L to R: Adam Schefter, Credit: Adam Schefter. Jamie Wittenberg, Credit: Wittenberg family
L to R: Adam Schefter, Credit: Adam Schefter. Jamie Wittenberg, Credit: Wittenberg family

Roger Clemens, Adam Schefter and the late 44th District Court Judge Jamie Wittenberg are this year’s award winners.

The award winners have been announced for the 32nd annual Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf, Tennis and Pickleball Invitational.

Seven-time Cy Young Award-winner Roger Clemens will receive the Hank Greenberg Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Dick Schaap Memorial Award for Media Excellence will go to Adam Schefter, senior NFL insider at ESPN.

The Barry Bremen Memorial Inspiration Award winner is the late 44th District Court Judge Jamie Wittenberg. The award will be accepted by Jamie’s younger brother Robert Wittenberg, a former three-term state representative who now serves as Oakland County treasurer.

The invitational will be held June 12 at Franklin Hills Country Club in Farmington Hills.

Don Rudick, executive director of the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation, which presents the invitational, said Steve Greenberg and Jeremy Schaap will be at the invitational to present the awards named for their fathers.

The excitement already is building for one of the top events on the Jewish sports calendar. Rudick said a save-the-date notice that went out in late February quickly resulted in a number of phone calls to him and the registration of two foursomes for golf.

Clemens, 60, played in the majors for 24 seasons, mostly with the Boston Red Sox (1984-96). He also was with the Toronto Blue Jays (1997-98), New York Yankees (1999-2003, 2007) and Houston Astros (2004-06).

Besides being a seven-time Cy Young Award recipient, he was an 11-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion (1999, 2000), the American League Most Valuable Player (1986), four-time Major League Baseball wins leader and seven-time MLB ERA leader.

He’s a co-holder of the MLB record of 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game (he did it twice) and he was voted to the MLB All-Century Team.

Allegations of steroid use — Clemens has denied the allegations — have hurt his chances of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He didn’t receive the necessary 75% of the votes required in any of his 10 years of eligibility, ending with 65.2% in 2022.

Clemens and his wife, Debra, have four sons — Koby, Kory, Kacy and Kody — who were given “K” names in honor of his strikeouts. Kody, an infielder-outfielder, played for the Detroit Tigers last season and now is with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Roger Clemens will join a long list of prominent baseball players who have received the Greenberg award.

Rudick would love to add former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter to the list because of Jeter’s Michigan roots.

Jeter moved to Kalamazoo when he was 4 and graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School, where he was a baseball standout. He received the Kalamazoo Area B’nai B’rith Scholar Athlete Award following his senior year.

“Unfortunately, Derek’s appearance fee is too much,” Rudick said.

Schefter, 56, who is Jewish, wrote for several newspapers and worked at the NFL Network before becoming ESPN’s preeminent NFL insider in 2009. He’s a 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan and a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Outside of sports, Schefter wrote a book — published in 2018 — about his wife Sharri’s first husband, Joe Maio, who died at the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. The book was titled, The Man I Never Met.

Schefter also is a movie star. He made a cameo appearance in the movie The Longest Yard, released in 2015.

Schefter was supposed to receive the Schapp award in 2020, but the Greenberg Invitational was canceled that year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MJS Foundation

Wittenberg, who was Jewish, died Nov. 20, 2022, at his Berkley home after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of  brain cancer. He was 48.

He fought the disease valiantly using a combination of traditional medicine, a keto diet and intermittent fasting, continuing to handle a full docket despite four surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.

At the time of his diagnosis, he was given 12-15 months to live.

He was a judge in the 44th District Court, which serves Berkley and Royal Oak, where he doubled the size of the sobriety court program and created a teen court that supported at-risk youth.

He was re-elected unanimously for a third term as a 44th District judge a few weeks before he died. Judge Derek Meinecke, chief judge of the 44th District Court, came to the Wittenberg home to perform the swearing-in ceremony.

In August, Wittenberg underwent brain surgery for the third time.

Among the survivors are his wife, Staci, and four daughters.

“He had a unique judicial style,” Rudick said. “He did his best to help the people before him get back on the right path.”

Wittenberg grew up in Huntington Woods and went to Berkley High School, where he was a wide receiver on the football team.

The Greenberg Invitational is a fundraiser for the Lawrence & Idell Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

For reservations and sponsorships, call Rudick at (248) 390-5981, email him at zeedon1@gmail.com, go to www.michiganjewishsports.org or check out the invitational’s Facebook page.

Send sports news to stevestein502004@yahoo.com.

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