Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

Overview
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. He played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 (1923–1939). Gehrig set several major league records. He holds the record for most career grand slam
Grand slam (baseball)
In the sport of baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners , thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge, in which a grand slam involves...

s (23). Gehrig is chiefly remembered for his prowess as a hitter, his consecutive games-played record and its subsequent longevity, and the pathos of his farewell from baseball at age 36, when he was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

.

Gehrig was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
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Encyclopedia
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

. He played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 (1923–1939). Gehrig set several major league records. He holds the record for most career grand slam
Grand slam (baseball)
In the sport of baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners , thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge, in which a grand slam involves...

s (23). Gehrig is chiefly remembered for his prowess as a hitter, his consecutive games-played record and its subsequent longevity, and the pathos of his farewell from baseball at age 36, when he was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

.

Gehrig was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. In 1969 he was voted the greatest first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

 of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association
Baseball Writers Association of America
The Baseball Writers' Association of America is a professional association for baseball journalists writing for daily newspapers, magazines and qualifying Web sites. The BBWAA was founded on October 14, 1908, to improve working conditions for sportswriters in the early part of the 20th century...

, and was the leading vote-getter on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century...

, chosen by fans in 1999.

A native of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, he played for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 until his career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

, now commonly known in the United States and Canada as Lou Gehrig's disease. Over a 15-season span from 1925 through 1939, he played in 2,130 consecutive games
MLB consecutive games played streaks
Listed below are the 15 longest consecutive games played streaks in Major League Baseball history. To compile such a streak, a player must appear in every game played by his team...

, the streak ending only when Gehrig became disabled by the fatal neuromuscular disease that claimed his life two years later. His streak, long considered one of baseball's few unbreakable records, stood for 56 years, until finally broken by Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Calvin Edwin "Cal" Ripken, Jr. , nicknamed "Iron Man", is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles ....

, of the Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League. One of the American League's eight charter franchises in 1901, it spent its first year as a major league...

 on September 6, 1995.

Gehrig accumulated 1,995 runs batted in (RBI)
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

 in 17 seasons, with a career batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

 of .340, on-base percentage of .447, and 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
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

 (though he did not play in the 1939 game, as he retired one week before it was held), and he won the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

's Most Valuable Player award in 1927 and 1936. He was also a Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

 winner in 1934, leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.

Early life


Gehrig was born in the Yorkville
Yorkville, Manhattan
Yorkville is a neighborhood in the greater Upper East Side, in the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. Yorkville's boundaries include: the East River on the east, 96th Street on the north, Third Avenue on the west and 72nd Street to the south. However, its southern boundary is a subject of...

 section of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, weighing almost 14 pounds (6.4 kg) at birth, the second child out of four to German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 immigrants
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

. His father Heinrich was a sheet metal worker
Metalworking
Metalworking is the process of working with metals to create individual parts, assemblies, or large scale structures. The term covers a wide range of work from large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry. It therefore includes a correspondingly wide range of skills,...

 by trade, but frequently unemployed due to alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

, and his mother Christina was a maid
Maid
A maidservant or in current usage housemaid or maid is a female employed in domestic service.-Description:Once part of an elaborate hierarchy in great houses, today a single maid may be the only domestic worker that upper and even middle-income households can afford, as was historically the case...

, the main breadwinner and disciplinarian in the family. His two sisters died from whooping cough and measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 at an early age. Young Gehrig helped his mother with her work, doing tasks such as folding laundry and picking up supplies from the local stores. In 1910, Gehrig lived with his parents at 2266 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. In 1920 the family resided at 2079 8th Avenue in Manhattan.


Gehrig first garnered national attention for his baseball ability while playing in a game at Cubs Park (now Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois, United States that has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales...

) on June 26, . Gehrig's New York School of Commerce team was playing a team from Chicago's Lane Tech High School
Lane Technical College Prep High School
Albert G. Lane Technical College Preparatory High School , is a public, four-year, magnet high school located on the north side of Chicago...

, in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 spectators. With his team winning 8–6 in the top of the ninth inning, Gehrig hit a grand slam completely out of the major league park, an unheard-of feat for a 17-year old.

Lou Gehrig attended PS 132 in the Washington Heights
Washington Heights, Manhattan
Washington Heights is a New York City neighborhood in the northern reaches of the borough of Manhattan. It is named for Fort Washington, a fortification constructed at the highest point on Manhattan island by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, to defend the area from the...

 section of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, then to Commerce High School, graduating in 1921. Gehrig then studied at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 for two years, although he did not graduate. While attending Columbia, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

 fraternity. Initially, Gehrig could not play intercollegiate baseball for the Columbia Lions
Columbia Lions
The Columbia University Lions are the collective athletic teams and their members from Columbia University, an Ivy League institution in New York City, United States. The current director of athletics is M...

 because he had played baseball for the minor-league Hartford Senators
Hartford Senators
The Hartford Senators were a minor league baseball team based in Hartford, Connecticut. They operated in the Connecticut League from 1902-1912, the Eastern Association from 1913-1914, the Eastern League from 1916-1932 and the Northeastern League in 1934. For the 1932 season they were affiliated...

 of the Eastern League in the summer before his freshman year. At the time, he was unaware that doing so jeopardized his eligibility to play any collegiate sport. However, Gehrig was ruled eligible to play on the Lions
Columbia Lions
The Columbia University Lions are the collective athletic teams and their members from Columbia University, an Ivy League institution in New York City, United States. The current director of athletics is M...

' football team and was a standout fullback. Later, he gained baseball eligibility and played on the Lions team.

On April 18, , the same day that Yankee Stadium opened for the first time and Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 inaugurated the new stadium with a home run, Columbia pitcher Gehrig struck out seventeen Williams College
Williams College
Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this...

 batters to set a team record; however, Columbia lost the game. Only a handful of collegians were at South Field that day, but more significant was the presence of Yankee scout Paul Krichell
Paul Krichell
Paul Bernard Krichell was a Major League Baseball catcher, best known for being the head scout for the New York Yankees for 37 years until his death...

, who had been trailing Gehrig for some time. It was not Gehrig’s pitching that particularly impressed him; rather, it was Gehrig’s powerful left-handed hitting. During the time Krichell had been observing the young Columbia ballplayer, Gehrig had hit some of the longest home runs ever seen on various Eastern campuses, including a 450 feet (137 m) home run on April 28 at Columbia's South Field which landed at 116th Street and Broadway. Within two months, Gehrig had signed a Yankee contract. Gehrig returned to minor-league Hartford to play parts of two seasons, 1923 and 1924, batting .344 and crashing 61 home runs in 193 games. (It was the only time Lou ever played any level of ball -- sandlot, high school, collegiate or pro -- for a non-New York City-based team.)

Major League career


Gehrig joined the New York Yankees midway through the 1923 season and made his debut on June 15, 1923, as a pinch hitter
Pinch hitter
In baseball, a pinch hitter is a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted at any time while the ball is dead ; the manager may use any player that has not yet entered the game as a substitute...

. In his first two seasons, he saw limited playing time, mostly as a pinch hitter — he played in only 23 games and was not on the Yankees' 1923 World Series
1923 World Series
In the 1923 World Series, the New York Yankees beat the New York Giants in six games. This would be the first of the Yankees' 27 World Series championships...

 roster. In 1925, he batted .295, with 20 home runs and 68 runs batted in (RBIs)
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

.

The 23-year-old Yankee first baseman's breakout season came in 1926, when he batted .313 with 47 doubles, an American League-leading 20 triples, 16 home runs, and 112 RBIs. In the 1926 World Series
1926 World Series
The 1926 World Series was the championship series of the 1926 Major League Baseball season, featuring the St. Louis Cardinals against the New York Yankees...

 against the St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

, Gehrig hit .348 with two doubles and 4 RBIs. The Cardinals won a seven-game series four games to three.

In 1927, Gehrig put up one of the greatest seasons by any batter in history, hitting .373, with 218 hits: 52 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, a then-record 175 runs batted in (surpassing teammate Babe Ruth's 171 six years earlier), and a .765 slugging percentage. His 117 extra-base hits that season are second all-time to Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

’s 119 extra-base hits in 1921 and his 447 total bases are third all-time, after Babe Ruth's 457 total bases in 1921 and Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby, Sr. , nicknamed "The Rajah", was an American baseball infielder, manager, and coach who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball . He played for the St. Louis Cardinals , New York Giants , Boston Braves , Chicago Cubs , and St. Louis Browns...

's 450 in 1922. Gehrig's production helped the 1927 Yankees to a 110–44 record, the AL pennant, and a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League, and are five-time World Series Champions...

 in the 1927 World Series
1927 World Series
In the 1927 World Series, the New York Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games. This was the first sweep of a National League team by an American League team....

. Although the AL recognized his season by naming him league MVP, it was overshadowed by Babe Ruth’s 60 home run season and the overall dominance of the 1927 Yankees, a team often cited as having the greatest lineup of all time — the famed Murderers' Row
Murderers' Row
Murderers’ Row was the nickname given to the New York Yankees baseball team of the late 1920s, in particular the first six hitters in the 1927 team lineup: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri....

.

Despite playing in the shadow of the larger-than-life Ruth for two-thirds of his career, Gehrig was one of the highest run producers in baseball history: he had 509 RBIs during a three-season stretch (1930–32). Only two other players, Jimmie Foxx
Jimmie Foxx
James Emory "Jimmie" Foxx , nicknamed "Double X" and "The Beast", was a right-handed American Major League Baseball first baseman and noted power hitter....

 with 507 and Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

 with 503, have surpassed 500 RBIs in any three seasons; their totals were non-consecutive. (Babe Ruth had 498.) Playing 14 complete seasons, Gehrig had 13 consecutive seasons with 100 or more RBIs (a major league record shared with Foxx until eclipsed in 2010 by Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez
Alexander Emmanuel "Alex" Rodriguez is an American professional baseball third baseman with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. Known popularly by his nickname A-Rod, he previously played shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.Rodriguez is considered one of the best...

). Gehrig had six seasons where he batted .350 or better (with a high of .379 in 1930), plus a seventh season at .349. He had seven seasons with 150 or more RBIs, 11 seasons with over 100 walks, eight seasons with 200 or more hits, and five seasons with more than 40 home runs. Gehrig led the American League in runs scored four times, home runs three times, and RBIs five times. His 184 RBIs in 1931 remain the American League record as of 2010 and rank second all-time to Hack Wilson
Hack Wilson
Lewis Robert "Hack" Wilson was an American professional baseball player who played 12 seasons with the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies...

's 191 RBIs in 1930. On the single-season RBI list, Gehrig ranks second, fifth (175), and sixth (174), with four additional seasons over 150 RBI. He also holds the baseball record for most seasons with 400 total bases or more, accomplishing this feat five times in his career. He batted fourth in the lineup to Ruth's third in the order, making it impractical to give up an intentional walk to Ruth.

During the 10 seasons (1925–1934) in which Gehrig and Ruth were both Yankees and played a majority of the games, Gehrig had more home runs than Ruth only once, in 1934, when he hit 49 compared to Ruth’s 22 (Ruth played 125 games that year). They tied at 46 in 1931. Ruth had 424 home runs compared to Gehrig’s 347. However, Gehrig outpaced Ruth in RBI, 1,436 to 1,316. Gehrig had a .343 batting average, compared to .338 for Ruth.

In 1932, Gehrig became the first player of the 20th century to hit four home runs in a game, accomplishing the feat on June 3 against the Philadelphia Athletics. He narrowly missed getting a fifth home run in the game when Athletics center fielder Al Simmons
Al Simmons
Aloysius Harry Simmons , born Aloisius Szymanski in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was an American baseball player. He played for two decades in the major leagues as an outfielder, and had his best years as a member of Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics during the 1930's...

 made a leaping catch of another fly ball at the center field fence. After the game, manager Joe McCarthy told him, "Well, Lou, nobody can take today away from you." On the same day, however, John McGraw
John McGraw
John McGraw may refer to:* John McGraw , , New York lumber tycoon, and one of the founding trustees of Cornell University* John McGraw , , Governor of Washington state from 1893–1897...

 announced his retirement after thirty years of managing the New York Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

. McGraw, not Gehrig, got the main headlines in the sports sections the next day. The following year, in September 1933, Gehrig married Eleanor Twitchell, the daughter of Chicago Parks Commissioner Frank Twitchell.

In a 1936 World Series
1936 World Series
The 1936 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the New York Giants, with the Yankees winning in six games to earn their fifth championship....

 cover story about Lou Gehrig and Carl Hubbell
Carl Hubbell
Carl Owen Hubbell was an American baseball player. He was a member of the New York Giants in the National League from 1928 to 1943, and remained on the Giants' payroll for the rest of his life, long after their move to San Francisco.Twice voted the National League's Most Valuable Player, Hubbell...

, Time proclaimed Gehrig "the game's No. 1 batsman", who "takes boyish pride in banging a baseball as far, and running around the bases as quickly, as possible".

2,130 consecutive games



On June 1, 1925, Gehrig entered the game as a pinch hitter
Pinch hitter
In baseball, a pinch hitter is a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted at any time while the ball is dead ; the manager may use any player that has not yet entered the game as a substitute...

, substituting for shortstop Paul "Pee Wee" Wanninger. The next day, June 2, Yankee manager Miller Huggins
Miller Huggins
Miller James Huggins , nicknamed "Mighty Mite", was a baseball player and manager. He managed the powerhouse New York Yankee teams of the 1920s and won six American League pennants and three World Series championships....

 started Gehrig in place of regular first baseman Wally Pipp
Wally Pipp
Walter Clement Pipp was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball, now best remembered as the man who lost his starting role to Lou Gehrig at the beginning of Gehrig's streak of 2,130 consecutive games....

. Pipp was in a slump, as were the Yankees as a team, so Huggins made several lineup changes to boost their performance. Fourteen years later, Gehrig had played 2,130 consecutive games. In a few instances, Gehrig managed to keep the streak intact through pinch hitting appearances and fortuitous timing; in others, the streak continued despite injuries. For example:
  • On April 23, 1933, an errant pitch by Washington Senators
    Minnesota Twins
    The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The team is named after the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 to 1981 and the...

     hurler, Earl Whitehill
    Earl Whitehill
    Earl Oliver Whitehill was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Detroit Tigers for the most significant portion of his career , and later with the Washington Senators , Cleveland Indians , and the Chicago Cubs...

    , struck Gehrig in the head. Although almost knocked unconscious, Gehrig recovered and remained in the game.
  • On June 14, 1933, Gehrig was ejected from a game, along with manager Joe McCarthy, but he had already been at bat, so he got credit for playing the game.
  • On July 13, 1934, Gehrig suffered a "lumbago attack" and had to be assisted off the field. In the next day's away game, he was listed in the lineup as "shortstop", batting lead-off. In his first and only plate appearance, he singled and was promptly replaced by a pinch runner
    Pinch runner
    A pinch runner is a baseball player substituted for the specific purpose of replacing a player on base. In the typical case, the pinch runner is faster or otherwise more skilled at base-running than the player for whom the pinch runner has been substituted...

     to rest his throbbing back, never taking the field. A&E
    A&E Network
    The A&E Network is a United States-based cable and satellite television network with headquarters in New York City and offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, London, Los Angeles and Stamford. A&E also airs in Canada and Latin America. Initially named the Arts & Entertainment Network, A&E launched...

    's Biography speculated that this illness, which he also described as "a cold in his back", might have been the first symptom of his debilitating disease.


In addition, X-rays taken late in his life disclosed that Gehrig had sustained several fractures during his playing career, although he remained in the lineup despite those previously undisclosed injuries. On the other hand, the streak was helped when Yankees general manager Ed Barrow
Ed Barrow
Edward Grant Barrow was an American manager and executive in Major League Baseball, primarily with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox...

 postponed a game as a rainout on a day when Gehrig was sick with the flu—even though it was not raining.

Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played stood until September 6, 1995, when Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League. One of the American League's eight charter franchises in 1901, it spent its first year as a major league...

 shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Calvin Edwin "Cal" Ripken, Jr. , nicknamed "Iron Man", is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles ....

 broke it.

Illness



Although his performance in the second half of the 1938 season
1938 New York Yankees season
The New York Yankees season was their 36th season. The team finished with a record of 99-53, winning their 10th pennant, finishing 9.5 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the 1938 World Series, they...

 was slightly better than in the first half, Gehrig reported physical changes at the midway point. At the end of that season, he said, "I tired mid-season. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get going again." Although his final 1938 statistics were above average (.295 batting average, 114 RBI, 170 hits, .523 slugging percentage, 689 plate appearances with only 75 strikeouts, and 29 home runs), they were significantly down from his 1937 season, in which he batted .351 and slugged .643. In the 1938 World Series, he had four hits in 14 at-bats, all singles.

When the Yankees began their 1939 spring training
Spring training
In Major League Baseball, spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives existing team players practice time prior to competitive play...

 in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of 2008, the population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau is 245,314, making St...

, it was clear that Gehrig no longer possessed his once-formidable power. Even Gehrig's base running was affected, and at one point he collapsed at Al Lang Field
Progress Energy Park
Progress Energy Park is a 7,227 seat baseball stadium located on the downtown waterfront of St. Petersburg, Florida, United States. It is named in honor of Al Lang, a former mayor of St. Petersburg who helped to bring professional baseball to the city...

, then the Yankees' spring training park. By the end of spring training, Gehrig had not hit a home run. Throughout his career, Gehrig was considered an excellent baserunner, but as the 1939 season got under way, his coordination and speed had deteriorated significantly.

By the end of April, his statistics were the worst of his career, with one RBI and a .143 batting average. Fans and the press openly speculated on Gehrig's abrupt decline. James Kahn, a reporter who wrote often about Gehrig, said in one article:

He was indeed meeting the ball, with only one strikeout in 28 at-bats; however, Joe McCarthy found himself resisting pressure from Yankee management to switch Gehrig to a part-time role. Things came to a head when Gehrig had to struggle to make a routine put-out at first base. The pitcher
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

, Johnny Murphy
Johnny Murphy
John Joseph Murphy was an All-Star American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who later became a front office executive in the game.-Formative relief pitcher:...

, had to wait for Gehrig to drag himself over to the bag so he could field the throw. Murphy said, "Nice play, Lou."

On April 30, Gehrig went hitless against the Washington Senators
1939 Washington Senators season
The Washington Senators won 65 games, lost 87, and finished in sixth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium.- Offseason :...

. Gehrig had just played his 2,130th consecutive major league game.

On May 2, the next game after a day off, Gehrig approached McCarthy before the game in Detroit
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

 against the Tigers
1939 Detroit Tigers season
The Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 84-70, 16 games behind the New York Yankees.- Notable transactions :...

 and said, "I'm benching myself, Joe," telling the Yankees' skipper that he was doing so "for the good of the team." McCarthy acquiesced, putting Ellsworth "Babe" Dahlgren
Babe Dahlgren
Ellsworth Tenney "Babe" Dahlgren was a Major League Baseball infielder from 1935 to 1946 for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates...

 in at first base, and also said that whenever Gehrig wanted to play again, the position was his. Gehrig himself took the lineup card out to the shocked umpires before the game, ending the fourteen-year streak. Before the game began, the Briggs Stadium announcer told the fans, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first time Lou Gehrig's name will not appear on the Yankee lineup in 2,130 consecutive games." The Detroit Tigers' fans gave Gehrig a standing ovation while he sat on the bench with tears in his eyes. A wire service photograph of Gehrig reclining against the dugout steps with a stoic expression appeared the next day in the nation's newspapers. Other than his retirement ceremony, it is the most-reproduced and best-remembered visual image of Gehrig.

Gehrig stayed with the Yankees as team captain for the rest of the season, but never played in a major league game again.

Diagnosis


As Lou Gehrig's debilitation became steadily worse (he stumbled over curbs, fumbled with the baseball, and even slipped and fell while running bases), his wife Eleanor called the famed Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice and medical research group specializing in treating difficult patients . Patients are referred to Mayo Clinic from across the U.S. and the world, and it is known for innovative and effective treatments. Mayo Clinic is known for being at the top of...

 in Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County. Located on both banks of the Zumbro River, The city has a population of 106,769 according to the 2010 United States Census, making it Minnesota's third-largest city and the largest outside of the...

. Her call was transferred to Charles William Mayo
Charles William Mayo
Charles William Mayo was an American surgeon, and a member of the board of governors of the Mayo Clinic beginning in 1933. He was the son of Mayo Clinic co-founder Charles Horace Mayo and Edith Mayo....

, who had been following Gehrig's career and his mysterious loss of strength. Mayo told Eleanor to bring Gehrig as soon as possible.

Eleanor and Gehrig flew to Rochester from Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, where the Yankees were playing at the time, arriving at the Mayo Clinic on June 13, 1939. After six days of extensive testing at Mayo Clinic, the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

 (ALS) was confirmed on June 19, Gehrig's 36th birthday. The prognosis
Prognosis
Prognosis is a medical term to describe the likely outcome of an illness.When applied to large statistical populations, prognostic estimates can be very accurate: for example the statement "45% of patients with severe septic shock will die within 28 days" can be made with some confidence, because...

 was grim: rapidly increasing paralysis, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, and a life expectancy of less than three years, although there would be no impairment of mental functions. Eleanor Gehrig was told that the cause of ALS was unknown but it was painless, non-contagious and cruel — the motor function of the central nervous system is destroyed but the mind remains fully aware to the end.

At Eleanor's request, the Mayo doctors intentionally withheld his grim prognosis from Gehrig. He often wrote letters to Eleanor, and in one such note written shortly afterwards, said (in part):

Following Gehrig's visit to the Mayo Clinic, he briefly rejoined the Yankees in Washington, D.C. As his train pulled into Union Station, he was greeted by a group of Boy Scout
Boy Scout
A Scout is a boy or a girl, usually 11 to 18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and development span, many Scouting associations have split this age group into a junior and a senior section...

s, happily waving and wishing him luck. Gehrig waved back, but he leaned forward to his companion, a reporter, and said, "They're wishing me luck — and I'm dying."

"The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth"




On June 21, the New York Yankees announced Gehrig's retirement and proclaimed July 4, , "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
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

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
United States Postmaster General
The United States Postmaster General is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service. The office, in one form or another, is older than both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence...

 James Farley
James Farley
James Aloysius Farley was the first Irish Catholic politician in American history to achieve success on a national level, serving as Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as Postmaster General simultaneously under the first two...

 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
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 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
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

.

After the presentations and remarks by Babe Ruth, Gehrig addressed the crowd:



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
I Love You Truly
I Love You Truly, written by Carrie Jacobs Bond, is a parlor song. The song has been used at weddings since its release. It was the first song written by a woman to sell one million copies of sheet music...

" 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 to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

 in a special election by the Baseball Writers Association
Baseball Writers Association of America
The Baseball Writers' Association of America is a professional association for baseball journalists writing for daily newspapers, magazines and qualifying Web sites. The BBWAA was founded on October 14, 1908, to improve working conditions for sportswriters in the early part of the 20th century...

. At age 36, he was the second youngest player to be so honored (behind Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax
Sanford "Sandy" Koufax is a former left-handed baseball pitcher who played his entire 12-year Major League Baseball career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers...

).

Final years


"Don't think I am depressed or pessimistic about my condition at present," Lou Gehrig wrote following his retirement from baseball. Struggling against his ever-worsening physical condition, he added, "I intend to hold on as long as possible and then if the inevitable comes, I will accept it philosophically and hope for the best. That's all we can do."

In October 1939, he accepted Mayor LaGuardia's appointment to a ten-year term as a New York City Parole Commissioner and was sworn into office on January 2, 1940. The Parole Commission commended the ex-ballplayer for his "firm belief in parole, properly administered", stating that Gehrig "indicated he accepted the parole post because it represented an opportunity for public service. He had rejected other job offers – including lucrative speaking and guest appearance opportunities – worth far more financially than the $5,700 a year commissionership." Gehrig visited New York City's correctional facilities, but insisted that the visits not be covered by news media. Gehrig, as always, quietly and efficiently performed his duties. He was often helped by his wife Eleanor, who would guide his hand when he had to sign official documents. About a month before his death, when Gehrig reached the point where his deteriorating physical condition made it impossible for him to continue in the job, he quietly resigned.

On June 2, 1941, at 10:10 p.m., sixteen years to the day after he replaced Wally Pipp at first base and two years after his retirement from baseball, Lou Gehrig died at his home in the Riverdale
Riverdale, Bronx
Riverdale is an affluent residential neighborhood in the northwest portion of the Bronx in New York City. Riverdale contains the northernmost point in New York City.-History:...

 section of the Bronx
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

.

Upon hearing the news, Babe Ruth and his wife Claire went to the Gehrig house to console Eleanor. Mayor LaGuardia ordered flags in New York to be flown at half-staff
Half-staff
Half-staff is the American term for to describe a flag flying a flag below the summit of the flagpole . The rest of the English-speaking world uses the term half-mast. Technically the flag should be flown one breadth lower to allow for the invisible flag of death...

, and Major League ballparks around the nation did likewise.

Following the funeral at Christ Episcopal Church of Riverdale, Gehrig's remains were cremated and interred on June 4 at Kensico Cemetery
Kensico Cemetery
Kensico Cemetery, located in Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, was founded in 1889, when many New York City cemeteries were becoming full, and rural cemeteries were being created near the railroads which served the city...

 in Valhalla, New York
Valhalla, New York
Valhalla is an unincorporated hamlet and census-designated place that is located within the town of Mount Pleasant, New York, in Westchester County. Its population was 3,162 at the 2010 U.S. Census...

. Lou Gehrig and Ed Barrow are both interred in the same section of Kensico Cemetery, which is next door to Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Gate of Heaven Cemetery
The Gate of Heaven Cemetery, approximately 25 miles north of New York City, was established in 1917 at 10 West Stevens Ave. in Hawthorne, Westchester County, New York, United States, as a Roman Catholic burial site...

, where the graves of Babe Ruth and Billy Martin
Billy Martin
Alfred Manuel "Billy" Martin, Jr. was an American Major League Baseball second baseman and manager. He is best known as the manager of the New York Yankees, a position he held five different times...

 are located.
Eleanor Gehrig never remarried following her husband's death, dedicating the rest of her life to supporting ALS research. She died on March 6, 1984, on her 80th birthday. They had no children.

The Yankees dedicated a monument to Gehrig in center field at Yankee Stadium on July 6, , the shrine lauding him as, "A man, a gentleman and a great ballplayer whose amazing record of 2,130 consecutive games should stand for all time." Gehrig's monument joined the one placed there in 1932 to Miller Huggins, which would eventually be followed by Babe Ruth's in 1949.

Gehrig's birthplace in Manhattan, at 1994 Second Avenue (near E. 103rd Street), is memorialized with a plaque marking the site, as is another early residence on E. 94th Street (near Second Avenue). The Gehrigs' white house at 5204 Delafield Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, where Lou Gehrig died, still stands today on the east side of the Henry Hudson Parkway and is likewise marked by a plaque.

Records, awards, and accomplishments


Sixty years after his farewell to baseball, Gehrig received the most votes of any baseball player on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century...

, chosen by fan balloting in 1999.

Records


MLB Records
Accomplishment Record Refs
Career
Most grand slams
Grand slam (baseball)
In the sport of baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners , thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge, in which a grand slam involves...

23
Most consecutive seasons with 120+ RBIs 8 (1927–1934)
Most runs batted in
Run batted in
Runs batted in or RBIs is a statistic used in baseball and softball to credit a batter when the outcome of his at-bat results in a run being scored, except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play. The first team to track RBI was the Buffalo Bisons.Common nicknames for an RBI...

 (RBI) by a first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

1,995
Most runs scored by a first baseman 1,888
Highest on-base percentage by a first baseman .447
Most walks
Base on balls
A base on balls is credited to a batter and against a pitcher in baseball statistics when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls. It is better known as a walk. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08...

 by a first baseman
1,508
Highest slugging percentage by a first baseman .632
Most extra base hits by a first baseman 1,190
Single–season
Most runs batted-in by a first baseman 184 (1931)
Most runs scored by a first baseman 167 (1936)
Highest slugging percentage by a first baseman .765 (1927)
Extra-base hits by a first baseman 117 (1927)
Most total bases by a first baseman 447 (1927)
Single–game
Most home runsThe record is held with 14 other players
MLB hitters with four home runs in one game
Writers of Sporting News described hitting four home runs in a single Major League Baseball game as "baseball's greatest single-game accomplishment". Fifteen players have accomplished the feat to date. No player has done this more than once in his career and no player has ever hit more than four...

4


Awards and honors

Award/Honor # of Times Dates Refs
American League All-Star
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers...

7 1933–1939
American League MVP 2 1927, 1936
The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award was created by the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity in honor of the former Major League Baseball player Lou Gehrig, who was a member of the fraternity at Columbia University. It is given to players who best exemplify his character and integrity both on and off the field...

1955–present
Named starting first baseman on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century...

1999
Inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

1939
World Series champion 6 1927
1927 World Series
In the 1927 World Series, the New York Yankees swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in four games. This was the first sweep of a National League team by an American League team....

, 1928
1928 World Series
In the 1928 World Series, the New York Yankees swept the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. Along with , this was the first time a team had swept consecutive Series....

, 1932
1932 World Series
The 1932 World Series was played between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs , with the Yankees holding home field advantage. The Yankees swept the Cubs, four games to none...

, 1936
1936 World Series
The 1936 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the New York Giants, with the Yankees winning in six games to earn their fifth championship....

, 1937
1937 World Series
The 1937 World Series featured the defending champion New York Yankees and the New York Giants in a rematch of the 1936 Series. The Yankees won the Series in five games for their second championship in a row and their sixth in fifteen years. It also broke a tie that they had reached in 1936, with...

, 1938
1938 World Series
The 1938 World Series matched the two-time defending champion New York Yankees against the Chicago Cubs, with the Yankees sweeping the Series in four games for their seventh championship and record third straight .Dizzy Dean, who had helped carry the Cubs to the National League pennant despite a...


Other accomplishments

Other distinctions
Accomplishment Year
Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

 (.363 BA, 49 HR, 165 RBI)
1934
Only player in history to collect 400 total bases in five seasons 1927, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1936
With Stan Musial
Stan Musial
Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial is a retired professional baseball player who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals . Nicknamed "Stan the Man", Musial was a record 24-time All-Star selection , and is widely considered to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball...

, one of two players to collect at least 500 doubles, 150 triples, and 400 home runs in a career
One of only six players (Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

, Jimmie Foxx
Jimmie Foxx
James Emory "Jimmie" Foxx , nicknamed "Double X" and "The Beast", was a right-handed American Major League Baseball first baseman and noted power hitter....

, Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio , nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak , a record that still stands...

, Stan Musial
Stan Musial
Stanley Frank "Stan" Musial is a retired professional baseball player who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals . Nicknamed "Stan the Man", Musial was a record 24-time All-Star selection , and is widely considered to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball...

, and Ted Williams
Ted Williams
Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

 were the others) to end their career with a minimum .320 batting average, 350 home runs, and 1,500 RBI
With Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols
José Alberto Pujols Alcántara , better known as Albert Pujols , is a Dominican-American professional baseball player, who is currently a free agent...

, one of two players to hit 40 doubles and 40 home runs in the same season three separate times
1927, 1930, 1934
Scored game-winning run in 8 World Series games
First athlete ever to appear on a box of Wheaties
Wheaties
Wheaties is a brand of General Mills breakfast cereal. It is well known for featuring prominent athletes on the exterior of the package, and has become a major cultural icon...

First baseball player to have his uniform number retired (January 6, 1940); his July 4, 1939, farewell speech was voted by fans as the fifth-greatest moment in Major League Baseball history in 2002 July 4, 1939
A Lou Gehrig 25-cent postage stamp was issued by the U.S. Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 on the 50th anniversary of his retirement from baseball, depicting him both in profile and at bat (Scott number 2417)
1989
On the 70th anniversary of his farewell address in Yankee Stadium, MLB dedicated a day of remembrance to him and to the awareness of ALS amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

July 4, 2009
Gehrig was mentioned in the poem "Line-Up for Yesterday
Line-Up for Yesterday
Line-Up for Yesterday: An ABC of Baseball Immortals is a poem written by Ogden Nash for the January 1949 issue of SPORT Magazine. In the poem, Nash dedicates each letter of the alphabet to an iconic Major League Baseball player...

" by Ogden Nash
Ogden Nash
Frederic Ogden Nash was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, the New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry".-Early life:Nash was born in Rye, New York...

:
align="center" |


Film and other media


Lou Gehrig starred in the 1938 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 movie Rawhide
Rawhide (1938 film)
Rawhide is a 1938 western film starring Lou Gehrig and made by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. The movie was directed by Ray Taylor and produced by Sol Lesser from a screenplay by Jack Natteford and Daniel Jarrett. The cinematography was by Allen Q. Thompson...

 playing himself in his only feature film appearance. In 2006, researchers presented a paper to the American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Neurology
The American Academy of Neurology is a professional society for neurologists and neuroscientists. As a medical specialty society it was established in 1949 by A.B. Baker of the University of Minnesota to advance the art and science of neurology, and thereby promote the best possible care for...

, reporting on an analysis of Rawhide and photographs of Lou Gehrig from the 1937–1939 period, to ascertain when Gehrig began to show visible symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

. They concluded that while atrophy of hand muscles could be detected in 1939 photographs of Gehrig, no such abnormality was visible at the time Rawhide was made in January 1938. "Examination of Rawhide showed that Gehrig functioned normally in January 1938", the report concluded.

In 1942
1942 in film
The year 1942 in film involved some significant events, in particular the release of a film consistently rated as one of the greatest of all time, Casablanca.-Events:...

, the life of Lou Gehrig was portrayed in the movie The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 American film directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, and Walter Brennan. The film is a tribute to the legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, who died only one year before the film's release, at age 37, from amyotrophic lateral...

, starring Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
Frank James Cooper, known professionally as Gary Cooper, was an American film actor. He was renowned for his quiet, understated acting style and his stoic, but at times intense screen persona, which was particularly well suited to the many Westerns he made...

 as Gehrig and Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright
Teresa Wright was an American actress. She received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1942 for her performance in Mrs. Miniver. That same year, she received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for her performance in Pride of the Yankees opposite Gary Cooper...

 as his wife Eleanor. It received 11 Academy Award nominations and won in one category, Film Editing
Academy Award for Film Editing
The Academy Award for Film Editing is one of the annual awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nominations for this award are closely correlated with the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since 1981, every film selected as Best Picture has also been nominated for the Film Editing...

. Real-life Yankees Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel
Bob Meusel
Robert William "Bob" Meusel was an American baseball left and right fielder who played in Major League Baseball for eleven seasons from 1920 through 1930, all but the last for the New York Yankees...

, Mark Koenig
Mark Koenig
Mark Anthony Koenig was an American shortstop in Major League Baseball. He played for 12 seasons from 1925–1936. He was the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees 1927 Murderers' Row team, and was the last surviving member of that legendary team...

 and Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey
William Malcolm Dickey was a Major League Baseball catcher and manager.He played his entire 19-year baseball career with the New York Yankees . During Dickey's playing career, the Yankees went to the World Series nine times, winning eight championships...

 (then still an active player) played themselves, as did sportscaster Bill Stern
Bill Stern
Bill Stern was a U.S. actor and sportscaster who announced the nation's first remote sports broadcast and the first telecast of a Major League Baseball game. In 1984, Stern was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame’s inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Red...

.

Later, in 1978, a TV movie, A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story was released, starring Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner
Blythe Katherine Danner is an American actress. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.-Early life:...

 and Edward Herrmann
Edward Herrmann
Edward Kirk Herrmann is a U.S. television and film actor. He is best known for his Emmy-nominated portrayals of Franklin D...

 as Eleanor and Lou Gehrig, respectively. It was based on the 1976 autobiography My Luke and I, written by Eleanor Gehrig and Joseph Durso.

In an episode of the PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 series Jean Shepherd's America, the Chicago-born Shepherd
Jean Shepherd
Jean Parker Shepherd was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep....

 told of how he and his father (Jean Shepherd, Sr.) would watch Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

 games from the right field upper deck at Comiskey Park
Comiskey Park
Comiskey Park was the ballpark in which the Chicago White Sox played from 1910 to 1990. It was built by Charles Comiskey after a design by Zachary Taylor Davis, and was the site of four World Series and more than 6,000 major league games...

 in the 1930s. On one occasion, the Sox were playing the Yankees, and Shepherd Sr. had been taunting Gehrig, yelling at him all day. In the top of the ninth, with Sox icon Ted Lyons holding a slim lead, Gehrig came up with a man on base, and the senior Shepherd yelled in a voice that echoed around the ballpark, "Hit one up here, ya bum! I dare ya!" Gehrig did exactly that, hitting a screaming liner, practically into the heckler's lap, for the eventual game-winning home run. Shepherd's father was booed mercilessly, and he never again took junior Jean to a game. He apparently told this story originally when Gehrig's widow was in the audience at a speaking engagement.

See also




  • List of MLB players with
    • 100 triples
    • 400 doubles
    • 1000 RBIs
    • 1000 runs
    • 2,000 hits`
    • Batters with four home runs in one game
    • Hitting for the cycle
      Hitting for the cycle
      In baseball, hitting for the cycle is the accomplishment of one batter hitting a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game. Collecting the hits in that order is known as a "natural cycle". Cycles are uncommon in Major League Baseball , occurring 293 times since the first by Curry...

    • MLB consecutive games played streaks
      MLB consecutive games played streaks
      Listed below are the 15 longest consecutive games played streaks in Major League Baseball history. To compile such a streak, a player must appear in every game played by his team...

    • MLB titles leaders
      Major League Baseball titles leaders
      At the end of each Major League Baseball season, the league leaders of various statistical categories are announced. Leading the league in a particular category is referred to as a title....

    • Triple Crown


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