Lou Gehrig

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Lou Gehrig
I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (June 19 1903June 2 1941), born Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig, was an American Major League Baseball player in the first half of the twentieth century. He set several Major League and American League records and was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association. 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.


  • In the beginning I used to make one terrible play a game. Then I got so I'd make one a week and finally I'd pull a bad one about once a month. Now, I'm trying to keep it down to one a season.
  • SPORT Magazine's All-Time All Stars (Quentin Reynolds)
  • Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 years, and I 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?
    • Speech made on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee at Yankee Stadium (July 4, 1939)
  • So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for.
    • Speech made on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee at Yankee Stadium (July 4, 1939)

Quotes about Lou Gehrig[edit]

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  • 1) Gehrig hits flat-footed. Ruth stands with feet together, poised, before stepping into the ball.
    2) Gehrig doesn't start his swing until the ball is almost on top of him. Ruth starts his swing almost with the wind-up.
    3) Gehrig, taking a shorter swing, is more consistent and harder to outguess. Ruth, with his longer swing, hits a harder, longer ball and is more likely to connect with a fast one.
  • Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you ... told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that.
  • Joe McCarthy, manager of the New York Yankees at the original Yankee Stadium (4 July 1939), on the same day of Gehrig's now legendary farewell speech. McCarthy had been fighting back tears throughout the festivities and throughout Gehrig's speech, but McCarthy could not hold his composure any longer and made that statement while coming very close to sobbing.
  • Lou Gehrig was to baseball what Gary Cooper was to the movies: a figure of unimpeachable integrity, massive and incorruptible, a hero. Today, both are seen as paradigms of manly virtue. Decent and God-fearing, yet strongly charismatic and powerful.
  • Kevin Nelson in The Greatest Stories Ever Told About Baseball (1986)
  • That kid sure can bust 'em.
  • Lou should stand alone in that department. He should have had five that day. He got a fifth time at bat in the ninth inning of the game and hit his longest ball of the day. But Al Simmons dragged it out of the air near the center-field flagpole. That's baseball.
  • The older newspapermen sit in the chicken coop press boxes around the circuit and watch Lou Gehrig go through the laborious movements of playing first base, and wonder if they’re seeing one of the institutions of the American League crumble before their eyes. They watch him at the bat and note that he isn’t hitting the ball well; they watch around the bag and it’s plain that he’s not getting the balls he used to get; They watch him run and they fancy they can hear his bones creak and his lungs wheeze as he lumbers around the bases...On eyewitness testimony alone the verdict must be that of a battle-scarred veteran falling apart.
    • Joe Williams of the New York World-Telegram reporting at the New York Yankees' spring training in St. Petersburg, FL., March 16, 1939, quoted in Baseball: An Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1996) by Geoffry C. Ward and Ken Burns, p. 251 [1]. This account was made three months before Gehrig's diagnosis of ALS was publicized.

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