Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Horse before The Man

Even casual fans of Baseball are familiar with Cal Ripkin Jr., “The Iron Man” of Baseball, however, many forget the man whose record he broke, Lou Gehrig, “The Iron Horse.” Until of course they hear about the rare disorder that bears his name: “Lou Gehrig's Disease,” or “ALS.” Tragically, the disease ended his career at age 36 in 1939, and his consecutive games streak at 2,130. His consecutive streak, in my opinion, has even more meaning in that he played the last seasons with the disease probably already present, but, undetected. All the while continuing to amass records. He hit a career .340, hit 493 home runs, won a World Series six times, and was an All-Star seven times, to name just a few. If you ever want to see a grown American man cry like a baby, watch with him the Baseball movie classic: “The Pride of the Yankees,” starring Gary Cooper. You even get a great peak at the actual Babe Ruth, playing himself. The unassuming grace, determination, and dignity that Gehrig played his entire career was epitomized by what became known as “The Gettysburg Address of Baseball,” at a sold out Yankees Stadium on July 4th, 1939.

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
When you look around, wouldn't you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine looking men as are standing in uniform in this ballpark today? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.
When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift—that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies—that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter—that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body—it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed—that's the finest I know.
So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.” Clips from speech on YouTube

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