On April 30th 1939, the day Hitler died, Lou Gehrig played his last game for the New York Yankees. It was the end of a fourteen year, 2,130 consecutive game run. The Yankees retired his Number 4 shirt – the first time this was done in the MLB.
I’m ending the month with a found poem – this is compiled by Lou Gehrig’s retirement speech at Yankee Stadium, 4th July 1939.
The Luckiest Man on Earth
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.
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
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.
The inscription on the trophy his team mates presented him with read as follows:
“We’ve been to the wars together;
We took our foes as they came;
And always you were the leader,
And ever you played the game.
Idol of cheering millions,
Records are yours by sheaves;
Iron of frame they hailed you
Decked you with laurel leaves.
But higher than that we hold you,
We who have known you best;
Knowing the way you came through
Every human test.
Let this be a silent token
Of lasting Friendship’s gleam,
And all that we’ve left unspoken;
Your Pals of the Yankees Team.”
Thank you Lou!