Lou Gehrig was a Major League Baseball player who played first base for the New York Yankees from 1923-1939. Gehrig set the records for most grand slams in a season and most consecutive games played. Gehrig was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, now commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
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Henry Louis Gehrig was born June 19, 1903, in New York City, the only child of German immigrants to survive childhood illness. His doting parents stressed education over sports, and he attended Columbia University on a football scholarship and studied engineering.
His family background, with two parents who had difficulty with English, plus his own meager interpersonal skills and clumsiness, exposed him to frequent ridicule. He was often disparaged for his awkwardness and lack of social polish.
From June 1, 1925, to May 2, 1939, Gehrig, playing first base for the New York Yankees, appeared in 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood until it was broken on September 6, 1995, by Cal Ripken, Jr., of the Baltimore Orioles. A quiet, gentle man, Gehrig was somewhat overshadowed by his colourful teammate Babe Ruth, whom he followed in the Yankees’ batting order.
Gehrig would become part of a symbiotic slugging relationship with Ruth in the heart of the vaunted Yankees lineup. Batting fourth as the cleanup man behind the Babe, Gehrig became half of the most devastating one-two punch in the game’s history
Ruth was the flamboyant slugger, basking in the spotlight and living life as hard as he belted fastballs. Gehrig was the model of consistency, around the clock. He had slashing power, spraying homers to all fields, and he was only happy to work in a relative shadow. Consider what happened at the 1932 World Series in Chicago. Ruth hit his "Called Shot" homer there off Cubs pitcher Charlie Root, and the legend has only grown over time. Does anyone remember that Gehrig proceeded to homer off Root in the next at-bat while Wrigley was buzzing? Or that Ruth and Gehrig already had gone deep together earlier in the same game
. In 1934 he achieved the “Triple Crown” of baseball, leading his league in batting average (.363), home runs (49), and runs batted in (RBIs; 165). He hit 49 home runs again in 1936.
Just think about that 1927 season. Gehrig's home run number bulged to 47, and only Ruth ever had hit more. Gehrig's RBIs soared to 175, a record at the time, and even more astounding when you consider that he stepped to the plate 60 times after congratulating Ruth on having just cleared the bases.
It was Gehrig, however, who was named American League MVP in 1927, on a Yankee team considered the greatest team in history. He won the award again in 1936, another championship year for the Yankees. In all, Gehrig helped the Yankees to six World Series titles.
In June 1939, all anyone knew was that Gehrig was having his worst season ever. There was a strange, sudden diminish in his strength that raged on the more he played. He would collapse on the field, in the locker room, etc., for apparently no reason.
During Gehrig's time, little was known of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Many referred to it as creeping paralysis because title fit subject; ALS is characterized by a deterioration in muscle control. The victims become incapable of movement. On June 19, Gehrig's 36th birthday, the diagnosis was official.
Full prognosis: immediate retirement from baseball, expect rapid paralysis, incapacitation of speech/swallowing/etc., no loss in mental capabilities, and a life expectancy of two and a half more years