- NAME: Lou Gehrig
- OCCUPATION: Baseball Player
- BIRTH DATE: June 19, 1903
- DEATH DATE: June 02, 1941
- EDUCATION: Columbia University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- Full Name: Henry Louis Gehrig
- AKA: Lou Gehrig
- Originally: Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig
- Nickname: The Iron Horse
- Nickname: Columbia Lou
Best Known For
Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig played for the New York Yankees in the 1920s and 1930s, setting the mark for consecutive games played. He died of ALS in 1941.
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Hall of Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig was born in New York City in 1903. A standout football and baseball player, Gehrig signed his first contract with the New York Yankees in April 1923. Over the next 15 years he led the team to six World Series titles and set the mark for most consecutive games played. He retired in 1939 after getting diagnosed with ALS. Gehrig passed away from the disease in 1941.
"I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for."
"I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
Henry Louis Gehrig was born in the Yorkville section of Manhattan in New York City, on June 19, 1903. His parents, Heinrich and Christina Gehrig, were German immigrants who'd moved to their new country just a few years before their son's birth.
The only one of the four Gehrig children to survive infancy, Lou faced a childhood that was shaped by poverty. His father struggled to stay sober and keep a job, while his mother, a strong woman who was intent on creating a better life for her son, worked constantly, cleaning houses and cooking meals for wealthy New Yorkers.
A devoted parent, Christina pushed hard for her son to get a good education and got behind her son's athletic pursuits, which were many. From an early age, Gehrig showed himself to be a gifted athlete, excelling in both football and baseball.
After graduating from high school, Gehrig enrolled at Columbia University, where he studied engineering and played fullback on the football team. In addition, he made the school's baseball team, pitching solidly for the club and earning the nickname Columbia Lou from adoring fans. In one famous game, the young hurler struck out 17 batters.
But it was Gehrig's bat that appealed to the New York Yankees, who in April 1923, the same year Yankee Stadium first opened, signed Gehrig to his first professional contract. The deal included a $1,500 signing bonus, a fantastic sum for Gehrig and his family, which allowed him to move his parents to the suburbs and, more important, play baseball full-time.
Just two months after signing the contract, in June 1923, Gehrig debuted as a Yankee. By the following season, Gehrig was inserted into the lineup to replace the team's aging first baseman, Wally Pipp. The change proved to be no small matter. It set in motion a streak in which Gehrig established a Major League Baseball record by playing in 2,130 consecutive games. Gehrig's famous record was finally broken in 1995, when Baltimore Oriole shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. eclipsed the mark.
Beyond his consistent presence, however, Gehrig also became an offensive force in an already potent lineup. He and his teammate Babe Ruth formed an unmatched power-hitting tandem.
Quiet and unassuming, Gehrig struggled to make friends with many of his colorful and spotlight-hungry Yankee teammates, especially Ruth. But his hardworking nature and ability to play through incredible pain certainly earned their respect, and earned him the nickname "The Iron Horse." Yankee fans, meanwhile, were thankful just to have him in the lineup.
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