Hank Greenberg was the first Jewish baseball superstar in American professional sports during the 1930s and '40s. As first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the best power hitters of his generation. In 1938, he hit in 58 home runs, tying the record for the most home runs in one season by any player after 1927 As one of the first major superstars in Baseball, Greenberg endured a great deal of prejudice because of his Jewish background. The anti-semitism Greenberg faced ranged from players staring at him because they had never before seen a Jew, to coarse racial epithets hurled at him. Greenberg sometimes retaliated against the ethnic attacks, once going into the Chicago White Sox clubhouse to challenge manager Jimmy Dykes, and at another time calling out the entire Yankee team. Despite the on-field hostilities, Jewish fans in Detroit took to Greenberg almost at once, offering him everything from free meals to free cars, all of which he refused.
A five-time All-Star selection and a two-time winner of the American League's Most Valuable Player award, Greenberg led the Tigers to their first World Series Championship in 1935. That same year, he led the league in RBIs (170) and total bases (389), In 1956, Greenberg became the first Jewish player elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 85% of the votes that year.