In the Bronx he excelled in high school sports.
A year after the big (six feet, four inches, 215 pounds) first baseman joined the Detroit Tigers, the team won its first American League championship in twenty-five years, with Greenberg leading the team in home runs and runs-batted-in.
Earlier, with the season nearing its end, Greenberg had faced a difficult decision. Would he play ball, or would he absent himself on the Jewish high holidays? He played on Rosh Hashanah, but not on Yom Kippur. A Detroit newspaper carried a headline in Hebrew on Yom Kippur that read, “Happy New Year, Hank!”
In 1935 the Tigers won again as league champions and Greenberg won the most valuable player award. A fractured wrist forced him to miss most of the 1936 season, but the next year he returned with a near record of 183 runs batted in. It was the third best effort of all time and only one run short of the American League record. The 1938 attack on Babe Ruth’s home run record missed its goal by two. but his total of 58 tied the best home run mark by a right-handed hitter. Shifted to the outfield in 1940, he won his second Most Valuable Player Award and the Tigers won another pennant.
Between 1941 and 1945 Greenberg served as a World War II captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps in India and China. He returned to the Tigers’ outfield in July 1945. He homered in his first game, and on the final day of the season won the pennant for Detroit with a ninth inning grand-slam home run. He played with the Tigers again in 1946. The following year he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he ended his playing career.
During Greenberg's stay with the Tigers the team won four pennants and two World Series. His career statistics show a 313 batting average, 331 home runs and 1,276 runs batted in, in 1,394 games. He was a four-time champion in home runs and runs batted in.
Greenberg served as a vice-president and general manager for the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox between 1948 and 1963. He left baseball of Wall Street.