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MLB to Honor Yankees Legend Lou Gehrig on July 4; ‘Luckiest Man Alive’ Speech

June 20th, 2014 at 1:50 PM
By Douglas Rush

On July 4, it will be 75 years since New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig made one of the most famous speeches in baseball history at Yankee Stadium.

Gehrig, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, now known as Lou Gehrig's disease) in the 1939 season and didn't play another major league game again following his last one on May 1 after benching himself on May 2, 1939; ending his consecutive games played streak at 2,130.

On June 21, 1939, after it had found out about his illness, Gehrig opted to retire from baseball. On July 4, 1939, it was dubbed "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" at Yankee Stadium, in which Gehrig was honored and even had his number 4 retired; the first of the many of numbers to be retired by the Yankees and even Babe Ruth made an appearance at the historic event.

During the event, Gehrig gave a speech, which is now known as the "Luckiest Man Speech," declaring that, "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Gehrig lived two more years and passed away on June 2, 1941 at his home in the Bronx at the age of 37.

On July 4, 2014, Major League Baseball will honor Gehrig, as the sport will donate $300,000 to multiple organizations that help fight against ALS. Also on that day, players, managers and umpires everywhere who are playing on that day will wear a commerative patch on their uniforms to honor the former Yankees first basemen and Hall of Famer. Baseball's commissioner Bud Selig made the announcement of the event on Thursday.

''When Lou Gehrig delivered his historic farewell speech at Yankee Stadium 75 years ago, he indelibly linked our national pastime to the fight against the disease that would bear his name,'' Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.

On that day, the Yankees will be in Minneapolis playing the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Tags: Baseball, Lou Gehrig, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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