July 4- Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day
1939- On this day in Sports History, Lou Gehrig made his famous farewell speech as the New York Yankees celebrated Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium. Lou Gehrig would leave a lasting legacy in the MLB for his consistent outstanding play. He had the nickname of “The Iron Horse” after he played 2,130 consecutive baseball games. Unfortunately, he started to feel the effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig disease) and played his last game on May 2, 1939.
Two months later, on July 4, 1939, the Yankee’s held Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day as they played a doubleheader against the Washington Senators. In between games, Gehrig addressed the crowd in what would become one of the most famous speeches in sports history.
“For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.” -Lou Gehrig
Two years later, on June 2, 1941, Lou Gehrig died at the age of 37. The disease that took his life would become known as the “Lou Gehrig disease”. Despite having the disease that took away his baseball career and soon his life, Gehrig considered himself to be the luckiest man on the face of Earth.
Gehrig finished his Hall-of-Fame baseball career as a 7x All-Star, 2x American League MVP, and a 6x World Series Champion with the Yankees. His streak of 2,130 consecutive games is second most in MLB history. The Yankees became the first MLB team to retire a jersey number when they retired Lou Gehrig’s #4 in 1939.
Lou Gehrig ended his historic farewell speech on this day in 1939 by saying “So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”
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“Luckiest Man.” Baseball Hall of Fame
“Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day - July 4, 1939.”