Baseball From the 1920s-1930s

Lou "The Iron Horse" Gehrig and George "Babe" Ruth

Who was Lou Gehrig?

Lou Gehrig was an American Professional baseball player who played for the New York Yankees in the 1920s and 1930s, setting many records, and achieving many things.
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Before one of his games, the photographers took a picture of him leaning against the railing.

What did he Accomplish?

Lou Gehrig set a record by playing in a consecutive streak of 2,130 professional baseball games throughout his career, despite many things that went wrong for him. Such as, 17 fractures in his hands, being beaned several times, having severe back pain and suffering various other illnesses and minor injuries.


Lou Gehrig was not only a great baseball player, but he was also a good person. Lou joined New York’s Parole Board to help the troubled youth in the city. He did a lot for the city of New York and around the community.

Why was he Significant?

He was one of the first people to have known to contract ALS. ALS is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. So technically, it affects your brain, and then that shuts down all of your different parts of your body. He had to live with this when he was in his mid-30s. He then passed when he was 38, in 1941.

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Baseball Star, Lou "The Iron Horse" Gehrig, dies on June 2, 1941.

Letter from Lou Gehrig

HOTEL CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND

Sunday-

Dear Mrs. Neely-

It is with deep regret that I read of your condition, sclerosis. However, the condition in which I am afflicted may differ from the way you are infected, so if I told you of my treatments I might be hurting you instead of helping.

I cannot too strongly urge you to visit Mayo Clinic as soon as you see your way clear. You may feel that you cannot afford it but I can assure you they are the most reasonable institution imaginable - and I'm sure they will find out in short order what will prevent growing worse each year. I too was doctoring with no success, and in less than a month I definitely feel they have checked it for me. I have gained about 8 pounds in the last 3 weeks since my return.

A visit now may seem very expensive, but in the long run I believe you will agree it was the cheapest.

May I wish you every success and a quick recovery.

Respectfully,
Lou Gehrig.

This was a letter written from Lou Gehrig to another person with ALS, who had written Lou 2 weeks before explaining her condition.

"I love to win; but I love to lose almost as much. I love the thrill of victory, and I also love the challenge of defeat."

-Lou Gehrig
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This is a picture of the New York Yankees from a 1920 team picture.

Who was Babe Ruth?

Babe Ruth was an American professional baseball player who had a great career, who accomplished and set many records that are still held today.


What did he Accomplish?

Jack Dunn, the Baltimore Orioles’ owner, came to watch George Herman Ruth in February 1914 when he was playing baseball. He offered a contract to him when he was only 19 at the time. This was the start of the Babe’s career. Babe Ruth started playing professionally in 1914, making his debut on July 11 of the year. He retired in 1935, when he was with the Boston Braves. He signed with the Orioles at first, then went to the Red Sox, and then his career making New York Yankees, and finally the Boston Braves. In Babe’s lifetime, he recorded a number of 714 home runs.


Babe Ruth was a figure in the 1920’s that did so many things. He helped save baseball from the ugly Black Sox scandal, and gave hope to millions during The Great Depression. He impacted the game in a way that was never seen before.

Why was he Significant?

Babe was big and fat, and he loved to eat. This is also what helped him with hitting that many home runs. And he loved the spotlight. He entertained many people with his sense of humor.


He started out as one of the best pitchers in the league. For example, in 1915, he accumulated a 18-8 record with an ERA of 2.44. ERA meaning earned run average during one game of pitching. And then the Yankees realized that his pitching wasn’t the only thing that was great. He was a great hitter. In 1921, he hit 59 home runs, drove in 171 RBI, scored 177 runs, batted .376 and had an unheard of .846 slugging percentage.


Babe Ruth Sings
The 'Babe' singing after one of his games, at a formal party.

"You just can't beat the person who never gives up."

-Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth's Farewell Speech to Baseball

"Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. You know how bad my voice sounds. Well, it feels just as bad. You know, this baseball game of ours comes up from the youth. That means the boys. And after you're a boy and grow up to play ball, then you come to the boys you see representing clubs today in your national pastime. The only real game in the world, I think, is baseball. As a rule, people think that if you give boys a football or a baseball or something like that, they naturally become athletes right away. But you can't do that in baseball. You got to start from way down, at the bottom, when the boys are six or seven years of age. You can't wait until they're 15 or 16. You got to let it grow up with you, if you're the boy. And if you try hard enough, you're bound to come out on top, just as these boys here have come to the top now. There have been so many lovely things said about me today that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to thank everybody. Thank you."

This speech was written by Babe Ruth for April 27th, 1947. It was his farewell speech that he presented to the people.
BABE RUTH'S (1932 WS) CALLED HOME RUN SHOT' RARE VIDEO & COMMENTARY
A Short Documentary on Babe Ruth's Career

Babe Ruth Fun Facts

  1. He was told by Miller Huggins, the manager of the Yanks, a year ago last April that he was slipping as a ball player and was headed for the graveyard of the has-beens.

  2. He sometimes consumes half a dozen mustard-drenched “hot dogs” and several bottles of sarsaparilla in the course of a ball game, imagines he has stomach trouble, and eats great quantities of bicarbonate of soda before almost every game.

  3. does not wear any underwear, winter or summer.

  4. He has a mania for frog hunting and could become the country’s premier frog catcher if he had the time.

  5. He was once helped out of serious financial difficulties by Mrs. Ruth, who was able to write out a check for $65,000, a sum which she had accumulated pin-money fashion without his knowledge.

  6. He made and spent almost a quarter of a million dollars in the year following his home-run record performance.

Lou Gehrig Fun Facts

1. Gehrig was the only one of four children to survive past infancy in the Gehrig family.

2. Lou was a fullback on the football team at Columbia and majored in Engineering.

3. Gehrig’s mother was the cook/housekeeper for the New York Delta (Columbia) Chapter of Phi Delta Theta and his dad was the occasional handyman.

4. The Yankees practically tried giving Gehrig away to the Red Sox, but they were turned down.

5. In 1927, teammates Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth out-homered every team in baseball except one.

6. During Gehrig’s 2,130-game playing streak, he suffered 17 fractures in his hands.

7. Gehrig was the first athlete to have his number retired.

8. Lou averaged 1 RBI per game during his career.

9. After his baseball career and as his health was declining, Gehrig worked to help troubled youths.

10. A World War II ship was named after Gehrig.