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May 2, 1939: The Day The World Learned About Lou Gehrig’s Disease

It was 75 years ago that Lou Gehrig took himself out of the New York Yankees’ lineup, ending his ironman streak at 2,130 games.

That record was eclipsed by the Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1995.

That’s the thing about records like that. I THINK Ripken’s consecutive games played streak number is 2,632, but I’m not sure.

I KNOW Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs, but I’m only “pretty sure” that Bonds guy hit 763. The original record-holder usually is better remembered.

Gehrig’s remembered for more than just his great play.

The disease that took his life so prematurely is actually called “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” or ALS. But it’s mostly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Not many people are so famous they have only one name, or have a deadly disease named after them. Madonna, Cher and Lou.

He was the luckiest man on the face of the Earth, Gehrig said in his famous speech. Americans back then were luckier for having had Lou to watch and enjoy. And sadly, his legacy lives on.

Thanks, original “Sweet Lou,” with apologies to Lou Whitaker.

Getty Images North America

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