Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it will hold an annual Lou Gehrig Day starting this season on June 2.
Gehrig joins Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as the lone former Major League Baseball players whose legacies are celebrated annually with specific league-wide days of remembrance.
June 2 honors Gehrig as it marked the start of his 2,130 consecutive games played streak with the New York Yankees as well as the day he died from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with no cure. People with ALS endure gradual loss of muscle movement, speech, swallowing and eventually breathing.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to celebrate the legacy of Lou Gehrig, whose humility and courage continue to inspire our society,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a prepared 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.”
Per the release from Major League Baseball, “the focus of Lou Gehrig Day will be on three pillars: (1) remembering the legacy of Gehrig and all those lost to the disease that bears his name; (2) raising awareness and funds for research of ALS; and (3) celebrating the groups and individuals who have led the pursuit for cures.”
Gehrig, who died at 37 in 1941, batted .340 with 493 home runs and 1,995 RBIs in 17 seasons with the Yankees (1923-39). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939 by a special election.
–Field Level Media