Monday, June 2, 2008
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941), born Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig, was an American baseball player in the 1920s and 1930s, chiefly remembered for his prowess as a slugger and the longevity of his consecutive games played record, which stood for more than a half-century, and the pathos of his tearful farewell from baseball at age 36, when he was stricken with a fatal disease. Popularly called "The Iron Horse" for his durability, Gehrig set several Major League records. His record for most career grand slam home runs (23) still stands today. Gehrig was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association. A native of New York City, he played for the New York Yankees until his career was cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now commonly referred to in the United States as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Over a 15-season span between 1925 and 1939, he played in 2,130 consecutive games. The streak ended when Gehrig became disabled with the fatal neuromuscular disease that claimed his life two years later. His streak, long believed to be one of baseball's few unbreakable records, stood for 56 years until finally broken by Cal Ripken, Jr., of the Baltimore Orioles on September 6, 1995.