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Today is the 75th anniversary of the greatest sports related speech ever made and one of the greatest speeches of all time by a truly great man. After one of the indisputably greatest baseball players of all time had his career cut short by ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) he stood before his fans and declared himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth" who had merely "been given a bad break."
There is not a professional sports player, Hollywood celebrity or everyday man or woman who could not learn something from the humble grace displayed by Lou Gehrig.
"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 seventeen 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 that 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. Thank you."
--Lou Gehrig at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939
Read more about Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium at ESPN. Click on the MLB logo above for the league's video tribute. Or, consider making a donation to the ALS Association.Posted by Don |
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