Outfielder Adam Greenberg's first major league plate appearance ended his career. A ninth-round pick out of North Carolina in 2002, he was called up by the Cubs from Double A in July '05 and debuted as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of an 8--2 victory over the Marlins. When he stepped in to face lefty Valerio De Los Santos, the lefthanded-hitting Greenberg noted that the defense was playing him to hit the other way. Then he took a 92-mph fastball off the back of his skull.
For more than a year Greenberg battled blurred vision and vertigo. He spent the next six seasons bouncing around the minors, finishing his career in 2011 with the independent Bridgeport (Conn.) Bluefish. He still hopes to make a comeback.
One Cubs fan is trying to give him a boost. Matt Liston, a coproducer of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about star-crossed Chicago fan Steve Bartman, has launched the One At Bat campaign in an attempt to give Greenberg, 31, another chance at his first major league hit—or even his first out. Liston's change.org petition for One At Bat has more than 12,000 signatures. Greenberg understands that any team that gives him an at bat would likely be doing it for the publicity, but he'll take it any way it comes.
"I just want to get in the door," Greenberg says. "Everyone needs that chance."
RONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (GREENBERG)