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Lou Gehrig

Baseball Player

Born: 19 June 1903
Died: 2 June 1941 (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: The New York Yankee hero known as "The Iron Horse"

Name at birth: Henry Louis Gehrig

Lou Gehrig played in 2130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees from 1925 to 1939, gaining the nickname "The Iron Horse." A slugging first baseman, Lou Gehrig played with teammates like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio during the Yankee glory years of the 1920s and 1930s. Gehrig won a rare triple crown in 1934, leading the American League with 49 homers, 165 RBI and a .363 batting average. He also was chosen the league's most valuable player in 1927 and 1936, but is best-remembered for incredible streak of consecutive games: over 15 seasons he played in 2130 games without missing one, a record which stood for half a century until it was broken by Cal Ripken in 1995. Lou Gehrig retired after 8 games of the 1939 season and was diagnosed with the degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS -- now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The Yankees held a recognition day for Lou Gehrig on 4 July 1939, during which he spoke to fans and uttered his famous line, "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth." He died two years later in New York.

Extra credit: Wally Pipp, the player Lou Gehrig replaced at the start of his streak, has become a famous bit of baseball trivia... The Yankees retired Gehrig's uniform number 4 in 1939, making him the first Yankee ever to receive that honor... Lou Gehrig was played by actor Gary Cooper in the 1942 film Pride of the Yankees... Gehrig was also nicknamed "Larrupin' Lou" -- "larruping" meaning he walloped the ball... Other famous people with ALS include actor David Niven and physicist Stephen Hawking... Lou Gehrig attended Columbia University in New York from 1921-23, but quit near the end of his sophomore year to sign a professional baseball contract.

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