Honoring a Baseball Legend: 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech

July 02, 2014 via Baseball Hall of Fame

This Fourth of July will mark 75 years since legendary Hall of Famer and CMG Worldwide client, Lou Gehrig heartbreakingly said goodbye to baseball with his iconic “Luckiest Man” speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939.

The degenerative effects of a nerve disorder, best known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), would ultimately take his life less than two years later.

Major League Baseball will donate $300,000 to ALS organizations while clubs playing at home on July 4 will conduct on-field ceremonies celebrating Gehrig’s legacy – with the Yankees launching MLB’s recognition at their home game on July 2.

MLB will also unveil a commemorative 75th Anniversary patch that will be worn by all players, managers, coaches and umpires on Friday. In addition, a special tribute video will be played at the ballparks on Friday and the first 18,000 fans attending the Yankee’s Wednesday home game and the first 10,000 fans attending the Yankees Friday away game in Minnesota will receive a Lou Gehrig bobblehead.

Meanwhile, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is honoring Gehrig by kicking off a number of special programs at the Museum.

The Speech

"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 might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for."

— Lou Gehrig

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