What can you say about Lou Gehrig that has not already been said. A great ballplayer and person who had his life cut tragically short by a disease that now bears his name. But in truth fashion, his farewell speech is the stuff of legend. Not long but iconicl and warming nonetheless.
“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 may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”
Even other greats had kind works for Gehrig after his farewell address. Below is the quote from Joe DiMaggio.
“He never did say very much about himself. He didn’t feel sorry about himself. And it certainly was a very, very sad day for all of us.”
The crowd went nuts for what felt like hours even though it was minutes after his finished his speech. With that, an era of greatness ended. The Hall of Fame held a special election to induct the great one in an unprecedented move. On June 2, 1941, Lou Gehrig died at his home in Riverdale, New York, less then two years after his diagnosis and retirement.
Video Courtesy of MLB