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Adam Greenberg to be inducted into National Jewish Sports HOF

Miami Marlins' Adam Greenberg heads to the dugout

Miami Marlins' Adam Greenberg heads to the dugout during practice before a game against the Mets in Miami. (Oct. 2, 2012) Credit: AP

Adam Greenberg has been an inspiration to countless baseball fans, even though his major- league career lasted only two plate appearances.

Greenberg suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pitch in his big-league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2005, but after seven years in minor and independent league baseball, he returned to the majors in 2012.

"It was one heck of a ride," said Greenberg, 33, who will be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Commack on Sunday. "It was certainly filled with highs and lows, but looking back, it was just a tremendous experience and opportunity for me to fulfill a dream."

The aftermath of the injury "was a challenging time, to say the least," the Connecticut native said. "I had about 21/2 years with positional vertigo. I had severe vision issues -- my convergence and divergence was actually off."

After being released by the Cubs in 2006, Greenberg moved between a number of major- league farm clubs before landing in independent league baseball in 2009. A string of additional injuries made things even more difficult.

In 2012, a petition started by Cubs fan Matt Liston to get Greenberg one final major- league plate appearance succeeded, and Greenberg signed a one-day contract with the Miami Marlins.

"He's a great example to young people to follow your dreams no matter what," Liston said.

"I couldn't have been more excited," Greenberg said of his pinch-hit appearance that October. "I was determined to enjoy every second of it. I remember stepping into the batter's box, digging in and then backing out. I didn't back out because I wasn't ready. I backed out because I wanted to soak in what was going on."

The fact that Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey struck out Greenberg was immaterial. His journey was complete.

"So while I didn't get 10 years in the big leagues," said Greenberg, who has officially retired from baseball, "hopefully my story and what I overcame is able to impact more lives than if I were to just have gotten those 10 years in."

The other inductees are tennis player Angela Buxton, basketball players Barry Kramer, Don Goldstein and Jay Berger, agent Joel Segal and bowler Mark Roth.

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