Baseball is known as America’s favorite pastime – and for good reason! Since its first team was founded in the 19th century, Major League Baseball (MLB) has played an integral role in US culture.
Although the MLB isn’t the most popular sport to bet on, we’d encourage any fans to check out MLB lines simply for up-to-date information about the league.
Yet part of what makes the MLB so special is the impressive number of legendary players that have passed through the league. One of the most prominent names of all time is Lou Gehrig.
Here’s a little bit more about the star player.
Who Was Lou Gehrig?
Born Henry Louis Gehrig in June 1903, Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest baseball players to ever grace the MLB. He was an incredible athlete and was renowned for his hitting prowess, speed, and overall durability during any play. This earned him the nickname of the “Iron Horse.”
From a young age, Gehrig proved to be a quality athlete, excelling in both baseball and football. He was even once known as the “Babe Ruth of the schoolyard” after managing to hit a grand slam on behalf of his high school at a Chicago national championship game.
After high school, Gehrig enrolled at Columbia University where he studied to become an engineer. He also joined the football team, playing as a fullback, and participated on the university’s baseball team as a pitcher in 1923, earning the nickname “Columbia Lou.”
In one memorable baseball game, he struck out a record-breaking 17 times which remained the score to beat for nearly five decades. In another game, he hit the longest home run ever recorded on Columbia’s Home Field.
With such an interesting style of play, it’s not surprising that he caught the eye of Paul Krichell, a scout for the New York Yankees.
Professional Career: New York Yankees
In April 1923, the very same year that the Yankee Stadium opened, Gehrig was signed to the team in his first professional contract. This included a $1,500 signing bonus which allowed him to become a full-time professional baseball player.
After signing with the Yankees, Gehrig made his major-league debut in June 1923. He spent a lot of his first two seasons (1923-1924) playing in minor leagues but eventually began to make a big impact with the Yankees in 1925.
One notable move occurred on June 1, 1925, where Gehrig singled after stepping up to pinch-hit for Pee Wee Wanninger. This kick-started his impressive streak of playing in 2,130 consecutive games – a record that stood until Carl Ripken ended the 7th inning of his 2,131st game in 1995.
Although he was a talented player himself, Gehrig was generally overshadowed by Babe Ruth during his career both on and off the field. This was mainly because Ruth was more flamboyant and extroverted while Gehrig was far more reserved. Yet together, the two players made a very powerful force as part of the Yankees’ lineup.
During Gehrig’s 17 seasons, he helped the Yankees win six World Series titles and seven pennants. He hit a total of 493 home runs, achieved 1,995 RBIs, a .447 on-base average, and also had an impressive .340 batting average throughout his tenure. These statistics also include many years of earning a minimum of 100 runs each season.
Lou Gehrig achieved many other career accomplishments and titles throughout his career with the Yankees. Notably, he was a seven-time consecutive All-Star, a Triple Crown winner, and a two-time MVP for the American League.
He was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 and was the first-ever MLB player to have his uniform number retired by a league team.
It took until May 1939 for Gehrig to finally miss a single game. In the eight games before this, Gehrig was hitting a mediocre 4-for-28, equating to an unimpressive .143 batting average.
He informed team manager Joe McCarthy that he felt sluggish and tired, and ended up removing himself from the Yankees lineup. He also revealed that it would be in the club’s best interest if someone else took on first base.
Gehrig never played another game in the MLB yet continued to participate as the team’s captain for the rest of the season.
Retirement and Death
Gehrig’s situation gradually became worse. After consulting medical professionals, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
This progressive neurodegenerative disease, now known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” directly affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in difficulty speaking and swallowing and increasing paralysis. It also comes with a short life expectancy.
Gehrig ended up retiring from baseball in 1939 after receiving this diagnosis. Unfortunately, he died from the disease just two years later in 1941, aged 37.
Whether you’re a new or lifelong MLB fan, Lou Gehrig is one of those players you simply must know about. From his incredible skills to his awe-inspiring determination in the face of adversity, Gehrig has rightfully earned his status as an MLB legend — leaving behind an impressive legacy eight decades after his death.
via Off The Bench https://www.offthebenchbaseball.com/2022/11/10/mlb-legacies-lou-gehrig/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mlb-legacies-lou-gehrig
Louis DeTitto is a Philadelphia-based security management expert and sports fan.