The second man to challenge Babe Ruth’s single season homerun record is the 63rd inductee into the Baseball Hall of Immortals.
Hank Greenberg played for 12 of his 13 years with the Detroit Tigers, initially as their first-baseman and then later switching to the outfield. In making the switch he would become the first player to win the MVP award at 2 different positions.
At the plate Greenberg was a mighty power hitter who also hit for average. A lifetime .313 hitter, he topped .330 four times.
But it was as a slugger that Greenberg would make his mark. In his shortened career (he lost 3 full seasons and parts of 2 others to military service), he belted 331 homeruns. In 1938 he challenged Babe Ruth’s single season record with 58 round-trippers. He might have broken the record had not opposing pitchers started walking him at a significantly higher rate as he came close (20.4% walk rate in Sep that year compared to 14.5% the next year).
Regardless, Greenberg was also a runs machine, driving in 100 or more of them in seven seasons, and scoring 100 or more in six. He would end his career with almost 1,300 RBIs and just over 1,000 runs scored.
His offensive production clearly make Hank Greenberg an Immortal.
For some background on what this is, check out the introduction post here.