Tag Archives: Lou Gehrig

“The finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen…”

These are the words spoken by New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy on July 4, 1939.

New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig had announced his retirement from baseball on June 21st.  After almost 17 years in of play, increasing fatigue and lack of coordination had led his wife Eleanor to call the famed Mayo Clinic.  Six days of extensive testing led to the devastating diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  His rapidly increasing paralysis and difficulties with breathing and swallowing meant that the prognosis was dire.  Life expectancy was estimated at about three years.

The Yankees decided to honor the retiring player by declaring July 4, 1939 “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day”.  Between the games of their double-header against the Washington Senators, speeches, ceremonies, and awards extolled the virtues of one of baseball’s legendary players.  After all the presentations, remarks by dignitaries, and a speech by  teammate 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 fans.

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.

— Lou Gehrig at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939  After his remarks, the crowd gave a standing ovation and chanted “We love you, Lou” to the visibly emotional Gehrig.  He left his beloved game and took a public service post; declining more lucrative speaking and appearance jobs.  On June 2, 1941, less than 2 years after his diagnosis, Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig died at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York.  Gehrig’s number 4 was retired by the Yankees.  It was the first time that honor had ever been bestowed on a player.

How many of us could face the devastation of a life-changing diagnosis with such aplomb?  How many of us could look past our own struggles to see where we can touch the lives of others?  We could all be a little better if we were a little more like Lou.

lou-gehrig

Lost and Found – September 6th Edition

What to remember about September 6th…

  • 1757  French general and hero of the American Revolution Marquis de La Fayette is born
  • 1847  American author and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves in with Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • 1901  President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Boston; he dies September 14th from infection
  • 1972  9 more Israeli athletes and a German police officer are murdered by Palestinian terrorists as the Munich Olympic hostage taking ends
  • 1976  Soviet air force pilot Lt. Viktor Belenko lands a MiG-25 jet fighter at Hakodate, Japan to defect to the U.S.
  • 1995  Cal Ripken played his 2,131st consecutive professional baseball game beating the record previously held by Lou Gehrig
  • 1997  Billions watch the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; Sir Elton John performs “Candle in the Wind”

Lost and Found – July 4th Edition

What to remember about July 4th…

  • 1776  In Philadelphia, the Continental Congress formally adopts the Declaration of Independence
  • 1826 – Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die today
  • 1831 – President James Monroe dies in New York, New York
  • 1863 – Vicksburg surrenders to Union General Ulysses S. Grant
  • 1872  Future 30th President Calvin Coolidge is born in Vermont
  • 1917 – U.S. troops march through Paris; ending at Lafayette’s tomb
  • 1939 – Lou Gehrig number “4” is retired by the New York Yankees
  • 1976 – Israeli troops rescue 248 passengers from Palestinian terrorists in “Raid on Entebbe” ; Operation Thunderbolt
  •  1997 – Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars carrying the Sojourner rover
  • 2009 – Crown of Statue of Liberty re-opened to visitors; the iconic symbol of New York had been closed since 2001

Lost and Found – June 21st Edition

What to remember about June 21st…

  • 1788  U.S. Constitution ratified by New Hampshire meaning that enough states had done so for it to go into effect (see article VII); New Hampshire admitted to the Union as 9th State
  • 1810  Future 12th President of the United States Zachary Taylor marries Margaret Smith in Kentucky
  • 1913  Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick becomes 1st woman to parachute from an airplane; later became 1st ever free-fall parachutist
  • 1939  Lou Gehrig retires from New York Yankees because of illness
  • 1940  Future 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon marries Pat Ryan in Riverside, California
  • 1942  Allied forces surrender at Tobruk, Libya
  • 1942  Japanese submarine I-25 shells Ft. Stevens in Oregon
  • 1965  Ku Klux Klan lynch mob kills 3 civil rights workers registering black voters in Meridian, Mississippi; Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman
  • 1982 John Hinckley, Jr. found not guilty by reason of insanity in trial for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan
  • 1989  SCOTUS rules that burning the American flag is protected by the First amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • 2004  SpaceShipOne makes 1st privately funded human spaceflight and wins the Ansari X Prize; Pilot Mike Melvill becomes 1st non-government astronaut in history
  • 2005 Edgar Ray Killen convicted of the 1965 murders of  Schwermer, Goodman, and Chaney

“The finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen…”

These are the words spoken by New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy on July 4, 1939.

New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig had announced his retirement from baseball on June 21st.  After almost 17 years in of play, increasing fatigue and lack of coordination had led his wife Eleanor to call the famed Mayo Clinic.  Six days of extensive testing led to the devastating diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  His rapidly increasing paralysis and difficulties with breathing and swallowing meant that the prognosis was dire.  Life expectancy was estimated at about three years.

The Yankees decided to honor the retiring player by declaring July 4, 1939 “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day”.  Between the games of their double-header against the Washington Senators, speeches, ceremonies, and awards extolled the virtues of one of baseball’s legendary players.  After all the presentations, remarks by dignitaries, and a speech by  teammate 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 fans.

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.

— Lou Gehrig at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939After his remarks, the crowd gave a standing ovation and chanted “We love you, Lou” to the visibly emotional Gehrig.  He left his beloved game and took a public service post; declining more lucrative speaking and appearance jobs.  On June 2, 1941, less than 2 years after his diagnosis, Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig died at his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York.  Gehrig’s number 4 was retired by the Yankees.  It was the first time that honor had ever been bestowed on a player.

How many of us could face the devastation of a life-changing diagnosis with such aplomb?  How many of us could look past our own struggles to see where we can touch the lives of others?  We could all be a little better if we were a little more like Lou.

Lost and Found – April 30th Edition

What to remember about April 30th…

  • 1789  George Washington is inaugurated as 1st President of the United states in ceremony in New York City
  • 1803  Treaty formalizing Louisiana Purchase is signed; 828,000 square miles acquired for less than 3 cents per acre
  • 1812  Louisiana is admitted as the 18th state in the union
  • 1927  1st federal prison for women opens in Alderson, West Virginia
  • 1938  American science fiction author Larry Niven is born
  • 1939  New York Yankees 1st baseman Lou Gehrig plays his final Major League Baseball game
  • 1945  In fortified bunker under Berlin, Adolf Hitler and his new bride Eva Braun commit suicide as Allied forces close in
  • 1948  Organization of American States is formed when U.S. and 20 other nations sign agreement to resist communist expansion in the Americas
  • 1956  Former 35th Vice President of the United States Alben William Barkley dies during a speech after stating “I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty.” (b. 1877)
  • 1961  Soviet Union commissions the K-19; their 1st nuclear submarine equipped with nuclear missiles
  • 1975  South Vietnam surrenders as communist forces take capital of Saigon
  • 2009  Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Lost and Found – September 6th Edition

What to remember about September 6th…

  • 1757  French general and hero of the American Revolution Marquis de La Fayette is born
  • 1847  American author and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves in with Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • 1901  President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Boston; he dies September 14th from infection
  • 1972  9 more Israeli athletes and a German police officer are murdered by Palestinian terrorists as the Munich Olympic hostage taking ends
  • 1976  Soviet air force pilot Lt. Viktor Belenko lands a MiG-25 jet fighter at Hakodate, Japan to defect to the U.S.
  • 1995  Cal Ripken played his 2,131st consecutive professional baseball game beating the record previously held by Lou Gehrig
  • 1997  Billions watch the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; Sir Elton John performs “Candle in the Wind”

Lost and Found – July 4th Edition

What to remember about July 4th…

  • 1776  In Philadelphia, the Continental Congress formally adopts the Declaration of Independence
  • 1826 – Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die today
  • 1831 – President James Monroe dies in New York, New York
  • 1863 – Vicksburg surrenders to Union General Ulysses S. Grant
  • 1872  Future 30th President Calvin Coolidge is born in Vermont
  • 1917 – U.S. troops march through Paris; ending at Lafayette’s tomb
  • 1939 – Lou Gehrig number “4” is retired by the New York Yankees
  • 1976 – Israeli troops rescue 248 passengers from Palestinian terrorists in “Raid on Entebbe” ; Operation Thunderbolt
  •  1997 – Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars carrying the Sojourner rover
  • 2009 – Crown of Statue of Liberty re-opened to visitors; the iconic symbol of New York had been closed since 2001

Lost and Found – June 21st Edition

What to remember about June 21st…

  • 1788  U.S. Constitution ratified by New Hampshire meaning that enough states had done so for it to go into effect (see article VII); New Hampshire admitted to the Union as 9th State
  • 1810  Future 12th President of the United States Zachary Taylor marries Margaret Smith in Kentucky
  • 1913  Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick becomes 1st woman to parachute from an airplane; later became 1st ever free-fall parachutist
  • 1939  Lou Gehrig retires from New York Yankees because of illness
  • 1940  Future 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon marries Pat Ryan in Riverside, California
  • 1942  Allied forces surrender at Tobruk, Libya
  • 1942  Japanese submarine I-25 shells Ft. Stevens in Oregon
  • 1965  Ku Klux Klan lynch mob kills 3 civil rights workers registering black voters in Meridian, Mississippi; Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman
  • 1982 John Hinckley, Jr. found not guilty by reason of insanity in trial for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan
  • 1989  SCOTUS rules that burning the American flag is protected by the First amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • 2004  SpaceShipOne makes 1st privately funded human spaceflight and wins the Ansari X Prize; Pilot Mike Melvill becomes 1st non-government astronaut in history
  • 2005 Edgar Ray Killen convicted of the 1965 murders of  Schwermer, Goodman, and Chaney

Lost and Found – September 6th Edition

What to remember about September 6th…

  • 1757  French general and hero of the American Revolution Marquis de La Fayette is born
  • 1847  American author and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves in with Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • 1901  President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Boston; he dies September 14th from infection
  • 1972  9 more Israeli athletes and a German police officer are murdered by Palestinian terrorists as the Munich Olympic hostage taking ends
  • 1976  Soviet air force pilot Lt. Viktor Belenko lands a MiG-25 jet fighter at Hakodate, Japan to defect to the U.S.
  • 1995  Cal Ripken played his 2,131st consecutive professional baseball game beating the record previously held by Lou Gehrig
  • 1997  Billions watch the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; Sir Elton John performs “Candle in the Wind”