Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4, 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.

Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? 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."

-Lou Gehrig, terminally ill at age 36 with ALS (aka Motor Neuron Disease), in his retirement speech. He died less than 2 years later.

This is likely the worst disease in neurology, if not all of medicine. It's been 200 years since the first published report on it, and effective treatment remains a mystery.

If you're looking for a cause to give money to, consider the ALS Association.


Anonymous said...

I think Lou Gehrig was an American hero, who celebrated his independence from despair eloquently in this essay.

Ms. Donna said...

Thank you.

A. Marie said...

Bravo to Dr. Grumpy, for posting this today.

And bravos ad infinitum for Lou Gehrig in Valhalla, for saying those words and living as well as it was possible to live under those circumstances. I've needed encouragement today, and this post has provided it.

lemon curry said...

Thank you for posting this. My little brother, my only brother, has ALS. He will be 36 this year and has a wife and 4 young children. He has been accepted into a study that uses the patient's own stem cells to treat it. Hopefully he gets the real thing and not placebo.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. It's been a mind-tickler.

In this 'day and age' when we're assaulted with one 'sound-bite' after the other and scurry along to the next topic, it's nice to go back and remember ... that when we hear 'all men are created equal' and get cynical and think about a saying attributed to George Orwell of 'Animal Farm' "except, some are more 'equal' than others", we still have choices about this equality. There are segments of society, that continue, still, to serve, and to work (and fight) for the meaning of equality, such as research in ALS.

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