Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gehrig Hits His Final Grand Slam

On Aug. 20, 1938 Hall of Famer and New York Yankees great Lou Gehrig hits his last grand slam of his career, a Major League Baseball record, 23.

Since only one player as tied Gehrig’s feat, another current Yankee, Alex Rodriguez who also has 23 in his career.

Of current players on the list with most all-time grand slams Rodriguez, 23, Jason Giambi, 14, Travis Hafner, 12, Raul Ibanez, 11, Robinson Cano, 8, Mark Teixeria, 8, Nick Swisher, 7, Lance Berkman, 6, Curtis Granderson, 6, Vernon Wells, 6, Eric Chavez, 5, Alfonso Soriano, 5, Russell Martin, 4, Ichiro Suzuki, 4, are on or have played on the Yankees at one point in their career.

Of the players with more than 10 grand slams in their career Jorge Posada, 10, Dave Winfield, 11, Bernie Williams, 11, Tino Martinez, 11, Reggie Jackson, 11, Cecil Fielder, 11, Don Baylor, 13, Gary Sheffield, 13, Joe DiMaggio, 13, Babe Ruth, 16, Dave Kingman, 16 played on the Yankees.

Gehrig goes down as one of the greatest players to ever don the Yankee’s pin-stripes and the nickname “Iron Horse” for the consecutive games played streak had his career cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disorder now commonly known in the United States and Canada as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Despite the debilitating disease Gehrig finished his career with 2,164 games played with a .340 batting average, with 2,721 hits, with 534 doubles, 163 triples, and 493 home runs. He also had 1,995 RBIs, 1,888 runs scored, 1,508 walks, 102 stolen bases and stuck out 790 times in his career.

Gehrig lead the league in games played seven times, including not missing a game for 13-consecutive seasons. He led the league in RBIs five times, with his highest single season total coming in 1931 with 184. He led the league in runs scored four times with his highest single season total coming in 1936 with 167. He also led the league in home runs three times, with his highest single season total coming in 1934 and 1936 when he hit 49 home runs. Gehrig also led the league in walks three times with his highest single season total coming in 1935 with 132 walks.

Gehrig led the league in doubles twice, with his highest single season total coming 1927 with 52. He led the league in triples once with his highest single season total coming in 1926 with 20.

Gehrig also led the league in batting average once, with his highest single season total coming in 1930 when he hit .379. However, he did not lead the league that year.

Gehrig was a seven-time All-Star, a six-time World Series Champion with the Yankees. He also won two MVP awards in 1927 and 1936. He was the Yankees captain from 1935 to 1938 and the Yankees retired his no. 4 jersey on July 4, 1939. He became the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired on January 6, 1940; his July 4, 1939 farewell to baseball speech, fans voted as the fifth-greatest moment in Major League Baseball history in 2002.

Gehrig won a triple crown in 1934 batting .363 with 49 home runs and 165 RBIs, but did not win the MVP award that year. He became the only player in MLB history to collect 400 total bases in five seasons as he did so in 1927, 1930, 1931, 1934 and 1936.

With St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial, Gehrig is only one of two players with at least 500 doubles, 150 triples and 450 home runs in his career. He is also only one of four players with Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Musial to end career with a minimum .330 batting average with 450 home runs and 1,800 RBIs. He is also only one of two players to hit 40 doubles and 40 home runs in the same season three separate times.

The Yankees dedicated a monument to Gehrig in center field at Yankee Stadium on July 6, 1941, the shrine lauding him as, "A man, a gentleman and a great ballplayer whose amazing record of 2,130 consecutive games should stand for all time." Gehrig's monument joined the one placed there in 1932 to Miller Huggins, which would eventually be followed by Babe Ruth's in 1949.

Gehrig's birthplace in Manhattan, at 1994 Second Avenue (near E. 103rd Street), is memorialized with a plaque marking the site, as is another early residence on E. 94th Street (near Second Avenue).

(As of 26/12/2011, the first mentioned plaque is not present due to ongoing construction. The second mentioned plaque is present, but ascribes to his birthplace, not early residence.) The Gehrigs' white house at 5204 Delafield Avenue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, where Lou Gehrig died, still stands today on the east side of the Henry Hudson Parkway and is likewise marked by a plaque.

Gehrig was named a member of the MLB All-Century team in 1999, MLB All-Time team in 1997 and was inducted into Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 through a special election.
Also in 1999, editors at Sporting News ranked Lou Gehrig sixth on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players."

Gehrig was also the first athlete ever to appear on a box of Wheaties.