The first famous athlete to go public with a major health condition, baseball great Lou Gehrig had his career cut short by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease affecting motor neurons. Gehrig was so loved and well-known that ALS became known worldwide. The disease is now commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
Gehrig played his last game for the Yankees on April 30, 1939. Following his retirement from baseball, Lou Gehrig wrote, “Don’t think I am depressed or pessimistic about my condition at present”. He added as his situation got worst, “I intend to hold on as long as possible and then if the inevitable comes, I will accept it philosophically and hope for the best. That’s all we can do.”
Gehrig died at his home in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York.
Upon hearing the news, Babe Ruth and his wife Claire went to the Gehrig house to console Eleanor. Mayor La Guardia ordered flags in New York to be flown at half-staff. Also, major-league ballparks around the nation did likewise.
Eleanor Grace Twitchell Gehrig, wife f Lou Gehrig was a spirited young woman. She was from a well-to-do Chicago family who met the straight-laced star player for the Yankees in Comiskey Park. Eleanor married him after a long-distance courtship.
The Gehrigs had no children during their eight-year marriage. Eleanor never remarried and was quoted as saying, “I had the best of it. I would not have traded two minutes of my life with that man for 40 years with another.” She dedicated her rest of the life-supporting the research on ALS.
Related article: American Football Outside Linebacker : Von B’Vsean Miller Jr