By , Barry Werner
Published August 17, 2017
The New York Yankees and baseball lost one of their greats 75 years ago on June 2, 1941.
Gehrig succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
He famously delivered a speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. Gehrig called himself the "luckiest man on the face of the earth."
The legendary Iron Horse went to college at Columbia University before becoming one of the Bronx Bomber greats.
In a Hall of Fame career, Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games at one point. Overall, he hit 493 home runs, had 2,721 base hits and hit for a career average of .340.
In 17 years he played 2,164 games and scored 1,888 runs. The first baseman won the AL MVP Award twice and finished second on two other occasions. He was a seven-time All-Star, making the team in every season once the midsummer classic began in 1933.
A transcript of the Gehrig speech:
"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 17 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 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."