*1925 | NEW YORK, NEW YORK – On this date in 1925 twenty-one year old Henry Louis Gehrig pinched hit for New York Yankee shortstop Paul Wanninger. It was the start of something special. Lou Gehrig would play in every single game for the next 14 years. He would surpass Everett Scott‘s consecutive game record of 1,307 and set his own of 2,130 consecutive games played.
The oft-repeated story is that Gehrig’s streak began when New York Yankee first baseman Wally Pipp asked for a day off because of a headache. Another story is Yankee manager Miller Huggins didn’t start Pipp and several other regulars that day to shake up a slumping lineup. Either story may be true. Gehrig did start at first in place of Pipp, but it was the second day of his streak, June 2nd.
Interestingly, the guy Gehrig pinch hit for on June 1st to start his streak, Paul Wanninger, several years earlier had replaced former consecutive game record holder Everett Scott in the Yankee lineup.
Gehrig’s consecutive game streak ended sadly in 1939. He was forced out of the lineup by a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), now more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. His seemingly unbreakable record would stand for 56 years. It was broken by Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles in 1995.
June 1, 1925
ESPN on Gehrig
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.