Gehrig’s pro career started four years before he became Yankees’ first baseman
In 2021, that player will be honored with the inaugural “Lou Gehrig Day” to be held June 2 throughout Major League Baseball.
The name Lou Gehrig still conjures images of greatness, even though he played his last game in 1939. Teaming with Babe Ruth to form one of the game’s greatest offensive twosomes, Gehrig spent his entire 17-year career as a first baseman with the New York Yankees, helping the team to seven World Series titles.
Gehrig would return to Hartford two years later after signing with the Yankees in 1923. In 59 games with the Senators, he batted .304 with 24 homers, a clear improvement from 1921. Even the Hartford newspapers recognized the difference in name and performance, referring to him as “Lefty Lou” Gehrig, champion fence-buster of the Eastern League.”
Going forward, on June 2, Gehrig will now join fellow Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson (April 15) and Roberto Clemente (Sept. 9) as players whose legacies are celebrated annually with dedicated, league-wide days.
The focus of Lou Gehrig Day will be: Remembering the legacy of Gehrig and all those lost to the disease that bears his name; raising awareness and funds for research of ALS; and celebrating the groups and individuals who have led the pursuit for cures.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to celebrate the legacy of Lou Gehrig, whose humility and courage continue to inspire our society,” said MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. “While ALS has been closely identified with our game since Lou’s legendary career, the pressing need to find cures remains.
“We look forward to honoring all the individuals and families, in baseball and beyond, who have been affected by ALS and hope Lou Gehrig Day advances efforts to end this disease.”
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum