Birthday: June 19, 1903
Died At Age: 37
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Henry Louis Gehrig
Born in: Yorkville, New York City, New York
Famous as: Baseball Player
Spouse/Ex-: Eleanor Twitchell (m. 1933–1941)
father: Heinrich Gehrig
mother: Christina Fack,
Died on: June 2, 1941
place of death: Riverdale, New York City, New York
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: Columbia University
Who was Lou Gehrig?
Lou Gehrig was a legendary American baseball player who was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association. He was a gifted athlete from his early years and showed a keen interest in playing baseball and football. He was the only surviving child of his parents and shared a very special bond with his mother. He astonished every spectator witnessing the game with his powerful hitting and massive strokes. He was popularly nicknamed ‘The Iron Horse’ as he played for 15 years continuously with the New York Yankees with a total of 2130 consecutive matches, without missing a single one in between. On his 36th birthday, he was diagnosed with ALS disease, a central nervous system disorder, and was given a life expectancy of three more years. A week later, he announced his retirement, leaving his fans teary-eyed who wanted another glimpse of their favorite player on the field. A special farewell ceremony was held in Yankee Stadium to honor him, where he delivered one of the most memorable speeches of all time. He quoted himself ‘The Luckiest Man on the Face of Earth’ and expressed his gratitude for each and every person in his life who had supported him in his journey from being an ordinary person to a glorified sportsperson.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on June 19, 1903 in East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan to Heinrich Gehrig, an art-metal mechanic and Christina Gehrig, a housemaid.
He was the only one to have survived out of four children in his family. His two sisters died of whooping cough whereas his brother died in infancy.
His father was an alcoholic and mostly unemployed; his mother worked as a maid, cook and launderer to support the family and raise him.
He was a gifted athlete and showcased his skills in football and baseball.
At the age of 16, he was enlisted for a summer job in Otis Elevator Company in New York and was the pitcher of the company baseball team.
He completed his graduation from Commerce High School in 1921 and then went to Columbia University, to pursue a career in engineering.
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In 1921, he started his career in Baseball when he was advised by John McGraw, New York Giants manager, to play for Hartford Senators. But he was banned from collegiate sports for a year as it was against the rules of the college to play for a professional baseball team.
A year later in 1922, he returned to college and got involved in the college sports team where he played as a fullback for Lions football team.
In 1923, he signed his first professional contract for $1500 with the Yankees after being observed for some months by Paul Krichell of New York Yankees Scout. He returned to Hartford and played for two seasons in 1923 and 1924.
In June 2, 1925 he replaced Wally Pipp, first baseman of Yankees, who suffered a concussion after being hit during a practice just before the match. Pipp recovered but was not able to return to his position in the team and Lou went on to make history.
He formed a fierce duo with Baby Ruth, another powerful teammate, hitting massive home-runs and winning loads of matches for their team. Their team was popularly named ‘The Murderer’s Row’ because of their strong lineup.
His team won World Series several times during the years in which he played for them from 1923 to 1938. In spite of having concussions, back pains and other injuries, he never missed a game for his team.
In the year 1939, his health declined and he was diagnosed with ALS disease, a devastating disorder that strips nerve cells of their ability to interact with the body's muscles. He announced his retirement thereafter accepting a job as the New York City Parole Commissioner.
Awards & Achievements
He won the award for ‘American League All Star’ seven times in his career from 1933-1939.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after his retirement.
The Yankees retired his uniform number ‘4’, making him the first person in history of ‘Major Baseball League’ to receive this honor.
He created a world record by playing a total of 2130 consecutive games for his team through 15 years of his career, a record which stood for 56 years.
He finished with 493 home runs, 535 doubles, 162 triples, a .340 batting average and 1,990 RBIs--third-highest among all major leaguers.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1933, he married Eleanor Twitchell, the daughter of Chicago Park commissioner. The couple did not have any children.
On July 4, 1939 a farewell ceremony was held at the Yankee stadium to commemorate this legendary sportsman for his astonishing achievements. Wearing his uniform and standing in his place of worship, he delivered a heart wrenching speech to a sold out crowd paying tribute to his family, friends, mentors and the spectators. He addressed himself as ‘The Luckiest Man on the Face of Earth’ to have received such an immense amount of love and honor from everyone.
On June 2, 1941 he died in his sleep. His wife never remarried and dedicated her life to support the ALS research.
ALS disease is also known as ‘Gehrig’s disease’, the only disease in the world to be named after its patient.