Iron Horse surrenders
RIVERDALE, NEW YORK - Lou Gehrig died on this date in 1941. It seemed like only yesterday that the Iron Horse first baseman began his streak. In fact, it was yesterday, 16 years earlier, that the 21-year old Gehrig was told to grab a bat and pinch hit for shortstop Paul Wanninger. Gehrig would play in every game from that date in 1925 until 1939 when a mysterious illness forced him out of the lineup and killed him two years later. It's sadly ironic that the anniversary of Lou Gehrig's death is the day after the anniversary
of him beginning his record-breaking string of consecutive games played.
Gehrig died of a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In a matter of months, this solid, rock of a man became a helpless weakling who had difficulty walking. Gehrig finally took himself out of the lineup on May 2nd, 1939. Who knows how long the streak would have been had his strength, agility and drive not been zapped by what's become known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."
At the time, and for more than a half century after, Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak was thought to be unreachable. It was broken by Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles in 1995.
The New York Times, Riverdale, NY, June 3, 1941
For more information on ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
story is brought to you by today in baseball.