ALS Awareness Month Profile: Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig was an American baseball player who was nicknamed “The Iron Horse” as a result of his hitting prowess, and played his entire 17 season baseball career as a first baseman for the New York Yankees. Of his many accomplishments, he was an All-Star seven times in a row, a one-time Triple Crown winner, a two time American League (AL) Most Valuable Player, and a member of six World Series champion teams. He had a career .340 batting average, .632 slugging average, and a .447 on base average and hit 493 home runs and had 1,995 runs batted in (RBI).

In 1939, Lou Gehrig was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also the first MLB player to ever have his uniform number (4) retired by a team. On May 2, 1939, Lou Gehrig shocked baseball fans all over the world with his announcement to take himself out of the lineup and retire later that year from Major League Baseball as a result of his diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease in North America.

Lou Gehrig’s famous “Luckiest Man On the Face of The World” speech was delivered on July 4, 1939 to a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium. It is now referred to as “Baseball’s Gettysburg Address”.

Lou Gehrig passed away from ALS on June 2, 1941 at his home in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx. Babe Ruth and his wife, Claire, went to the home to console Gehrig’s wife, Eleanor. On July 6, 1941, the Yankees dedicated a monument to Lou Gehrig in the center field of Yankee Stadium, referring to him as “A man, a gentleman and a great ballplayer whose amazing record of 2,130 consecutive games should stand for all time.”

To learn about Lou Gehrig and his legacy, visit his website at www.lougehrig.com.

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