the first players to enlist in the US Army to fight the Germans in WWII. He took a three year hiatus from playing baseball to let his patriotism show overseas.
As my frequent readers are probably well aware, I’m not the biggest fan of Documentaries, but the ones I usually end up seeing, I usually enjoy very much.
Bottom Line – Excellent documentary about a long forgotten baseball player who withstood much prejudice and bigotry in order to show he was no different than anyone else in an era filled with hatred for minority players. Highly recommended!
Rating – Oscar Worthy
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