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May 10, 1991 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


The Son Of A Legendary Detroit Tiger
Lends His Father's Name For A Good Cause


Managing Editor

tephen Greenberg
tells a story of a visit
his baseball team
made to Durham, N.C., for a
Carolina League game
against the Durham Bulls.
Playing in the Texas
Ranger organization, Mr.
Greenberg, the son of Tiger
baseball immortal Hank
Greenberg, was called over
for a conversation by two
country hayseed types.
"You Greenberg?" one of
them asked. Already Mr.
Greenberg was getting
ready to talk to yet another
person about his father's il-
lustrious career. But
perhaps, the biggest curve
ball that ever came his way
came from these two minor
league baseball followers.
"You Joey Greenberg's
nephew?" was the next
question. Mr. Greenberg
said he is still smiling over
that one because they didn't
seem to care that his father
was the Hall of Fame ball
player. They were more in-
terested in Hank's brother, a
career minor leaguer, be-
cause he was a former
Durham Bull.
On this Tuesday in May,
however, Mr. Greenberg,
Major League Baseball's
deputy commissioner and
chief operating officer, was
in the mood to talk about his
late father and the impact he
had on baseball. Mr. Green-
berg was at the Tam
O'Shanter Country Club in
West Bloomfield as honorary
chairman of the inaugural
Hank Greenberg Memorial
Golf & Tennis Invitational,
scheduled for June 3. The
event, which is a project of
the Michigan Jewish Sports
Hall of Fame, will benefit
the Hank Greenberg


Jonas Chairs
Reform Dinner

James Johas has been ap-
pointed chairperson for the
Fund for Reform Judaism din-
ner June 6 at Temple Beth El.
The dinner will honor mem-
bers from The Metropolitan
Detroit Federation of Reform
The MDFRS consists of
Temple Beth El, Temple
Emanu-El, Temple Beth
Isaac, Temple Beth Jacob,
Temple Israel, Temple Kol
Ami, Temple Shir Shalom
and Congregation Shir

Memorial Cancer Fund at
Sinai Hospital.
This is the first event that
the Greenberg family has
agreed to lend their name to,
according to Mr. Greenberg.
"There's been enough time
since my dad passed away,"
said Steve Greenberg.
"What's happening here . in
his name is wonderful. My
father had a rich and
wonderful history here in
Hank Greenberg's career
ended before his son could
see him play. But Steve
Greenberg, 42, said that he
has Detroit area friends for
whom the legends of Hank
Greenberg are practically
bedtime stories of their

Mr. Greenberg added that
contemporary children and
even adult baseball fans still
make heroes of their favorite
players, even with the out-of-
sight salary demands the
modern-day players make.
He also said today's younger
fans tend to know a great
deal more of players during
his father's era than he
knew of players before his
dad played.
It is becoming rare for a
baseball star to spend most
of his career with one
baseball team. Indeed, his
father spent all but one year
of his 15-year career with
the Tigers. He retired in
1949 after a year with Pitt-
sburgh. Mr. Greenberg told
how at a recent Hall of Fame
induction ceremony, all
three honorees had played
for multiple teams, so there
was a question as to what
team hat each player would
wear at the ceremonies.
Stephen Greenberg's
baseball career involved a
three-year stint in AAA ball.
At his current position,
which he calls "Mr. Inside,"
Mr. Greenberg works strict-
ly on the business end of
baseball, dealing with issues
that include television
He said the recent sky-
high baseball salaries have
become a serious issue for
the fans. In the past, he said,
fans would tend to forget
about the off-season wheel-
ing and dealing once open-
ing day took their minds
from the business page back
to the sports page. He said in
addition to Major League
Baseball's awareness of fan
reaction to the salaries,
baseball is also concerned
about the financial viability

of teams in the smaller
"It's a big concern," he
said. "We can't afford to
have one or two teams out of
Mr. Greenberg said his
father not only did a great
deal for the game of
baseball, but also for
minorities playing baseball.
"My father was the first
Jew many people ever saw,"
he said. "So, when they see
this strong, big and physical
and intelligent man who was

able to hit the ball in some
cases better than they could,
there was less room for anti-
Semitism. That's not saying
it wasn't there. But my
father didn't run away from
About a half hour into his
conversation with The Jew-
ish News, two men came by
to introduce themselves.
They had the look of "Hey,
are you Greenberg?" on
their faces.
Only they weren't there to
talk about Uncle Joe. ❑

Steve Greenberg:
Lending the name for the first

Detroiters Rally To Aid
The Children Of Chernobyl


Special to the Jewish News


welve-year-old Sasha
Kitaichik remembers
the strong wind he felt
on the day of the explosion.
It came from nearby Cher-
Not long after, residents of
the area became ill.
Poisoned by the nuclear ex-
plosion, many residents in
Sasha's hometown, Ghomel,
were dying. Sasha's family
stayed indoors as often as
Today, Sasha lives in Kfar
Chabad in Israel. He is one
of numerous Jewish children
who survived Chernobyl,
children who are now fin-
ding assistance at Kfar
Chabad and through organ-
izations like the Children of
Chernobyl Michigan Region
The local Children of
Chernobyl chapter, founded
by West Bloomfield resident
Rae Sharfman., has organiz-
ed a number of fund-raising
programs to help Jewish
children affected by the
Chernobyl disaster. The
chapter is chaired by Miriam
Ferber and Barbara
Five- years after the
nuclear power plant explod-
ed at Chernobyl in the
Soviet Union, an official
government shroud of
secrecy still surrounds the
situation. Thousands of men,
women and children suffered
from diseases related to the
radiation fallout, most of
whom have had no medical
evaluation or treatment for
the past four years.
In the areas around Cher-
nobyl, where numerous Jew-
ish families live, residents

Sasha Kitaichik

David Firestein

continue to farm the con-
taminated soil and drink
contaminated water. In
Minsk alone, 7,000 children
are reported to have
leukemia. In Ghomel,
Sasha's birthplace, many
children have been diag-
nosed with leukemia, kidney

Chernobyl area to Israel. At
Kfar Chabad, they receive
housing, schooling, clothing
and medical treatment.
In addition to Sasha, one of
the children at Kfar Chabad
is David Firestein, a 12-year-
old from Odessa. He became
ill after eating contaminated
strawberries he purchased
just outside Chernobyl. He is
being treated at Hadassah
Hospital in Jerusalem,
though his condition is
Genya Plotkin, 9, of
Babroisk, also lives at Kfar
Chabad. After the Cher-
nobyl explosion, Genya
began suffering headaches
and constant upper
respiratory infections. His
father sent him for treat-
ment at Kfar Chabad. Now,
Genya waits for his parents
to join him in Israel.
For information about the
Children of Chernobyl Mich-
igan Region Chapter, con-
tact Rae Sharfman, 851-
6031. ❑

In Minsk alone,
7,000 children
have leukemia.

failure and respiratory
diseases, all related to radia-
tion poisoning.
Responding to the chil-
dren's plight, the Lubavit-
cher Rebbe, Rabbi
Menachem Mendel Schneer-
son, directed the estab-
lishment of the Chabad's
Children of Chernobyl, to
remove the Jewish youth
from the contaminated areas
and bring them to Kfar
Chabad in Israel.
To date, 340 children have
been airlifted from the



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