School Library Journal Review of Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg


This review will appear in SLJ’s April issue.  Needless to say, it made my day! I wish I could visit the Beverly Hills Public Library and say hello to Marilyn Taniguchi…

Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg: Baseball Pioneer. 132p. bibliog. further reading. index. notes. Web sites. CIP. Calkins Creek. 2011. Tr $17.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-452-5. LC 2010929519.
Gr 4-8–Sommer offers a well-rounded account of the Hall of Famer’s life and career. She opens with the famous on-field encounter in 1947 when Greenberg, in his final season, offered words of encouragement to the rookie Jackie Robinson. As a pioneering Jewish sports star, the veteran player faced prejudice throughout his years in the major leagues. The author includes plenty of interesting historical detail. Greenberg spent most of his career in Detroit, home to the “Radio Priest,” Father Charles Coughlin, who frequently targeted Jews in his mean-spirited sermons. Greenberg’s career peaked during the Great Depression; in 1938, he hit 58 home runs and came within two runs of tying Babe Ruth’s single-season record. Black-and-white pictures add to the book’s appeal: one, from 1946, depicts Greenberg and Boston great Ted Williams with a young John F. Kennedy. Another charming photo shows Greenberg ruefully pushing a wheelbarrow full of vegetables that fans had thrown onto the field before a championship game. Sommer concludes with tributes to the player following his death in 1986. Straightforward narrative and fascinating historical detail combine to make this an engaging introduction to a significant ballplayer and his times.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA


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