THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG
Celebrating a Baseball Legend
Audience: All ages
Rating: Not rated by MPAA
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: Cowboy Booking International
Director: Aviva Kempner
Producer: Aviva Kempner
Writer: Aviva Kempner
Address Comments To:John Vanco & Noah Cowen
Cowboy Booking International
6 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 929-4200
The movie tells the story of baseball legend Hank Greenberg, a Jewish immigrant from New York who became a powerful slugger for the Detroit Tigers. With his mighty bat, Greenberg led the Tigers to several pennants and several Worlds Series in the 1930s and 1940s. The movie interviews Jewish fans and friends who recall how Greenberg was a symbol of ethnic pride for American Jews suffering from anti-Semitism. He also became a leader in the fight against racial bigotry. In fact, at an important point in Jackie Robinson’s career as the first black ballplayer in the major leagues, Greenberg gave Robinson much-needed words of encouragement.
Despite the anti-Semitism he encountered on the field and from the stands, Greenberg became a national hero respected by millions. He served more than three years in the United States Armed Forces during World War II, giving up crucial years of his professional life in major league baseball. Several of his former teammates come on screen years later to say how much of a hard worker he was. One of them has nothing but disdain for the professional ballplayers of today, who make millions of dollars yet have little of the heroic dignity and values expressed by Greenberg in his life and career.
Watching THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG will bring many smiles to those who enjoy seeing and hearing about the athletic exploits of yesteryear. Although Greenberg does encounter prejudice, viewers may wonder how it is that the baseball fields back then became such potent and positive symbols of old-fashioned Americana. Apparently, the commercial demands of television have destroyed the sacred mystique that the game used to carry for so many fans and players. After all, why go to Yankee Stadium when you can watch all your favorite plays endlessly repeated ad nauseum on the boob tube?
Although not a very religious man, Greenberg made headlines when he started taking the day off on a couple of important Jewish holidays. Later on in his life, the documentary says, he moved further away from his Jewish roots because of all the hatred and division he saw in many (if not most) organized religions. He came to believe that “God loves everybody” and that “we’re all children of God,” so he decided just to live his life by the Ten Commandments and teach others to do likewise. In doing that, he displayed strength and courage. Of course, as St. Paul observes in the Book of Romans, the Jewish Scriptures themselves teach that no man is truly good (Psalm 14:1-3); therefore, everyone needs Jesus Christ to atone for his sins, even Hank Greenberg.
Thus, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG is a great, nostalgic, moral walk down Memory Lane with only a few questionable elements, including some mild foul language.
Watching THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HANK GREENBERG will bring many smiles to those who enjoy the athletic exploits of yesteryear. It’s a captivating, nostalgic trip down Memory Lane that shows how a sport can unify a people, and even a country. Later on in his life, Greenberg moved further away from his Jewish roots to embrace a lifestyle that obeys the Ten Commandments and teaches that “God loves everyone” and that “we’re all children of God.” The only thing missing in such a doctrine is the Gospel of Jesus Christ