Lou Gehrig Biography

Lou Gehrig, the legendary American baseball player, was known as the greatest first baseman of all time. From a young age, Gehrig displayed exceptional athletic abilities and a passion for both baseball and football. As the only surviving child, he shared a special bond with his mother. Gehrig’s powerful hitting and massive strokes left spectators in awe. He earned the nickname ‘The Iron Horse’ for his remarkable feat of playing 2130 consecutive matches with the New York Yankees, without missing a single one. However, on his 36th birthday, Gehrig received a devastating diagnosis of ALS disease, with a life expectancy of only three more years. Despite the heartbreaking news, he announced his retirement, leaving fans longing for one last glimpse of their beloved player on the field. A farewell ceremony was held in Yankee Stadium to honor Gehrig, where he delivered a profoundly moving speech. He humbly referred to himself as ‘The Luckiest Man on the Face of Earth’ and expressed gratitude to all who had supported him throughout his journey from an ordinary person to a revered sports icon.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Heinrich Ludwig Gehrig
  • Died At Age: 37
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Eleanor Twitchell (m. 1933–1941)
    • Father: Heinrich Gehrig
    • Mother: Christina Fack
  • Born Country: United States
  • Baseball Players
  • American Men
  • Height: 6’0″ (183 cm)
  • Died on: June 2, 1941
  • Place of Death: Riverdale, New York, United States
  • Ancestry: German American
  • Diseases & Disabilities: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Cause of Death: Neurological Disease
  • U.S. State: New Yorkers
  • More Facts
  • Education: Columbia College

Childhood & Early Life

He was born on June 19, 1903 in East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan to Heinrich Gehrig, an art-metal mechanic and Christina Gehrig, a housemaid. He was the only one to have survived out of four children in his family. His two sisters died of whooping cough whereas his brother died in infancy. His father was an alcoholic and mostly unemployed; his mother worked as a maid, cook and launderer to support the family and raise him. He was a gifted athlete and showcased his skills in football and baseball. At the age of 16, he was enlisted for a summer job in Otis Elevator Company in New York and was the pitcher of the company baseball team. He completed his graduation from Commerce High School in 1921 and then went to Columbia University, to pursue a career in engineering.


In 1921, he started his career in Baseball when he was advised by John McGraw, New York Giants manager, to play for Hartford Senators. But he was banned from collegiate sports for a year as it was against the rules of the college to play for a professional baseball team. A year later in 1922, he returned to college and got involved in the college sports team where he played as a fullback for Lions football team. In 1923, he signed his first professional contract for $1500 with the Yankees after being observed for some months by Paul Krichell of New York Yankees Scout. He returned to Hartford and played for two seasons in 1923 and 1924. In June 2, 1925 he replaced Wally Pipp, first baseman of Yankees, who suffered a concussion after being hit during a practice just before the match. Pipp recovered but was not able to return to his position in the team and Lou went on to make history. He formed a fierce duo with Baby Ruth, another powerful teammate, hitting massive home-runs and winning loads of matches for their team. Their team was popularly named ‘The Murderer’s Row’ because of their strong lineup. His team won World Series several times during the years in which he played for them from 1923 to 1938. In spite of having concussions, back pains and other injuries, he never missed a game for his team. In the year 1939, his health declined and he was diagnosed with ALS disease, a devastating disorder that strips nerve cells of their ability to interact with the body’s muscles. He announced his retirement thereafter accepting a job as the New York City Parole Commissioner.

Awards & Achievements

He won the award for ‘American League All Star’ seven times in his career from 1933-1939. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after his retirement. The Yankees retired his uniform number ‘4’, making him the first person in history of ‘Major Baseball League’ to receive this honor. He created a world record by playing a total of 2130 consecutive games for his team through 15 years of his career, a record which stood for 56 years. He finished with 493 home runs, 535 doubles, 162 triples, a .340 batting average and 1,990 RBIs–third-highest among all major leaguers.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1933, he married Eleanor Twitchell, the daughter of Chicago Park commissioner. The couple did not have any children. On July 4, 1939 a farewell ceremony was held at the Yankee stadium to commemorate this legendary sportsman for his astonishing achievements. Wearing his uniform and standing in his place of worship, he delivered a heart wrenching speech to a sold out crowd paying tribute to his family, friends, mentors and the spectators. He addressed himself as ‘The Luckiest Man on the Face of Earth’ to have received such an immense amount of love and honor from everyone. On June 2, 1941 he died in his sleep. His wife never remarried and dedicated her life to support the ALS research.


ALS disease is also known as ‘Gehrig’s disease’, the only disease in the world to be named after its patient.

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