Major League Baseball announced that they will hold an annual "Lou Gehrig Day" on June 2 beginning this season to commemorate the former Yankee first baseman's battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which became known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
To commemorate the day, all players, managers and coaches will have a patch on their jerseys to honor Gehrig, and red wristbands will be available to wear that read "4-ALS", a nod to Gehrig's No. 4 jersey. All ballparks will also display the "4-ALS" logo, per MLB.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to celebrate the legacy of Lou Gehrig, whose humility and courage continue to inspire our society," said commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. "While ALS has been closely identified with our game since Lou’s legendary career, the pressing need to find cures remains. We look forward to honoring all the individuals and families, in baseball and beyond, who have been affected by ALS and hope Lou Gehrig Day advances efforts to end this disease,"
Lou Gehrig retired from baseball with 493 home runs and 1,995 RBI. (Photo: TOM SANDE-AP)
With a day dedicated to him, Gehrig joins Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as the only baseball players who are annually celebrated league-wide. The date, June 2, is the day that Gehrig became the starting first baseman for the Yankees in 1925.
He went on to play 2,130 consecutive games over 13 seasons, which included two AL MVP Awards, seven All-Star Game appearances, a triple crown and six World Series titles. On July 4, 1939, he gave his famous farewell speech weeks after his diagnosis with the disease, when he proclaimed he was the, "the luckiest man on the face of this earth." He died in 1941 at the age of 37.
June 2 will forever be known as Lou Gehrig Day.
Each year, we will celebrate his legacy and honor those we’ve lost to ALS. Together, we will help in the fight against this disease. #4ALSpic.twitter.com/jFP0Z7ym6L
ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease where people lose the ability to control their muscles, such as the ability to walk, talk and breathe. Awareness for the disease was big in 2014 with the Ice Bucket Challenge, started by Pete Frates as he began his battle with the disease. Stephen Piscotty, Oakland Athletics outfielder whose mother died of ALS complications, said his mother would be thrilled that MLB will raise awareness for the disease.
"“Lou Gehrig Day will honor Lou’s accomplishments on the field, but also help millions understand this devastating disease that has claimed far too many of us, including my mother. Before she passed, she did everything she could to raise awareness of ALS," Piscotty said in a statement. "Hopefully this awareness will help lead to a cure.”
Contact Jordan Mendoza at [email protected] or on Twitter @jord_mendoza
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