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As Adam Greenberg runs for office, look back at his first and only at-bat

Chicago Cubs rookie Adam Greenberg, center, being helped by Cubs trainers after being hit in the helmet by the first pitch he faced in the major leagues, from Florida Marlins relief pitcher Valerio Do Los Santos, in Miami. | Steve Mitchell/Associated Press

Adam Greenberg has come a long way since 2005 when he was an eager Cubs rookie that ended up with having one of the most memorable first at-bats ever.

Greenberg, now 37 and the chief executive of a health and nutrition company, is seeking the Republican endorsement to run for Connecticut’s 12th Senate District seat.

But 13 years ago, Greenberg — the Cubs ninth-round pick in 2002 — was just waiting for his major-league shot.

When Greenberg was called up by the Cubs in July 2005, he was determined to make a name for himself and prove that he deserves to stay in the majors.

With the Cubs leading the Marlins, 4-2, Cubs manager Dusty Baker called Greenberg’s name to bat in the top of the ninth inning. Greenberg grabbed his helmet as his teammates patted his back and wished him luck on his first major-league at-bat.

For Greenberg’s first pitch, Marlins relief pitcher Valerio Do Los Santos served up a 92-mile-an-hour fastball.

“You get three-tenths of a second,” Greenberg told the New York Times. “The first tenth I’m thinking don’t bail because if it’s a curve I look stupid, and it’s strike one. The second tenth I realized the ball wasn’t breaking. By the third tenth, my only thought was to get out of the way, and the only thing I could do was to turn into the catcher.”

The pitch smacked Greenberg under his helmet and he immediately collapsed into the dirt.

“It scared me to death,” Greenberg said. “My eyes rolled into the back of my head. I grabbed my head because I thought it was split open and that I would bleed out and die. I never lost consciousness. I said two words three times: ‘Stay alive, stay alive, stay alive.’

“Paul LoDuca looked down and said in a calming voice, ‘Stay down, you are going to be OK’ One of the questions the trainers asked me was, ‘Where were you two days ago?’ I said, ‘I was in the minors, and I’m not going back.'”

Florida Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca rushes over to check on Chicago Cubs rookie Adam Greenberg after Greenberg was hit in the helmet by the first pitch he faced in the major leagues, from Florida Marlins relief pitcher Valerio Do Los Santos during the ninth inning, July 9, 2005, in Miami. The Cubs won 8-2. | Steve Mitchell/Associated Press

Greenberg suffered a concussion and was ultimately sent back to the minors. He didn’t play baseball for the rest of the season and the Cubs ultimately released him the next season.

Chicago Cubs rookie Adam Greenberg, center, being helped by Cubs trainers after being hit in the helmet by the first pitch he faced in the major leagues, from Florida Marlins relief pitcher Valerio Do Los Santos, in Miami. | Steve Mitchell/Associated Press

Greenberg never got another chance to play for the Cubs, despite a fan’s failed attempt to campaign and bring him back in 2009.

But in 2012, Greenberg got a second swing at batting in the major leagues. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract, and let him play against the New York Mets. He ended up striking out against Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, who won a Cy Young Award that season.