Today is the 4th of July, a time for fireworks and celebrations. (For me it will be 14 hours of questions about the time and place of the fireworks, but that's another story.) If you want to read what I had to say about the first American 4th of July (which was really July 2, 1776) check out my article yesterday at Lefty Pop.
Today I would like to remember another 4th of July.
75 years ago today the greatest first baseman of all time, stood at home plate of Yankee Stadium and said goodbye to his sport and his fans. Only a few weeks earlier, Gehrig had learned he had ALS. The disease was little understood by the public, many thought it was a kind of polio (It is actually a form of Muscular Dystrophy). He knew, even if the fans did not, that the disease would be relentlessly progressive.
The team had chosen the 4th of July (for a baseball team the biggest series of their season) to honor their team captain. The great Yankees who had been his teammates, including Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio stood along the baselines, but the crowd had eyes only for Gehrig. He was given a trophy by the team, and speeches were made, and then it was Gehrig's turn.
|credit: NY Daily News|
This is what he said: