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Welcome to the page for Lou Gehrig - "The Iron Horse"
Lou Gehrig with Bump Hadley
Photo Credit: Les Wolff
Did you know? Lou Gehrig pinch-hit for Pee Wee Wanninger a day before he started at first base in place of Wally Pipp and began his consecutive games played streak?
Other than just baseball pictures there are some candid photos of Lou Gehrig out on the field and some of him living his day to day life. These aren't the often scorned types of photos taken by paparazzi or snagged from surveillance systems, but of an amazing baseball player who's career and life ended too soon. Gehrig was and will always be an inspiration to baseball players and is someone who we can all look up to. Through careful surveillance it was noted that Gehrig's illness was inevitably fatal, but would be physically painless. The cause was unknown and there was no cure. With a disease that had effected his nervous systems ability to function he could no longer could play but could continue to have a positive impact on the world he lived in. His wife would continue to support ALS research for the remainder of her life as well. Enjoy these photographs of Lou in a celebration of his life and accomplishments!
Recently a handwritten letter was sold at auction by Goldin Auctions and sold for over $10,000. Below are images of the letter written by Lou Gehrig in 1927. Amazing artifact!
|Born: June 19, 1903(1903-06-19)
New York, New York
|Died: June 2, 1941 (aged 37)
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|June 15, 1923 for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 30, 1939 for the New York Yankees|
|Runs batted in||1,995|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), born Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig, was an American baseball player in the 1920s and 1930s, chiefly remembered for his prowess as a hitter and the longevity of his consecutive games played record, and the pathos of his tearful farewell from baseball at age 36, when he was stricken with a fatal disease. Popularly called "The Iron Horse" for his durability, Gehrig set several Major League records. His record for most career grand slams (23) still stands as of 2009. In 1969, Gehrig was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association. Gehrig was the leading vote-getter on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, chosen by fans in 1999.
A native of New York City, he played for the New York Yankees until his career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now commonly referred to in the United States as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Over a 15-season span between 1925 and 1939, he played in 2,130 consecutive games. The streak ended when Gehrig became disabled with the fatal neuromuscular disease that claimed his life two years later. His streak, long believed to be one of baseball's few unbreakable records, stood for 56 years until finally broken by Cal Ripken, Jr., of the Baltimore Orioles on September 6, 1995.
Gehrig accumulated 1,995 runs batted in (RBI) in seventeen seasons with a lifetime batting average of .340, a lifetime on-base percentage of .447, and a lifetime slugging percentage of .632. Three of the top six RBI seasons in baseball history belong to Gehrig. He was selected to each of the first seven All-Star games (though he did not play in the 1939 game, as he retired one week before it was held)), and he won the American League's Most Valuable Player award in 1927 and 1936. He was also a Triple Crown winner in 1934, leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.
On June 21, the New York Yankees announced Gehrig's retirement and proclaimed July 4, 1939, "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" at Yankee Stadium. Between games of the Independence Day doubleheader against the Washington Senators, the poignant ceremonies were held on the diamond. In its coverage the following day, The New York Times said it was "Perhaps as colorful and dramatic a pageant as ever was enacted on a baseball field [as] 61,808 fans thundered a hail and farewell". Dignitaries extolled the dying slugger and the members of the 1927 Yankees World Championship team, known as "Murderer's Row", attended the ceremonies. New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Gehrig "the greatest prototype of good sportsmanship and citizenship" and Postmaster General James Farley concluded his speech by predicting, "For generations to come, boys who play baseball will point with pride to your record."
Yankees Manager Joe McCarthy, struggling to control his emotions, then spoke of Lou Gehrig, with whom there was a close, almost father and son-like bond. After describing Gehrig as "the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known", McCarthy could stand it no longer. Turning tearfully to Gehrig, the manager said, "Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came into my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that."
The Yankees retired Gehrig's uniform number "4", making him the first player in Major League Baseball history to be accorded that honor. Gehrig was given many gifts, commemorative plaques, and trophies. Some came from VIPs; others came from the stadium's groundskeepers and janitorial staff. Footage of the ceremonies shows Gehrig being handed various gifts, and immediately setting them down on the ground, because he no longer had the arm strength to hold them. The Yankees gave him a silver trophy with their signatures engraved on it. Inscribed on the front was a special poem written by The New York Times writer John Kieran. The trophy cost only about $5, but it became one of Gehrig's most prized possessions. It is currently on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
After the presentations and remarks by Babe Ruth, Gehrig addressed the crowd:
|"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the
bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the
face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and
have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you
"Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.
"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift — that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body — it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that's the finest I know.
"So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you."
The crowd stood and applauded for almost two minutes. Gehrig was visibly shaken as he stepped away from the microphone, and wiped the tears away from his face with his handkerchief. Babe Ruth came over and hugged him as a band played "I Love You Truly" and the crowd chanted "We love you, Lou". The New York Times account the following day called it "one of the most touching scenes ever witnessed on a ball field", that made even hard-boiled reporters "swallow hard".
In December 1939, Lou Gehrig was elected unanimously to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in a special election by the Baseball Writers Association, waiving the waiting period normally required after a ballplayer's retirement. At age 36, he was the youngest player to be so honored.
The inscription on the trophy presented to Gehrig from his Yankees teammates:
"We've been to the wars together;
We took our foes as they came;
And always you were the leader,
And ever you played the game.
Idol of cheering millions,
Records are yours by sheaves;
Iron of frame they hailed you
Decked you with laurel leaves.
But higher than that we hold you,
We who have known you best;
Knowing the way you came through
Every human test.
Let this be a silent token
Of lasting Friendship's gleam,
And all that we've left unspoken;
Your Pals of the Yankees Team."