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Henry Louis "Buster" Gehrig (born Heinrich Ludwig Gehrig; June 19, 1903 – June 2, 1941) was an American baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, from 1923 through 1939. Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, a trait that earned him his nickname "The Iron Horse". He was an All-Star seven consecutive times, a Triple Crown winner once, an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player twice, and a member of six World Series champion teams. He had a career .340 batting average, .632 slugging average, and a .447 on base average. He hit 493 home runs and had 1,995 runs batted in (RBI). In 1939, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was the first MLB player to have his uniform number (4) retired by a team.
A native of New York City and attendee of Columbia University, Gehrig signed with the Yankees in 1923. He set several major league records during his career, including the most career grand slams (23) (since broken by Alex Rodriguez) and most consecutive games played (2,130), a record that stood for 56 years and was long considered unbreakable until surpassed by Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1995. Gehrig's streak ended on May 2, 1939, when he voluntarily took himself out of the lineup to stunned fans after his play was hampered by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an incurable neuromuscular disorder now commonly referred to in North America as Lou Gehrig's disease. The disease forced him to retire at age 36 and was the cause of his death two years later. The pathos of his farewell from baseball was capped off by his iconic 1939 "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech at Yankee Stadium.
Gehrig was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association in 1969, and was the leading vote-getter on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team chosen by fans in 1999. A monument in Gehrig's honor, originally dedicated by the Yankees in 1941, currently resides in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award is given annually to the MLB player best exhibiting his integrity and character.
Last Updated: May 31, 2017