Whatever happened to Khalil Greene?


Normally at HBT we have a pretty set pattern of posts when it comes to non-superstar players toward the end of their careers: we have something about their last signing. Their last release/DFA/retirement/whatever. Then maybe a post about them trying to latch on one or two more times. Maybe playing in Asia or going back to the high minors. Sometimes an interview about how they’re enjoying retirement or how they got a coaching gig.

We didn’t have that pattern with Khalil Greene. I looked back at the HBT archives and realized we hadn’t written about him since early 2010, right after he signed with the Rangers. He never reported to spring training, however, and then the Rangers voided his contract. We knew for a while that he had suffered from social anxiety disorder which made the news while he played for St. Louis. That came back to haunt him again in the winter of 2010 and like that, he was out of baseball. No comebacks. No spring training invites. No stint in Japan.

And certainly no interview. Indeed, as this story from Rob Rains at the STL Sports Page reveals, Khalil Greene — who may have been one of the greatest college shortstops of all time, and who was, for about four years, one of the more valuable shortstops in the majors — has disappeared from the public eye altogether.

He maintains contact with one person from his baseball life — Tim Corbin, who was an assistant coach at Clemson when Greene played there and now coaches Vanderbilt — but no one else. But based on what his former teammates have to say about his time in the majors — that he always seemed to be struggle with the pressures of the game, to the point where he would physically hurt himself when he failed — it’s understandable that he has retreated from the game and the public eye. Everyone speaks fondly of Greene, but everyone seems to agree that he had things in his life that were more important to him than baseball.

While it’s a shame that Greene never truly fulfilled the immense promise he had back when he was 21 and was being compared favorably to Cal Ripken, it’s far better that Greene has, presumably, found happiness, contentment and solitude with his family in his private life that he never could find on a baseball diamond.