Gehrig’s modest New York upbringing by two German immigrants, his physical prowess, early accomplishments at Columbia University, incredible performance on the field, and heroic lifetime batting average of .340 with 1,995 RBIs over a record 2,130 consecutive games, earned him the nickname “the Iron Horse,” a respectful term reserved for the remarkably durable, reliable, and strong. And he was humble.
In it, he called himself lucky. The disease that would ultimately bear his name kept him from holding the trophies handed to him that day... his arms were weak, so he set them on the ground. ALS forced him from the game he loved. And he knew the disease would take his life. It was Gehrig's courage, humility, and deep sense of gratitude in the face of what had to be profound sorrow for all that he was about to lose that propelled him into history.
This video is from Lou Gehrig’s July 4, 1939, speech during the Yankees’ double-header when he took to the mic and made one of the most iconic speeches of all time. He had been diagnosed with ALS just weeks before, and shared, “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” In the face of this devastating disease, Lou chose to inspire others by living his life with courage, humility, and gratitude. This moment made the Iron Horse a role model for every person facing a challenge and everyone who has ever loved anyone with ALS.