Lou Gehrig was an immensely talented and very humble baseball player. He became an American hero as a New York Yankee. Despite a .340 career batting average, 15th highest all time, despite winning the Triple Crown in 1934 with a .363 batting average, 49 home runs, and 165 RBI, despite still holding the American League record for RBI at 184, despite holding the career Grand Slam record at 23, his two MVP awards, this seven-time All Star and six-time World Series champion he remained grounded and humble.
Known as the “Iron Horse,” once Gehrig permanently replaced Wally Pip at first base, he didn’t leave the playing field for 13 years. In fact, he held the record for most consecutive games played at 2,130 from 1939 until 1995 when Cal Ripken Jr. finally broke it. Gehrig played through a broken thumb, a broken toe, back spasms and once his hands were finally X-Rayed, it became apparent that he had suffered 17 breaks throughout his unbelievable run.
There was no question about the dedication and toughness that Lou Gehrig had shown throughout his career. He was a tried and true champion. When Lou pulled himself off the starting roster on May 2, 1939, it wasn’t because he didn’t want to be out there. His body just wouldn’t cooperate with him any longer. Lou Gehrig was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare form of degenerative disease, which is now called Lou Gehrig’s disease. 62,000 adoring fans attended the recognition day for their hero who was once called “Gibraltar in cleats” by sportswriter Jim Murray.