On the 80th anniversary of his untimely death, Major League Baseball will mark the first Lou Gehrig Day today.
As part of a new annual tribute going forward, all Major League players, managers and coaches will wear a special Lou Gehrig patch on the chest of their jerseys and red “4-ALS” (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) wristbands. The “4-ALS” logos will also be displayed in each home club’s ballpark throughout the day.
The patch, which is slightly different from the logo for the event, shows a graphic rendering of Gehrig wearing the Yankees road uniform with navy blue cap at the plate, holding a bat, waiting for a pitch. This is placed within a navy blue rectangle, below is the name of the event LOU GEHRIG DAY in grey and blue as well as the MLB logo, today’s date, and “4-ALS”.
Any club with an off-day today, such as the Angels and Royals, will instead mark the day with their on-field tributes being held during tomorrow’s games.
ALS Advocate Steve Gleason will be featured in a special ballpark moment highlighted during the 4th inning (or pregame in some ballparks) of all Lou Gehrig Day games. During this moment, a video created especially for Lou
Gehrig Day will be shown to offer a glimpse into Gleason’s own voice as he recites a part of Gehrig’s famous “Luckiest Man” retirement speech.
In addition to the patches and in-stadium recognition, Major League Baseball will hold a series of fundraising efforts aimed at supporting charitable organizations, notably the Expanded Access Protocol (EAP) program at the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital (Healey Center for ALS).
Individual Clubs will continue to work directly with, and fundraise for, national or local organizations that they have historically supported. Additionally, fans can donate directly to the Healey Center for ALS at MLB.com/4ALS and MLB will run a special charitable auction at https://auctions.mlb.com to benefit the Healey Center for ALS. The auction will feature 30 autographed and authenticated Lou Gehrig Day Commemorative Baseballs (one for each MLB Club).
The list of Gehrig’s accomplishments on the ballfield during his short life are well known and could fill an entire article — but for those unaware, Gehrig was a charter member of the Hall of Fame who spent his entire 17-year career with the Yankees. He smashed 493 home runs, hit .340 over his career with 2,721 base hits, and, of course set the record for most consecutive games played with 2,130 earning him the nickname Ironhorse. Gehrig was forced to retire in 1939 after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease), which would eventually take his life two years later at just 37 years of age.