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June 19 Would Have Marked Lou Gehrig’s 110th Birthday

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Today would have been baseball legend Lou Gehrig’s 110th birthday. Gehrig was born on June 19, 1903 in Yorkville, Manhattan to two German immigrants who had moved to America just a few years before Lou’s birth.

He was a standout football and baseball player throughout high school and attended Columbia University where he studied engineering. He signed with the New York Yankees in 1923 with a $1,500 signing bonus. He led the team to six World Series titles in 15 years and set the mark for most consecutive games played. Cal Ripken would later break his record. In 1931, he led the league in home runs, batting average and RBIs. He also became the first player to hit four home runs in one game. Gehrig’s hard work and ability to play through pain earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse.”

In 1938, Gehrig began to notice some health issues. He checked himself into the Mayo Clinic, and after testing doctors diagnosed him with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This disease strips nerve cells of their ability to interact with the body’s muscles. Gehrig’s disease helped to bring attention to this devastating illness and it became known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

Gehrig retired on May 2, 1929. Immediately following his retirement the league avoided it’s own rules in regards to inducting players into the hall of fame. The Yankees also retired his uniform, making him the first player to receive such an honor. On June 2, 1941, Gehrig passed away in his sleep.

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