An Awful Lot to Live For 408


Pauline and I are in New York City for a business/personal trip.

More precisely, we are in Manhattan with all the noise, grime, traffic and tourist traps that abound here.

Despite the other distractions, I can only think of a baseball player who was born in Yorkville,Manhattan.

Yorkville today is among the most affluent areas in New York City, but back in 1903 it was a working class neighbourhood and the preferred residential area for German speaking immigrants; immigrants such as Heinrich Ludwig Gehrig who was born there in June 1903. Heinrich was the son of German immigrant parents and was the only child of four to survive past infancy.

The anglicized version of his name is Henry Louis, but he was known as Lou – to distinguish him from his father, also called Heinrich/Henry.

Lou Gehrig is now known for many things, not least of which is his truly astonishing baseball career: he was a contemporary of both Babe Ruth in the mid 1920s and Joe DiMaggio in the mid to late 1930s, and still holds MLB batting records to this day.

Today though we just want to remember his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939.

15 days previously on June 19 – his birthday – Lou Gehrig had been diagnosed with ALS. He died less than two years later.

Our son Tony was officially diagnosed with ALS on October 3, 2011, and eerily, that was also his birthday.

The title of this article are the last words Lou Gehrig spoke in his farewell speech.

This 2 min 35 sec long video is an MLB tribute to that speech, to the sentiment within it, and of course to the man.


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