1939 | DETROIT, MICHIGAN – On this date in 1939 the New York Yankees crushed the Detroit Tigers 22 to 2. But the game was more noteworthy for who didn’t play; Lou Gehrig. The Iron horse first baseman voluntarily decided for the good of the team he couldn’t play. He had played every single game for 14 years – 2,130 games! Gehrig’s record of most consecutive games played would stand until Cal Ripken broke it in 1995.
Something really had to be wrong for Gehrig to keep himself out of the lineup on May 2, 1939. Something was.
Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig was born in New York City in 1903. His name was Americanized to Henry Louis Gehrig. He went to Columbia University in New York on a football scholarship, but also played baseball. Gehrig left Columbia to sign with the Yankees.
As legend has it, early in his career, the Yankees offered Gehrig to the Boston Red Sox for a starting pitcher as kind of re-payment for the Babe Ruth deal a few years earlier. The Red Sox didn’t want Gehrig.
Something really had to be wrong for Gehrig to keep himself out of the lineup on May 2, 1939. Something was. It was Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which later became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, had attacked his body. He was too weak to play baseball. His health deteriorated shockingly fast. Henry Louis Gehrig died just two years later.