The Day the Crowd Fell Silent

80 years later, Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech still strikes a poignant chord

Image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal
Gehrig with a young fan. Image courtesy of

“They’re wishing me luck — and I’m dying” — Lou Gehrig, 1939

Gehrig officially retired from baseball just two days after his ALS diagnosis. And on July 4, 1939, the New York Yankees held a “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day” at Yankee Stadium.

Lou Gehrig struggles to fight back tears as he speaks, 1939. Image courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame

“Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” — Lou Gehrig, July 4th, 1939

Gehrig would pass away less than two years later, just 37 years old. Today, he is remembered as one of the finest baseball players to have ever played the game. But more than that, he is remembered as a good man. His quiet strength, his optimism, his kindness — the name “Lou Gehrig” stirs thoughts of such noble characteristics.

Occasional Writer, Full-Time Student at Campbell University, and Editor of Exploring Economics

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