The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
(1998) is a documentary film
directed, produced and written by Aviva Kempner
about Hall of Fame first baseman Hank Greenberg
of the Detroit Tigers
. A Jewish player who chose not to play on Yom Kippur
in 1934 during a heated pennant race, Greenberg experienced a great deal of antisemitism
. He almost broke Babe Ruth's 60 home run record by hitting 58 home runs in 1938.
Like many players of the era, Greenberg's career was interrupted by military service. Initially, Greenberg was classified unfit for service due to flat feet. However, upon re-examination, he was cleared. Before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor
, the United States Congress
released men over age 28. After the attack, Greenberg immediately reenlisted in the United States Army Air Forces
, Hank Greenberg, as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates
and playing his final season, was one of the few ballplayers to give the Brooklyn Dodgers
' Jackie Robinson
, the majors' first black
player in many years, a warm welcome. Robinson later said, "Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg".