Lou Gehrig

(1903—1941) American baseball player

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Born Ludwig Heinrich, a native of New York City, a professional baseball player for the New York Yankees in the 1920s and the 1930s. His outstanding durability as a hitter established long-standing records for Major League Baseball, including one still unbeaten almost seventy years after his death, for his 23 career grand slams (in baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit while all the bases are occupied, thus scoring four runs, the highest possible score from a single strike). His ‘streak’ of 2,130 consecutive games (1925–39) was also unequalled for 56 years. This endurance in top-level performance gave him the nickname ‘The Iron Horse’, but ironically, and tragically, Gehrig is best remembered for the neuromuscular disease that killed him, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, popularly referred to in the USA as ‘Lou Gehrig's Disease’. Gehrig left the game in an emotional and very public moment: his farewell speech at the stadium was captured on film, and his story and curtailed career and life have prompted Stephen G. Miller (Ancient Greek Athletics, 2004) to compare him with those athletic heroes of ancient Greece whose fame and heroism were bestowed on them for what they did or represented beyond their accomplishments in the stadium or on the field of play. The son of poor German immigrant parents, Gehrig gained entry to Columbia University and excelled in the baseball team, though not graduating after attracting the attention of professional scouts. This story of rags-to-riches, the modesty of the man as well as his sporting achievements, and his dignity at his early death make Gehrig a figure remembered and commemorated for more than just the strength of his batting arm.

http://www.lougehrig.com/ The official site of the baseball player, including his moving speech addressing fans when he knew that he was dying.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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