Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig was born and raised in New York City, the son of German immigrant parents. His full name

was Henry Louis Gehrig. After graduating from high school, he attended Columbia University where he

became a football and baseball star. Lou's father directed him to becoming a pro baseball player. He

became sick and needed on operation, but there was no money for doctors and hospital expenses in the

family budget, so young Lou quickly capitalized on his baseball skills. He accepted an offer from a scout to

sign a contract with the New York Yankees, for $ 1,500 in cash as a bonus. Lou dropped out of college to

play in the minor leagues and gain some experience until the Yankees needed him.

Gehrig was 22 when he became a big league rookie. He sat on the bench until one day in June in

the 1925 season when he finally broke into the Yankees' line up as a first baseman. It happened because the

team's veteran first baseman couldn't play because of a sever headache. He stayed first baseman for

fourteen seasons, five thousand eighty-two playing days, he played a total of two thousand, one hundred

and thirty major league games. It was a record that will never be broken or even equaled.

To create that unbelievable endurance, feat, strong and powerful Lou Gehrig nicknamed "The Iron

Horse," played in every one of the two thousand, one hundred and thirty consecutive games, even though

he was beaned three times, had fingers broken ten times, suffered fractured toes, torn muscles, a wrenched

shoulder, a back injury, chipped elbows, and the pain of several lumbago attacks. Yet, in every contest of

that incredibly long playing period he played with all the enthusiasm of a kid breaking into the big leagues.

During that streak of 2,130 consecutive games "The Iron Horse" performed other astonishing

feats. He became the first in the 20th century to hit four consecutive home runs in a nine-inning game. Only

he in major-league history hit 23 grand slam home runs for 13 years in a row he drove in one hundred runs,

topping 150 RBI's seven times and setting the American League record of 184 runs batted-in during the

1931 season for twelve seasons in a row he hit more than .300, and he made 1,991 runs, scored 1,888 runs,

and walked 1,510 times. He won the coveted "Triple Crown" of the majors, the Most Valuable Player

award, made 2,721 safe hits for a life time batting average of .340. His magnificent playing helped the

Yankees win seven pennants and six World Series championships.

Though he had begun in the big leagues as a clumsy, poor-fielding first baseman, "Larruping

Lou," as he also came to be known, over came his faults through perseverance, patience, tireless practice

and hard work, and blossomed out into a smooth and skillful a first baseman as ever lived.

More than all this, though he never was flamboyant nor spectacular, and never sought the

headlines, clean-living Gehrig of exemplary habits became an idolized and inspirational hero to many boys

throughout America.

Ironically, "The Iron Horse," the strongest and most durable big-league player of his time, became

a victim of cruel fate. When Gehrig was 36 and still in his prime, he was felled by a mysterious disease that

robbed him of his strength, power, and coordination. Puzzled doctors diagnosed this illness as amyotrophic

lateral sclerosis, a form of paralysis affecting the spinal cord. It is now referred to as "Gehrig's disease."

On a May afternoon in that 1939 season he benched him self as the Yankees first

baseman because he could no longer help his team. He wept when it happened and never played again.

On a July 4th afternoon of that memorable season more than 75,000 loyal fans flocked into the

vast Yankees' ball park to pay homage to Gehrig and bid him farewell. Although the fabled "Iron Horse"

knew that he was dying, he stood at home plate and told the huge hushed throng:

"Fans they tell me I've been given a bad break. But I've got wonderful parents, a wife who loves

me, and I've played baseball with the greatest teammate a ball player could ever hope for. I've had my share

of good things in life. With all the good I've had, today, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on