‘‘I was concerned more with the quality of my life than playing ball,’’ he said. ‘‘It was a tough time.’’
He married, started a health-supplement business and played in the independent Atlantic League. A recent online campaign known as ‘‘One At Bat’’ lobbied for Greenberg to get a second chance in the majors, and the Marlins last week offered him an opportunity to play in the next-to-last game of their season.
For seven years, Greenberg was one of only two players to be hit by a pitch in his lone big league appearance and never take the field. The other was Fred van Dusen with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955.
Van Dusen flew down from his home in Franklin, Tenn., to attend Tuesday’s game. He threw out the first pitch and joined the rest of the crowd applauding Greenberg’s comeback.
‘‘Life throws you curveballs,’’ Greenberg said. ‘‘Mine threw me a fastball at 92, and it hit me in the back of the head. I got up from it, and my life is great.’’