Longtime Detroit Tigers slugger Hank Greenberg, coming off of a season in Pittsburgh and time in spring camp with the Indians, makes a substantial financial investment in the Cleveland franchise and assumes the title and duties of second vice-president after a breakfast meeting in Los Angeles with team owner Bill Veeck.
Greenberg, who had gone to spring training with Cleveland in hopes of keeping his playing career alive, never again plays in the Majors. The move signals the beginning of a front office stretch for the longtime AL powerhouse.
“Hammering Hank” will work with the farm system as well. His $100,000 investment in the ball club made him the second largest stockholder of the organization. While noting a dramatic change in direction for his life in baseball, Greenberg left the door open to serve the Indians in any capacity needed.
“I don’t want the players to get the idea that I am going to beat anybody out of a job. I’m going to stay in condition and if they need me, I’ll play,” Greenberg was quoted in the March 28, 1948, edition of The Plain Dealer. “I would hate to tell you anything definite regarding my playing status at this time because I might change my mind tomorrow. All I can say is this, as long as I’m able I will help out on the field in some capacity, even if it’s collecting the balls during batting practice.
“I think the purpose of this club or of any club is to win the pennant. If my coaching will help, then I’ll do it.”
He will later work as the Indians’ general manager until 1957 and will hold the same title with the Chicago White Sox, again under Veeck, from 1959 to 1961.