In 1925, Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp as the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees. Pipp had been the Yankees’ starter for nearly a decade, but Gehrig quickly emerged as one of the best players in the game. He went on to play 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood for nearly 80 years.
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Lou Gehrig’s Career with the Yankees
Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp as the Yankees’ first baseman in 1925. Gehrig went on to have one of the most successful careers in baseball history. He was a seven-time World Series champion, a six-time All-Star, and he won the Triple Crown in 1934. Gehrig’s career came to an abrupt end in 1939 when he was diagnosed with ALS.
His Major League Debut
On June 15, 1925, Gehrig made his Major League debut in a game against the Chicago White Sox. He replaced Wally Pipp at first base. As a 21-year-old rookie, Gehrig batted cleanup and went 0-for-4 at the plate. The Yankees lost the game, 7-3.
His First Full Season
In his first full season as the Yankees’ starting first baseman, Gehrig batted .313 with 20 home runs, 103 RBI, and 47 doubles. He finished second in voting for the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award to Detroit’s Hank Greenberg. On June 3, he hit for the cycle against the St. Louis Browns. Lou Gehrig replaces Wally Pipp as the Yankees’ starting first baseman.
His Best Season
At the age of 25, Gehrig had his best season to date. He hit .373 with 47 home runs and 166 RBIs, all career highs. He also led the league in slugging percentage (.765) and total bases (358). His achievements that year earned him the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award, making him the first Yankee to win the honor.
The End of Gehrig’s Career
On April 18, 1939, Lou Gehrig, who had played in 2,130 consecutive games, took himself out of the lineup. It was the beginning of the end of his career. Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He would only play in two more games before he was forced to retire.
His Final Game
On April 30, 1939, Lou Gehrig played his final major league baseball game. He had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease that attacks the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, a few months earlier. ALS would eventually claim Gehrig’s life two years later, but not before he delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history.
In his Farewell to Baseball address at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, Gehrig said: “Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”
Gehrig was succeeded as Yankees first baseman by Babe Dahlgren. Dahlgren had originally come up to the majors with the Boston Red Sox in 1935 but had been traded to the Yankees in 1938. Dahlgren would go on to play six more seasons in the majors but would never reach the heights that Gehrig had.
On May 2, 1939, Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), now commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” The disease attacks neurons in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually leading to complete paralysis. Doctors told Gehrig that he had two years to live. He chose to retire from baseball rather than continue playing and risk further injury. His retirement speech, given on July 4, 1939, is considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.
Although his career was cut short by disease, Lou Gehrig left a lasting impression on the game of baseball and was one of the most beloved Yankees of all time. A six-time World Series champion, Gehrig was a power hitter and excellent fielder who appeared in 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood for over 50 years. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, just two years after his retirement.
Gehrig’s story is even more remarkable when you consider that he almost didn’t make it to the majors at all. Originally signed by the New York Giants in 1923, Gehrig was traded to the Yankees before he even played a game for them. He made his debut with the Yankees in 1925 and quickly established himself as one of the best players in baseball. His biggest moment came in 1927, when he helped lead the Yankees to their first World Series title.
Gehrig’s consecutive games streak came to an end in 1939, when he was forced to retire due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease that would eventually take his life. He died in 1941 at the age of 37. In his memory, the Yankees retired his uniform number (4) and established the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, given annually to Major League Baseball’s “Iron Man.”
Who Replaced Lou Gehrig on the Yankees?
On May 2, 1939, Lou Gehrig was replaced in the lineup by a fellow named Johnny Murphy. Gehrig had played in 2,130 consecutive games, a record that still stands today. his replacement in the lineup was not the only change the Yankees made that day.
e DiMaggio replaced Lou Gehrig on the Yankees. Gehrig was forced to retire because he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is now commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”
Other Notable Players
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle are just a few of the New York Yankees’ all-time greats. But who were the other notable players that donned the pinstripes?
Billy Martin was a fiery infielder and manager who played for the Yankees from 1950 to 1957. He was a 5-time World Series champion as a player, and also won titles as a manager in 1977 and 1978.
Whitey Ford is another Yankee great. He pitched for the team from 1950 to 1967, winning 6 World Series titles. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Ron Guidry was a left-handed pitcher who played for the Yankees from 1975 to 1988. He won the Cy Young Award in 1978, and helped lead the team to World Series titles in 1977 and 1978.
Don Mattingly was a first baseman who played for the Yankees from 1982 to 1995. A 6-time All-Star, he won the American League batting title in 1984 and is currently the managerial advisor for the Los Angeles Dodgers.