Lou Gehrig is one of the greatest baseball players ever to step foot on the diamond.
The original "Ironman" played an incredible 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood for over 50 years before it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr.
In 1939, the captain of the New York Yankees was diagnosed with ALS, which has now become known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He ended his career with a .340 batting average, 1,955 runs batted in, and to this day has three of the top six RBI seasons in MLB history.
On July 4, 1939, Gehrig address the crowd at Yankee Stadium with the most memorable speech in the history of sports:
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 the earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 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 that 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. Thank you.