"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
This sentence has permeated baseball culture since Lou Gehrig uttered those famous words on July 4, 1939, in front of 62,000 eager fans in Yankee Stadium. Since then, millions of fans and non fans have heard and appreciated the devotion of one athlete's courage.
On this date in 1903, the legend was born.
On this date in 1903, The Pride of the Yankees was born. Thinking of you today, Lou . pic.twitter.com/ivMhJlfGER— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 19, 2017
Gehrig announced his diagnosis of ALS to the public on June 19, 1939, and less than one month later, the Yankees dedicated a retirement ceremony to the legendary slugger, where he made his famous speech.
Cooperstown inducted Gehrig into the Hall of Fame the same year he retired, and his No. 4 was the first jersey ever retired by a team in the history of sports.
In 17 seasons with the Yankees, Gehrig hit .340, had 493 home runs, went to seven All-Star games and won six World Series. Gehrig also won the Triple Crown in 1934, a feat only 17 players have ever accomplished.
More than anything, Gehrig transcended baseball and united those across the country with his humanity and love for life.
Gehrig died on June 2, 1941, but his impact and voice continue to live on.
Happy birthday, Lou! We miss you.