LOU GEHRIG – THE IRON HORSE (1939)

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The year is 1939. It’s a hot July 4th at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Lou Gehrig had played a lot of baseball in that park. Set a lot of records, too – including one that would stand for 56 years – his 2,130 consecutive games played streak. It took the great Cal Ripkin to surpass that one. But today is July 4th, 1939. Around the park – and around the world – it was known that the Iron Horse was dying of the very disease that today bears his name. This was Lou Gehrig day at Yankee Stadium. He gave everything he had – and went out like the courageous champion he was. (continued)

1939 - Lou Gehrig - Yankee Stadium (July 4) (O)

1939 - Lou Gehrig

Here is Lou’s farewell speech in it’s entirety.

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.

“So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

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