Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lou Gehrig's 2,130 Consecutive Game Streak Ends May 2, 1939

On This Day in History May 2, 1939: New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig's streak of 2,130 consecutive games played which began on June 1, 1925, came to an end when the ailing slugger removed himself from the lineup. Gehrig was replaced at first base by Babe Dahlgren.

The article Gehrig Voluntarily Ends Streak at 2,130 Straight Games by James P. Dawson from the New York Times dated May 3, 1939 quotes Gehrig:
Gehrig visibly affected explained his decision, quite frankly.
Gehrig and Dahlgren
"I decided last Sunday night on this move," said Lou. "I haven't been a bit of good to the team since the season started. It would not be fair to the boys, to Joe or to the baseball public for me to try going on. In fact, it would not be fair to myself, and I am the last consideration.
"Its tough to see your mates on base, have a chance to win a ball game, and not be able to do anything about it. McCarthy has been swell about it all the time. He'd let me go until the cows came home, he is that considerate of my feelings, but I knew in Sunday's game that I should get out of there. 
"I went up there four times with men on base. Once there were two there. A hit would have won the game for the Yankees, but I missed, leaving five stranded as the Yankees lost. Maybe a rest will do me some good. Maybe it won't. Who knows? Who can tell? I'm just hoping."
It is refreshing to see a professional athlete come right out and say that they can't do it anymore and to continue to do so would provide a disservice to the team and the paying public. It is even more refreshing to read about Gehrig putting everyone ahead of himself which contrasts highly to today's "Me Me Me" environment we find ourselves living it. It makes you wonder how the media would have treated Gehrig's decline in he had played today.

Gehrig would not play another game after his last game on April 30, 1939. Gehrig would be the diagnosed with the disease that would bear his name, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on June 19th, which was Gehrig's 36th birthday. Gehrig would succumb to the disease less than two years later on June 2, 1941.

The game of Baseball would never be the same.

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading:
- The official website for Lou Gehrig
- Lou Gehrig's official statistics from Baseball Reference