Greenberg of ‘one and done’ fame to offer inspiration at MNO

Adam Greenberg was struck in the head by a fastball in his first Major League at bat. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The key to overcoming obstacles is setting a goal, says Adam Greenberg, a former major league baseball player and motivational speaker.

“No matter what’s going on, always persevere and always get up, because that’s why we were given the opportunity we have to live and have the life we have,” says Greenberg.

Greenberg, 36, dedicated his life to becoming a major league baseball player, and on July 7, 2005 he stepped up to the plate for the Chicago Cubs. During his debut at-bat, he was struck in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball, effectively ending his career in the majors.

He told the AJP the toughest part of his recovery was not having a true diagnosis. He was experiencing vertigo and visual impairment for two years following the incident, but he didn’t have any way to explain his setback to Cubs’ management or the media, he says.

But his goal to return to major league play kept him motivated, and setting personal or professional goals has been the crux of his motivational talks.

His personal setbacks pale in comparison to many other tragedies, he says, but “being able to have that platform to speak on my experiences is really special to me.”

Greenberg is the guest speaker for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s “Men’s Night Out” fundraising event on Thursday, April 20. The dinner and beer event will kick off at 6 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Admission is $36 plus a minimum pledge to the Federation Community Campaign of $180 for men aged 30+, $36 for men aged 30 or younger and $18 for students.

Greenberg’s love of baseball started with an obsession for the New York Yankees, during the team’s mediocre era with Don Mattingly hovering over first base, he says with a laugh. But after landing a spot on the Amateur Athletic Union baseball team at 13, and winning the national championship, Greenberg was hooked.

While he recovered from his initial injury, Greenberg spent time playing with some minor league clubs and independent farm teams between 2006-2011.

Cubs’ fans started an online petition, in 2012, to have Greenberg get an official major league contract. The Miami Marlins offered Greenberg a one-day contract for Oct. 2, 2012, which he took. He struck out at the bottom of the sixth inning, with the local crowd on their feet.

Although his love for the game hasn’t dissipated, Greenberg decided to walk away from baseball to pursue other passions. He officially retired in February 2014.

Invited to speak at various events, he offered a glimpse into his struggles and techniques to move forward, and realized he can give back on a larger scale.

“I started experiencing a different sense of satisfaction, when I would talk to people about what I was going through,” he says. “At the end of day, there’s no greater gift than being able to help somebody else.”

He got interested in alternative medicine after his injury, especially for pain relief. And in 2010, Greenberg co-founded Lurong Living, a line of nutritional products and supplemental vitamins designed to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Greenberg’s first book, “Get Up: The Art of Perseverance,” which recounts his personal recovery and goal-setting techniques, will be published in May.

He will also start an artist-in-residence program with the JCC in Chicago in May. The new initiative will partner with the JCC Maccabi Games, and launch multiple workshops such as self-esteem and goal setting classes for youth as well as health and wellness programs.

Ron Weintraub

The “Men’s Night Out” event will also include the presentation of the annual MENtor award to Ron Weintraub.

Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the JFSA, says Weintraub has been a central figure in the Jewish community, along with his wife, Diane, for several decades.

Twenty years ago, Ron and Diane founded the Weintraub Israel Center — and they have played a spirited role in nurturing its success, Mellan says.

“A past president of Temple Emanu-El, Weintraub has been an active and generous supporter of the Federation, serving as an officer and long-time board member,” says Mellan. “Weintraub is often looked to for guidance, as his input always reflects his level-headed and strategic approach, integrity and deep commitment to our community.”

For more information visit jfsa.org/mensnightout or contact Karen Graham at kgraham@jfsa.org or 577-9393, ext. 118.