May 2: 1939, Lou Gehrig found the pain had become too great, and he pulled himself from the lineup. His games played streak ended at 2130, exceeding the previous record by over 1000 and remained the record until Cal Ripken, Jr came along half a century later.
Arguably the greatest first baseman ever. He had the most grand slams in history (23) until Alex Rodriguez broke the record. He had the third highest OPS ever, 1,080, behind only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. He won two MVPs. He earned a Triple Crown. I could keep going, but you get the point.
Just try watching Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig giving his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium in “Pride Of the Yankees” without tearing up a little. I dare you. (BTW, the part of Babe Ruth in that movie was played by: Babe Ruth.)
Gehrig passed away due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known ever since as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, on June 2, 1941, the 16th anniversary of his replacing Wally Pipp in the Yankees lineup. He was 37.
5 thoughts on “2130”
“The Pride of the Yankees” is what I watched tonight. Still one of the best baseball movies ever.
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Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig was fantastic casting. Both strong, silent types with impressively large bodies but just as strong, impressive spirits that exuded dignity and grace.
There was a biography written about Gehrig several years ago that I enjoyed quite a bit. What stood out to me that was Gehrig was definitely the kind of baseball player I would have admired even if he wasn’t an outrageous talent. He was bright, well read, fairly clean living, and had a heart for family and community. He was like your Dominic DiMaggios, your Mike Mussinas, your Ben Zobrists.
Prof, I hope the bio you read was Luckiest Man. It was the best of the Gehrig bios I’ve read and gently debunks a lot of Pride of the Yankees. I think my favorite revelation is Gehrig’s wife wasn’t no Prissy Gladgums cutiepie as she is in the film, but a pretty hard-drinking, strong willed sometimes-hellion who occasionally caused issues between Lou and other ballplayers, especially the Babe.
Here, for your delectation, is the link to the review of Luckiest Man I posted here several years ago:
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Yes, that was it! I also found myself cheering on Eleanor because she was the kind of partner that he needed. He needed someone with fire. A strong woman. I have to admit I liked the idea of Lou Gehrig as Tarzan, oh if only he could have acted just a little bit better… 😋
One other Gehrig tidbit…
He was the third major leaguer to hit four homers in a game, but the first in the 20th century (June 3, 1932). He was also the first to do it in 4 consecutive at bats, his first 4. His last at bat, a fly out, is reported to have gone 450 feet to center field. The game was against the Philadelphia A’s at Shibe Park. The only other American League Park where that wouldn’t have been home run #5 was League Park (1932 is when Cleveland Municipal Stadium opened, but the Indians split time between the two stadiums through WW II).
In that same game Tony Lazerri hit for a natural cycle—single, double, triple, homer in order. The homer was a grand slam in a 20-13 slugfest. Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx both homered that day too. However, not only did Gehrig’s feat overshadow what they did, so did another event in baseball that day: John McGraw announced his retirement from managing the NY Giants due to health reasons.