Father’s Day is coming up soon, and what better gift to your dad than a copy of The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg? Does he really need an iPad? Of course not. So if you’ve already bought the iPad for your dad this Father’s Day, send it to me if you have to. Because there are at least 10 reasons why The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg is this year’s must have gift.
10. It shows Greenberg in a different light
The film does not only discuss Greenberg’s on field accomplishments and struggles. It also takes you into his personal life. From his struggle in deciding whether or not to play on High Holy Days, to a story about a woman and a broken arm in a hotel room that doesn’t quite make sense, the film shows Greenberg in a light not ordinarily seen.
9. So he can teach his grandchildren or future grandchildren about the era in which Hank Greenberg played.
Hank Greenberg played in an era of baseball that no one will ever see the likes of again. The stars of the sport like Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Bob Feller and Greenberg himself took years off of their careers to join the military during WWII. It is hard to imagine today’s players even considering such an action.
8. It dispels a huge myth
It is widely believed that Greenberg was denied the single season home run record in 1938 because he was Jewish. I believed this to be true before viewing the film. However, it turns out Greenberg himself said that this was not the case. In fact there were opponents who tried to help him set the record in the final weeks of the season.
7. Your dad gets to see and hear people that he never will again
Since this is a re-release of the film, the interviews that are in it took place in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, most of the interviewees have passed away since then. From Bob Feller to legendary sports writer Shirley Povich, this film is one that allows viewers to hear from those who have left us.
6. There is also an interview with Ted Williams…and that was when he was alive (joke credited to Aviva Kempner)
If you don’t get this joke, run Ted Williams’ name and the word “head” in a Google search.
5. He gets to see Hank Greenberg from virtually every perspective
The film tells stories of Greenberg from the perspective of friends, teammates, fans, family, sportswriters, former Washington Senators and soon to be former actual senators.
This list of interviewees makes you feel like you actually knew Hank Greenberg. Heck, they could probably tell you what he ate for breakfast on any given day of the 1941 season. Unfortunately, that part didn’t make the DVD.
4. BECAUSE YOUR DAD DOESN’T NEED AN iPAD! HE WON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO USE THE THING!
3. Hank broke stereotypes
There was and still is a belief that Jewish men are wimpy, short and very nerdy. Now just judging from the Lasky family, you would probably be right. But as it turns out, not all Jews are this way.
Hank Greenberg is listed on baseballreference.com as 6’3” and 210 lbs. I dare you to go up to someone that size and tell them that they’re a wimpy nerd.
So the next time one of your dad’s goy friends points to Woody Allen as a representation of what Jewish men look like, you can just hand them a copy of The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.
2. It tells a mostly untold story
Most baseball fans know about the abuse that Jackie Robinson endured in his career, and they should. But Greenberg endured taunts from fans and players as well.
There is a story in the film in which a player walked up to Greenberg and looked at him confused. When Greenberg asked what he was staring at, the player replied that he had never seen a Jew in person before and was looking for Greenberg’s horns.
1. Because it’s awesome
Sure I could have said it more articulately, but why should I? I think I got my point across. This film is awesome. It has won various awards, including a Peabody in 2001. They don’t just give Peabodys away. There are thousands of entries every year and the award goes to about 35 people at most. Need I say more?
I think I’ve made a pretty good case. Your dad will love it for the reasons above and more. Now if only he had some kind of handheld device to watch it on. Oh well. Maybe next year…