Trophy Gehrig presented his mother a part of Museum collection
The second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day, has for more than 100 years been a time for children to reflect on a special bond. In baseball circles, one of the more poignant stories on this relationship belongs to the “Iron Horse” and “Mom.”
Among the dozens of Lou Gehrig-related artifacts in the collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an 8 ½ inch high bronze statuette of an anonymous ballplayer, the batter in a right-handed stance and looking toward the horizon. The silver plate on front of base is inscribed, “Hello Mother / With My Lima / Friends Today / Oct. 14 '27 / Lou.”
The backstory on this unique item dates to the fall of 1927 when Gehrig and Babe Ruth, important cogs on a New York Yankees powerhouse often referred to as Murderers’ Row. After the team swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Fall Classic, the pair of sluggers soon departed on a three-week, coast-to-coast barnstorming tour with Ruth’s squad named the Bustin’ Babes and Gehrig’s the Larrupin' Lou’s.
The first leg of the tour included a stop in Lima, Ohio, on Oct. 14, only six days after the Yankee franchise’s second World Series crown. The barnstorming duo played before a reported 2,000 fans, an attendance figure likely adversely affected by the cloudy Friday afternoon conditions.
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As for the Ruth-Gehrig barnstorming tour of 1927, it ended in early November with the Yankee greats having travelled some 8,000 miles for 21 games in nine states (New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado and California) played before an estimated 220,000 fans.
Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum