Lou Gehrig’s legacy celebrated every day at Hall of Fame
With the news that Major League Baseball will celebrate Lou Gehrig Day on June 2, the date of his passing will become an annual celebration of his singular legacy.
The slugging Yankees first baseman is noted for his consecutive games played streak and remembered for his life’s tragic end due to a disease that would bear his name. His accomplishments and what he stands for as an icon of American sports culture have long been a pillar of the Hall of Fame’s guest experience.
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Through the Hall of Fame’s educational efforts, lessons of Gehrig’s character continue to influence young baseball fans. “Character Education: The Iron Horse” is one of 16 educational curriculum modules available for free on the Hall of Fame’s website and delivered to students both here in Cooperstown and across the country virtually.
Jonathan Eig, author of the 2005 bestseller Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, may have explained Gehrig’s greatness the best.
“The entire 1938 season, you could make a case, was the most remarkable of all Gehrig’s challenges he had to overcome because he’s basically playing much, if not all, of the season with the symptoms of ALS,” Eig said. “I think it’s a type of courage to persevere and to keep yourself going and to never give up. Certainly when he’s facing symptoms of ALS he doesn’t know it yet. He’s clearly a sick man, a dying man, and he’s playing on.
“That’s some of the greatest courage that we’ve ever seen on a baseball field, in my opinion. I think it’s right up there with what Jackie Robinson did.”
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum