Throwback Photo of the Day: Tigers legend Hank Greenberg had mad ups when he moved to LF
By the time Spring Training rolled around ahead of the 1940 season, Tigers first baseman Hank Greenberg was already a titan among men. He'd led the league in home runs in 1935 en route to the AL MVP Award. He led the Majors in RBIs that season, and again when he knocked in 184 in 1937.
Greenberg's Tigers had earned a World Series berth in 1934 and won the Fall Classic in '35. The Tigers had averaged more than 86 wins a season through the first seven years of Greenberg's career. In 1938, Greenberg fell just short of Babe Ruth's MLB record of 60 home runs in a season (he hit 58).
Expectations were rightfully high when the Tigers showed up in Lakeland, Fla., for Spring Training in 1940, but not as high as Greenberg was when he leaped for the above image. The Tigers were hoping that Greenberg would put those mad ups of his to use at his new position: Left field.
Greenberg had been asked to take a pay cut because he saw a bit of a drop-off in power the previous season. He countered their offer by asking for a raise if he could master his new position. Greenberg later received that bonus, won the 1940 AL MVP -- becoming the first player to win the award at two different positions -- and helped the Tigers win that season's American League pennant.