Lou Gehrig

Henry Louis Gehrig
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1939
Primary team: New York Yankees
Primary position: 1st Baseman

“I took the two most expensive aspirins in history.” -- Yankee first baseman Wally Pipp, who sat out a 1925 game with a headache and lost his position to Lou Gehrig, who would play every game there for the Yankees until his retirement in 1939.

If you look up the word ‘ballplayer” in the dictionary, it is likely they’ll have a picture of Lou Gehrig, stalwart New York Yankee first baseman. Gehrig is chiefly known for playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees, a magnificent streak long thought to have been unbreakable, until Cal Ripken, Jr. came along.

Gehrig wore uniform number four, because he hit behind Babe Ruth, number three. One of the most magnificent hitters and run producers in history, Gehrig was always overshadowed by Ruth, who was not only an unparalleled hitter, but was as outgoing and flamboyant as Gehrig was reserved and quiet. "He just went out and did his job every day." - said his teammate, Hall of Famer Bill Dickey.

Gehrig scored over 100 runs and drove in over 100 runs for 13 straight seasons. He led the American League in runs 4 times, home runs three times, runs-batted in five times, on-base percentage five times, and batting average once. He finished among the league’s top three hitters seven times. He racked up eight 200-plus hit seasons.

In 1931, he set the AL single-season RBI mark with 184—hitting behind Ruth, who knocked in 163 of his own. One wonders who was left on base for Gehrig to bring home. His 1934 triple-crown season was remarkable, as he hit .363, knocked 49 homeruns, and drove in 165 runs. Gehrig still holds the major league record for grand slams, with 23.

He was the All-Star first baseman for the first seven All-Star teams, from 1933-39, though he retired just shy of the 1939 game. During his 17 seasons, the Yankees won seven pennants and six World Series. Gehrig’s World Series contributions include a .361 batting average, ten home runs, and 35 RBI in 34 games.

Gehrig’s consecutive games streak came to an end on May 2, 1939, when he removed himself from the lineup after a dismal start caused by his mysterious neuromuscular disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, later known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Gehrig was the Yankee captain from 1935 until his death in 1941. In 1969, he was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 1989, on the 50th anniversary of the end of his streak, he was honored with a United States postage stamp. In 1999, he was the leading vote-getter for Major League Baseball’s All Century Team.

Teammate George Selkirk on Gehrig: “Lou Gehrig was a guy who could really hit the ball, was dependable and seemed so durable that many of us thought he could have played forever.

"Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. "
Lou Gehrig

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1939
Primary Team: New York Yankees
Position Played: 1st Baseman
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Birth place: New York, New York
Birth year: 1903
Died: 1941, Bronx, New York
Played for:
New York Yankees (1923-1939)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2164
At BatsAB
8001
RunsR
1888
HitsH
2721
Doubles2B
534
Triples3B
163
Home RunsHR
493
RBIRBI
1995
Stolen BasesSB
102
WalksBB
1508
Batting AverageBA
.340
OPSOPS
1.080
On Base %OBP
.340
Slugging %SLG
.632