In a program titled “Hank Greenberg: Baseball Star, Jewish Hero, American Legend,” award-winning journalist John Rosengren will discuss Greenberg’s legacy at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the third-floor Woulfe Alumni Hall in the Anderson Student Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.
The program, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning in collaboration with St. Thomas' Department of Communication and Journalism. Rosengren will be interviewed about his new book, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes, by Rabbi David Wirtschafter, the Jay Phillips Center’s visiting scholar in Jewish studies.
According to Rosengren, “one man modeled assimilation for a generation of Jews struggling to find their way in the New World: Hank Greenberg.” The Hall of Fame ballplayer with the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s “transformed the way Gentiles viewed Jews and the way Jews saw themselves.”
“Greenberg stood tall as a beacon of hope for Jews and, ultimately, became a hero to all Americans,” Rosengren said.
Speaking about Greenberg’s return to baseball after World War II, Rosengren said: “He was everything America imagined in a hero: the immigrant son who worked hard to become the national pastime’s most valuable player, the baseball star who set aside his personal interests to serve the nation in its time of war, and now [in 1945] the star who returned to fulfill his team’s dream in storybook fashion, giving Americans who wanted simply to resume normal life hope that anything is possible, that in this postwar era they could dare to dream the impossible dream.”
Rosengren is the author of seven books, including Blades of Glory: The True Story of a Young Team Bred to Win and Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid. His articles have appeared in more than 100 publications, including Sports Illustrated, Men's Journal, Reader's Digest, Runner's World, Utne Reader, U.S. Catholic and Saint John's Magazine.
After majoring in English at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Rosengren earned his master's degree in creative writing at Boston University, where he studied with Saul Bellow and Derek Walcott. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their two children.
The Jay Phillips Center is a collaborative enterprise of St. Thomas and St. John’s.