The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

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The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg 1937 cropped.jpg
Hank Greenberg, Hall of Famer and 2-time MVP.
Directed by Aviva Kempner
Produced by Aviva Kempner
Written by Aviva Kempner
Starring Reeve Robert Brenner
Walter Matthau
Alan M. Dershowitz
Release dates
  • 1998 (1998)
Country United States
Language English

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg is a 1998 documentary film directed, produced and written by Aviva Kempner about Hall of Fame first baseman Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers. A Jewish player who chose not to play on Yom Kippur in 1934 during a heated pennant race, Greenberg experienced a great deal of antisemitism. He nearly broke Babe Ruth's 60 home run record by hitting 58 home runs in 1938.

Like many players of the era, Greenberg's career was interrupted by military service. Initially, Greenberg was classified unfit for service due to flat feet. However, upon re-examination, he was cleared. Before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Congress released men over age 28. After the attack, Greenberg immediately reenlisted in the United States Army Air Forces.

In 1947, Hank Greenberg, as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and playing his final season, was one of the few ballplayers to give the Brooklyn Dodgers' Jackie Robinson, the majors' first black player in many years, a warm welcome. Robinson later said, "Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg".


Kempner states that the film took 13 years to make. "It was all about raising money for the rights to the archival and feature footage. That was so expensive that I had to stop and start about 20 times."[1]

Film credits[edit]

Produced by[edit]

Directed by[edit]

  • Aviva Kempner

Written by[edit]

  • Aviva Kempner

Cast overview[edit]


  • 2001 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards - "Best Feature Documentary"
  • 2001 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards - "Best Documentary" (tied with The Filth and the Fury (2000))
  • 2001 Columbus International Film & Video Festival - "Silver Chris Award - Religion"
  • 2001 Florida Film Critics Circle Awards - "Best Documentary"
  • 1998 Hamptons International Film Festival - "Audience Award for Most Popular Documentary (Aviva Kempner) tied with Red, White & Yellow (1998)"
  • 2001 Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards - "Best Documentary"
  • 2000 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards - "Sierra Award for Best Documentary"
  • 2000 National Board of Review, USA - "Best Documentary"
  • 2001 National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA - "Best Documentary"
  • 2000 New York Film Critics Circle Awards - "Best Non-Fiction Film"
  • 2001 Peabody Award
  • 1999 Washington Jewish Film Festival - "Audience Award for Documentary (Aviva Kempner)"

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]



External links[edit]