Lou Gehrig Was Born 113 Years Ago Today

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Lou Gehrig was born on June 19, 1903. Dubbed the "Pride of the Yankees," Gehrig was struck down in his prime with the illness we now call either "Lou Gehrig's Disease" or "ALS" (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

On July 4, 1939, Gehrig gave his famous "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech. Two years later, he died. Here's a short documentary explaining his significance in baseball, a bit about his illness, and the only film of his speech that survives (more on that after the video). Have a look:

And here's a snippet with a tiny bit more of the speech (note that the first time he says "break" in "bad break," it comes out sounding like "brag"). The video and audio quality are both a bit better here:

So here's the thing. Although the film only show a few lines of Gehrig's speech, he spoke for a bit longer. We don't have recordings of the rest, though there are a few accounts of what he said. Gehrig scholar Jonathan Eig summarized the mystery in a piece for The Wall Street Journal, writing in part:

What else did he say? We can't be sure. Only the first, second, fourth and final sentences of Gehrig's speech survive on film.

I consider us lucky to have the parts we got.

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June 19, 2016 - 12:00am
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