A Second Chance: the Collision of R.A. Dickey and Adam Greenberg

Everyone believes in second chances.  For those who have been the beneficiary of a second chance, there is a realization of how special they are; even more, how rare.

Second chances are the ultimate ‘do-overs’.

Tonight, at 7:10 pm (ET), the world will witness the pinnacle of second chances.  In a game that means nothing to the playoff races in MLB baseball, the New York Mets and Miami Marlins, both over 20 games out of 1st place in the National League East Division, will be knee-deep in an entire game of second chances.

The first is R.A. Dickey.  The Mets knuckleballer will go for his 21st win in his final appearance of the 2012 season.  Dickey, who I wrote about here in July, is the epitome of second chances.  His case, well-documented in his 2012 biography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, is a story of second chances.  And, if Dickey is fortunate enough to claim that 21st win, he’ll receive solid consideration for the 2012 NL Cy Young Award.  Given Dickey’s story, and most importantly, his statistics (20-6, 2.69 ERA), I would hope he’ll win it.  But, Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA), the Washington Nationals ace, will be pitching Tuesday night for his 22nd win.  That, and a widely perceived bias among the baseball world against knuckleballers, could keep Dickey from the award.  We’ll see.

The second is Adam Greenberg.  The 31 year-old was making his first appearance in the big leagues in 2005 with the Chicago Cubs when he stepped into the batter’s box for the very first time and, on the first pitch, was drilled behind the ear.



Officially, Greenberg recorded a plate appearance, but not an at bat.  It’s a story that’s been compared to that of Archie “Moonlight” Graham, an outfielder for the 1905 New York Giants, whose story was made famous in the movie Field of Dreams.  Graham played in one game, but never recorded an official at bat.

The effects from being hit were far-reaching.  Greenberg endured years of rehabilitation, and eventually re-entered competitive baseball via the Independent League.  This year, Greenberg, in his effort to make a comeback, was chosen to play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

But, the impetus for Greenberg’s appearance in the Marlins-Mets game Tuesday night was the grass-roots movement of One At Bat.  Their mission statement says,

We want to get Adam Greenberg his first “official” Major League at bat. Of the 17,500 players who have played in the major leagues, no player has ever had his MLB career end on the first pitch—except Adam Greenberg. Due to Major League rules, when Adam was hit, his at bat was recorded as a plate appearance, not an official at bat. We would like to see Adam make it back to the big leagues for the official at bat he earned.

Today, the Miami Marlins – the team Greenberg was facing when he was hit in 2005 – will give Adam Greenberg a one day contract to get his ‘one at bat’.

I’m hoping Dickey throws a one-hitter.

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