Starting Nine: Steel of the Iron Horse

Part of the STARTING NINE series
Written by: Craig Muder

The Hall of Fame's Starting Nine includes must-see artifacts from every big league team. Check out the Yankees Starting Nine online.

Following an 0-for-4 day at the plate that saw his season average drop to .143, Yankee star Lou Gehrig sat in front of his Yankee Stadium locker on April 30, 1939 following a 3-2 loss to the Washington Senators.

It was Gehrig’s 2,130th consecutive game played. And it was his last.

Two days later, Gehrig removed himself from the Yankees lineup in Detroit. The career of the Iron Horse had come to an end.

A decade later, the Yankees donated Gehrig’s locker – along with Babe Ruth’s – to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It remains on exhibit, telling the story of Gehrig’s singular journey through baseball history.

Gehrig played for the Yankees for 17 seasons, hitting .340 with 493 home runs, 1,995 RBI and 1,888 runs scored. As a teammate of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, Gehrig bridged the gap between two Yankees dynasties and was a part of seven teams that won World Series titles.

But it was his consecutive games streak that turned him into a national icon.

After being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Gehrig sought treatment throughout 1939 before attending Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium on July 4 of that year.

It was then that he told the world he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” – instantly creating a legend that would become a part of the game’s mythology.

The trophy Gehrig received that day from his Yankees teammates – one of his most treasured possessions – is on display at the Hall of Fame inside his locker, along with a game-worn cap and a jersey he wore during the 1939 season.


Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Starting Nine

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The Hall of Fame's Starting Nine is a lineup of must-see artifacts from our vast collection containing tens of thousands of pieces that preserve the magical moments and memorable stories of our National Pastime. Our curators have spent countless hours hand-picking special objects from every major league team to create a lineup of pieces you simply won’t believe we have!

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Part of the STARTING NINE series