Gehrig's wife, Eleanor, said, "On the ball field, he wasn't just dedicated; he was fanatical." She would know. Everyone
Wally Pipp, the Yankee entrenched at first base when Gehrig joined, selflessly worked Gehrig hard to improve the kid's
fielding and base coverage. The extra practice and superior guidance helped lead Gehrig not only to regular appearance in
the lineup, but also to the reputation of being the one of the best first baseman in MLB history.
While Gehrig's reputation of a good boy usually remained unquestioned, he did get into a tiff or two. On September 21,
1924, during his first year in a Yankee jersey, he was ejected from a game for retaliating against Ty Cobb, the Detroit player/manager
who, characteristically, was chiding Gehrig for one thing or another from the visitors dugout. In Gehrig's entire career,
he was ejected from a handful of games.
Gehrig was a more aggressive base runner than his off-field shyness seemed to prove, which made up for not being a fast
runner. On June 24, 1925, Gehrig achieved his first stolen base - home plate. How's that for aggressive? He would go on to
steal home 15 times in his career, 7 steals taken in the month of June (Happy 1st-Steal Anniversary). Lifetime 103 stolen
bases, 23 being double steals.
His second World Series, in 1927, was a mere 2 years after becoming a lineup regular, but Gehrig showed professionalism
all around. Probably a trick Wally Pip taught him, Gehrig spent the first pre-game in the visitors stadium measuring out the
distance from the right field wall to first base, so he would know exactly how many steps to allow himself in case he needed
to run after a foul fly. The trick worked, Gehrig catching fouls in that area 3 times, one of which he caught as he toppled
over the wall.
Based on his performance behind the bat and beyond the bat in the '27 Series, he was bound to do even better in every Series
he played in. The Yankees went to Series 7 times during Gehrig's tenure; 6 times they won.
MVP awards aren't passed out on a whim. The player has to earn it, prove he deserves to even be nominated. Gehrig was voted
AL MVP in 1927 and 1936.
Ruth was the highest paid player of his time. Gehrig, who many believe was a better all around player and more valuable
to the sake of the team, never made more than $40,000 per year/season. The highest he was ever paid was $39,000, in 1935,
even though he and owner Colonel Ruppert were in a stalemate for days because Gehrig wanted an even $40,000.
Gehrig was elected Yankee captain in 1939. He retired in July. He was unanimously elected into the Hall of Fame the same
year. This is special for one main reason: he was inducted the same year he retired. Normally there is a mandatory waiting
period between retirement and induction. In his case, however, the rules of admission were waived, allowing him to live to
see his name in the Hall (he was quickly dying of ALS when he retired).
He was the first player of any sport to have his jersey number retired. Yankees #4 will always be synonymous with Lou Gehrig