The Iron Horse

Not a baseball fan as a youngest, I was more aware the the terrible condition than this person gave his name to rather than the man himself. Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest baseball players to have graced the professional diamonds. His career lastest from 1923 until 1939. He played 2,130 consecutive games with the Yankess until illness forced him to retire from the game. He passed away two years later.

In the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum you can view a trophy inscribed by Gehrig’s New York Yankee team-mates when he retired and on it there is a poem written by New York Times writer James Kieran. These are the first two verses:

We’ve been to the wars together;
We took our foes as they came;
And always you were the leader,
And ever you played the game.

Idol of cheering millions,
Records are yours by sheaves;
Iron of frame they hailed you
Decked you with laurel leaves.

The 2nd and 3rd line of the 2nd verse allud to the numerous records he held within the game and his nickname, “The Iron Horse”. The nickname came from that record of consecutive games mentioned earlier. He beat the previous record by over 700 games, although he was helped along the way by at least one rain delayed game when it didnt rain. However it is clear from x-rays taken during his life that he was suffered from a number of fractures but still continued to play.

Gehrig’s Retirement Speech

Gehrig’s No 4 jersey was retired when he retired from the game, it was the first time a players’ number was ever retired. Incidently he was given the number 4 as when numbers were first introduced he was no. 4 in the batting line-up, 1 behind the infamous Babe Ruth.

On his 36th birthday (June 19, 1939, Gehrig was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He passed away less than two years later just 17 days shy of his 38th birthday. In March 2021 the MLB annouced that June 2nd would be known as Lou Gehrig Day, being both the day of his passing and incidently the day that Gehrig became the New York Yankees starting first baseman.


For those of you who might be interested there is an excellent film about Jim Tracey, a high school cross-countyr coach with ALS who inspires his young athletes. One of his runners caught the eye of the national media.

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