Friday, May 2, 2014

Yankees' Lou Gehrig Game Streak Ends


On May 2, 1939, that Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak ended.  The streak was halted at 2,130 after Gehrig sat out a game against the Detroit Tigers, which the Yankees would go on to win by a score of 22-2.

Yankees Captain Lou Gehrig giving his famous speech after he retired from baseball.
Gehrig’s consecutive games streak would be one of his greatest achievements and perhaps the most notable highlight of his career.  He became known for his durability and perseverance, as his streak saw him play through several injuries.  For example, on July 13, 1934, Gehrig suffered a “lumbago attack” and had to be assisted off the field.  The following day he was listed at shortstop and batted in the leadoff position.  Following his first at bat of the game, he was replaced and given the rest of the game off to heal his aching back.

Gehrig’s record would stand until September 6, 1995, when Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles would play in his 2,131 consecutive games.  When Gehrig first established his record of 2,130 consecutive games, many thought it would never be broken.  Despite that not being the case, it did stand for a remarkable 56 years.
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 a .340 batting average, with 493 home runs, 2,721 hits and 1,995 RBIs. He 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 (January 6, 1940); his July 4, 1939, fans voted farewell speech 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, he 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.
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.
Gehrig was also the first athlete ever to appear on a box of Wheaties