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Lou Gehrig Poster

Biography

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Overview (5)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
Birth NameLudwig Heinrich (most sources say Henry Louis) Gehrig
Nicknames The Iron Horse
Larrupin' Lou
Biscuit Pants
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Lou Gehrig is remembered as baseball's "Iron Horse" and used to own the major league record for the 2,130 consecutive games that he played for the New York Yankees between 1925 and 1939, where he had a .340 career batting average, making him one of the greatest hitters of all time. Henry Louis Gehrig was born in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, New York City on June 19, 1903. His parents, Heinrich and Christina Gehrig, were German immigrants. Of their four children, Lou was the only one who survived to adulthood. Growing up as a mama's boy, Lou lived with his parents until he married at the age of 30. Lou attended New York public schools, including the High School of Commerce, where he excelled in baseball, football and swimming. In his senior year, Lou's school won New York's public school baseball championship. They played Chicago's best high school team at Wrigley Field in 1920. The game was a portrait of what was to come: with the bases loaded and two outs in the 9th inning, Lou crushed a 3-2 pitch over the right field to win the game. To fulfill his parents' dream, Lou enrolled at New York's Columbia University in 1922. Because he had briefly played for a professional baseball club the preceding summer, Lou was barred from athletic competitions at Columbia for a year. After sitting out the year, Lou started on the college's baseball and football squads, earning him the nickname "Columbia Lou." When his father lost his job and his mother fell ill, Lou decided to leave college for a professional baseball career. In June 1923, the New York Yankees signed him to a minor league contract. He was assigned to the team's Hartford, Connecticut, farm club where he played for two seasons. Lou was then inserted into the Yankee lineup on June 1, 1925 substituting for their regular first baseman, Wally Pipp. For the next 14 years, Lou did not miss a single game. Even though Lou made an immediate impression in the majors, leading the American League with 20 triples in his second season, it was in 1927 that this six-foot, 210-pound left-hander blossomed as a slugger. He challenged teammate Babe Ruth for the league's home run title. By the end of the season, Lou had hit 47 home runs to Babe Ruth's 60, earning second place. That year, Lou hit .373 and set a major league record by racking up 175 RBIs. Not surprisingly, Lou was voted the league's Most Valuable Player. He also helped the Yankees to win the 1927 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. True to his form, Lou had almost decided to sit out the entire series to stay by his ill mother's side. For the next 13 consecutive seasons, Lou knocked more than 100 home runs, and slugged 46 home runs with 184 RBIs in 1931. On June 3, 1932, Lou hit four home runs in one game against the Philadelphia Athletics, setting another major league record. In 1933, Lou married Eleanor Twitchell, who helped him withstand the rigors of professional baseball. On the eve of his 2,000th consecutive game in 1938, Eleanor suggested that Lou was getting compulsive about the streak and advised him to end his career at 1,999 games. Despite his wife's good intentions, Lou would not be deterred and appeared there and at 130 more games. During 1939 spring training Lou began to experience weakness and problems with coordination. On May 2, 1939, Lou's consecutive game streak finally ended when he removed himself from the team. Suspecting something more than his training was making him feel worn out, Lou entered the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for health tests and on June 19, 1939, his 36th birthday, Lou was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a rare incurable muscular disorder which causes the muscular motor functions to degenerate, resulting in atrophying muscles, which in turn can lead to paralysis and ultimately death. New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia named Lou the city's parole commissioner upon his retirement from baseball in 1939, a job he held until his declining health confided him to his bed in early 1941. Lou Gehrig finally passed away from ALS on June 2, 1941 at the age of 37. His universal renown was so great that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis later became known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matthew Patay

Spouse (1)

Eleanor Gehrig (29 September 1933 - 2 June 1941) (his death)

Trivia (31)

His disease is best known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1939. Played for the American League's New York Yankees, 1923-1939.
Uniform number 4 retired by the Yankees.
He retired with 23 grand slam home runs, the major league record. This record wasn't broken until 20 September 2013, when Alex Rodríguez of the New York Yankees hit his 24th.
Held the record for most consecutive games played until September of 1995, when Cal Ripken broke it.
Pictured on a 25¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the American Sports series, issued 10 June 1989. First-day-of-issue ceremonies were held at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its dedication.
Interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, ironically just a few hundred yards from Babe Ruth, who is buried at Gate Of Heaven Cemetery. Over 60 years after his death fans continue to leave mementos at his and Eleanor's memorial. The date of birth on his headstone erroneously reads "1905".
His locker was left vacant by Yankee management out of respect for the late Yankee Captain until it was relocated to Baseball's Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, New York after the Yankee Stadium renovation of 1974-1975.
Won Baseball's mythical "Triple Crown" in 1934 with 49 home runs, batting .363, and 165 runs batted in.
His "Luckiest Man" speech on July 4, 1939 is still regarded as one of baseball's most inspiring moments. That day to honor him at Yankee Stadium is also significant because it was the also the first-ever Old Timer's Day held by a Major League team. At the conclusion of his speech, which many believe was unwritten and unrehearsed, he was embraced by Babe Ruth. This ended a feud that had been going on for several years between the 2 former teammates, most likely having started as friction between their wives.
When Yankee Stadium was closed for major renovation in 1974-1975, Lou's wife was presented with first base.
Lou had the worst luck in having the spotlight taken from him. He not only played in Babe Ruth's shadow for over a decade; When Ruth was retired only one year, the New York Yankee spotlight was then put on an exciting rookie in 1936, Joe DiMaggio. On June 3, 1932 Lou hit 4 home runs in a game, perhaps the greatest and rarest batting achievement in a game there is. This national front page news was relegated to secondary status by the overshadowing news of long time New York Giant manager John J. McGraw's retirement announcement that same day.
Never wore a hat or overcoat, even on the coldest of days.
Member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
New York Yankees All-Time RBI Leader (1,995).
Was the first athlete in any sport to have his uniform number retired.
1927 American League MVP. Led American league in Games (155), Total Bases (447), Doubles (52), RBI (175), Extra-Base Hits (117), Times on Base (330).
1934 American League Triple Crown Winner. Led American League in Batting Average (.363), On-Base Percentage (.465), Slugging Percentage (.706), Games (154), Total Bases (409), Home Runs (49), RBI (165) and Times on Base (321).
1936 American League MVP. Led American League in On-Base Percentage (.478), Slugging Percentage (.696), Games (155), Runs (167), Home Runs (49), Base on Balls (130) and Times on Base (342).
Named to 7 American League All Star Teams (1933-1939).
Member of 1923, 1927-1928, 1932 and 1936-1939 World Series Champion New York Yankees teams. Member of 1926 American League Champion New York Yankees team.
Died exactly sixteen years to the day after he replaced Wally Pipp at first base.
The baseball Hall of Fame waived its five-year waiting period for election and enshrined Gehrig in 1939. To date, only one other ballplayer has received that honor, Roberto Clemente.
Was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on his thirty-sixth birthday.
Made major league debut on 15 June 1923.
In 1934, he became the first professional athlete to appear on a box of Wheaties cereal.
Contrary to what's shown in the film "Pride Of The Yankees", Lou's wife Eleanor and Lou's mother hated each other intensely. So much so that when Lou died, Eleanor refused to give his mother some of his personal effects (i.e.: clothes, baseball gear, etc.) for keepsakes. And when "Pride" was made, Eleanor refused to share the money she was paid as a technical consultant despite the fact that Lou's parents were relatively poor. The only thing Eleanor did for his parents was put them on a small monthly "allowance". All of this comes from Lou Gerhig's biography "Luckiest Man" by Johnathan Eig.
Lou was scouted by legendary New York Giants manager John McGraw when he was still in college. Despite Lou's massive home run power, McGraw passed on Gherig because he wasn't a good fielding first baseman. McGraw was an "old fashioned" manager who vocally disapproved of home run hitters.
Popular legend has it that Lou Gerhig replaced Wally Pipp at first base because Pipp was suffering from a concussion and unable to play. While the concussion did happen, it would be months later before he was benched in favor of Lou Gerhig. In reality, manager Miller Huggins replaced Pipp because of poor performance (he was hitting below .200 with no more power). Even then, it wouldn't be until the following year before Lou became a full-time first baseman.
Inducted into the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006 (inaugural class).
Inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Personal Quotes (6)

"Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." (during his retirement ceremony on July 4, 1939.)
When asked whether he minded playing in the shadow of the Bambino all the time: "Babe Ruth has a pretty big shadow, it gives me lots of room to spread myself."
Shortly before his death: "You have to get knocked down to realize how people really feel about you. I've realized that more than ever lately. The other day, I was on my way to the car. It was hailing, the streets were slippery and I was having a tough time of it. I came to a corner and started to slip. But before I could fall, four people jumped out of nowhere to help me. When I thanked them, they all said they knew about my illness and had been keeping an eye on me."
"There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all." (on baseball's infamous color barrier)
I may have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. (Retirement speech, July 4 1939)
The ballplayer who loses his head, who can't keep his cool, is worse than no ballplayer at all.

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