Lou Gehrig’s ‘Farewell to Baseball’ Address
Henry Louis (Lou) Gehrig (June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941) was an American Major League Baseball first baseman from New York City. He was nicknamed, The Iron Horse, for his durability and strength. He played his entire 17-year baseball career (1923 – 1939) for the New York Yankees. He set a number of records and mainly remembered for his prowess as a hitter.
It is very unfortunate that he had to bid farewell to the game he loved most when he was 36-years of age due to his illness. He was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in North America.
On July 4th, 1939, The New York Yankees honored their hero, Lou Gehrig. When they asked him to make a speech to the many fans who packed the stadium, he delivered his Farewell to Baseball Address. In that famous, emotion-charged speech, which has been considered the Gettysburg Address of baseball, he shows how humble he is to have played the game of baseball with many great people by using grateful language for his teammates and associates.
Here is the video link to Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Address, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth, delivered on July4, 1939 at New York. His speech is one of the most moving speeches in the history of not only baseball but also in the world of sports. Here is the text of his famous speech:
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?
Sure I’m lucky.
Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Higgins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?
Sure I’m lucky.
When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies– that’s something.
When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter– that’s something.
When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have education and build your body – it’s a blessing.
When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know.
So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.
Two years after he gave his farewell address, Lou Gehrig died. His time may have been cut short, but not his place in the game for his legacy will live for ever. He lives forever in the hearts and minds of baseball fans.