My former boss was a huge baseball fan and one of his all time heroes was Lou Gehrig. His office wall had several photos of Gehrig along with posters and fan memorabilia. As one of the better known Texas lawyers serving victims of truck accidents he spent a lot of time in court seeking settlements with the large trucking firms that plied the highways of this state. And he is known by many of the judges and defense counselors as a maven on both baseball and Gehrig. Almost all of his partners were baseball fans and all spoke highly of Gehrig – many putting him in the same league as Babe Ruth. So they were extremely pleased to see this project come to fruition.
Lou “Buster” Gehrig played professional baseball as a first baseman for 17 seasons. He was a New York Yankee through & through, playing for the team his entire career from 1923 – 1939. Gehrig was renowned for his hitting prowess & his durability which earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse”. By the end of his career he had been an all star 7 times with an RBI of 1,995 runs. He had a .340 batting average & a .447 on base %. Gehrig was a 6 time World Series champion & he won the triple crown in 1934. This man was a superstar in the sport of baseball being named the MVP in the American league twice. As a matter of fact, his was the very first uniform # ever to be retired & he easily became inducted in the hall of fame in 1939.
Lou Gehrig was on a roll until it came to complete halt in 1939 when he was diagnosed with ALS, a disorder which is now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease here in North America. He first noticed the change during the 1938 season during which he reported being strangely tired & not being able to get it going again. He ended the season above average but below his previous years numbers by a long shot. When spring training started the following year for the Yankees it was clear that Lou Gehrig would no longer be able to take part in the game what so ever. His once formidable power had left him & even his base running was greatly affected. Eventually, he would bench himself because of his coaches reluctance. He knew at that point that his career was over after going so many great seasons he was no longer the same powerhouse he once was.
Eventually, he was diagnosed after 6 days of testing at the Mayo clinic with ALS & the diagnosis was confirmed on his 36th birthday. The prognosis was grim, rapidly increasing paralysis, difficulty speaking or even swallowing & a life expectancy of only 3 years even without impairment of mental function this is a very hard pill to swallow. His wife Eleanor was described the illness. It was said to be of unknown cause but was painless. The doctors told her it was not contagious but it was a cruel disease in which the motor function of the central nervous system is destroyed but the mind remains fully aware to the end.
His condition continued to deteriorate. He was awarded several award & trophies, one of which became his most prized possession. He eventually retired to his home to enjoy his remaining time the best that he could. 2 years after his retirement from baseball Lou Gehrig died in his home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York.