By Deb Silverthorn
The Legacy Willow Bend has hit a home run in booking Frisco RoughRiders owner Chuck Greenberg as the next guest at its “Getting to Know You….” interview series. The community is invited as Legacy “Mayor” Bob Weinfeld will welcome Greenberg at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, at the Legacy’s Chapel.
“Chuck’s become a great friend to us, to the Jewish Federation and to our community in many ways,” said Weinfeld, who has interviewed close to 60 guests since he began leading the series. “He’s been the keynote at a number of Shalom League awards banquets, and I know we’re going to have a great afternoon. I hope the community will come out to meet him.”
A Pittsburgh native, Greenberg was introduced to baseball by his aunt Flo, Dr. Florence Marcus, whom he believes was the first Jewish nurse, then one of Pittsburgh’s first Jewish female doctors. She took him to his first Pirates game at Forbes Field — with the Pirates beating the Chicago Cubs, 3-2.
From that moment, he remembers wanting to read, see and know everything about baseball, and that memory has followed him throughout his life.
“That’s one of the best things about walking around the Dr Pepper Ballpark (The RoughRiders’ home) is seeing the families, with so many young kids that we know are in for their first experience,” Greenberg said. “It’s often a flashback for me, and I know it’s the best moment ever for those kids and their parents, too. I love the part we provide helping to make those memories.”
While he played his share of the game, in high school and then at Tufts University, Greenberg knew a pro career on the field wasn’t his to be. Wanting to find another avenue into a sports-affiliated career, he went to law school at the University of Michigan. Early in his career, he was fortunate to meet hockey player Mario Lemieux. The two became friends with Greenberg representing Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins great and later owner.
It was through that relationship that Greenberg’s career as a team owner came to fruition. He moved to the Metroplex in 2010 and served as managing partner and CEO of the Texas Rangers, the team reaching its first World Series during his tenure. In addition to his RoughRiders, he’s also managing partner of the Myrtle Beach (SC) Pelicans and State College (PA) Spikes, and he serves on the Minor League Baseball board of trustees.
Greenberg, who has welcomed Legacy residents to the Dr Pepper Ballpark for tours and conversation, looks forward to visiting with the community at their “home field.”
“I believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and I appreciate the ‘luck’ that I’ve enjoyed, and it’s fun to meet new people and to talk about my experiences,” he said. “That, and any time to share with Bob is an occasion to leap at and I appreciate the honor.”
“This is an amazing community, and the RoughRiders have been blessed to be a part of it as we start our 16th season. We take very seriously our role in making roughly three hours of memory-making the best around,” said Greenberg, looking forward to the 2018 season.
The son of Barbara and David, the brother of Joe and John, and father of Ben, Jack and Jeff, Greenberg says his parents were the best role models he could hope for. Raised with a strong sense of Jewish pride and identity, he celebrated his bar mitzvah and was confirmed at Pittsburgh’s Temple Emanuel, where he still returns to spend many of the holidays.
“Chuck’s a mensch of a guy,” said Weinfeld, who relishes the memory of being gifted a RoughRiders jersey by Greenberg and the chance to throw out the first pitch on the occasion of his 90th birthday almost two years ago. “I really think anyone who is a fan of great baseball, or a fan of great people, will get a lot out of our conversation.”