The Luckiest Man
They called him “the iron horse.” Seemingly impervious to injury or illness, Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig never missed a game. But in the spring of 1939, his play began to deteriorate. Not wanting to burden the team, Gehrig benched himself; the next month, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). On July 4th, he gave a farewell speech to a sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium.
No complete film or audio of the speech exists, but Gehrig’s words were documented by multiple sources. We wanted to present the speech in its entirety, so we asked our friend Ralph Bouquet to do the voiceover and animator Patrick Smith to interpret the text. Sometimes called “baseball’s Gettysburg Address,” the speech remains a moving testament of graciousness and gratitude in the face of tragedy. Gehrig would die two years later, on June 2, 1941, at the age of 37.