(Edited with care and respect by Kaden)
Written by Lonnie Woods
I am a 56-year-old fellow now, but when I was only 8 or 9 I knew that if I ever had a son, his name would be Lou. My son,
Gehrig Louis Woods, was born on the 5th of September 1977. "Why Lou?" I cannot really explain this. I can remember watching
Pride of the Yankees on our little 10 inch black and white TV set in 1958 or '59. I remember the tears rolling down
my cheeks as Gary Cooper recited the farewell/"luckiest man" speech that Lou had given in front of 60,000 beloved and somber
fans in July 1939 at Yankee Stadium. Here was a man dying a slow agonizing death, and, yet, he considered himself lucky. Again,
I cannot explain this.
Even though the man died 9 years before I was born, I felt as if I knew him. He became my "hero" not only in baseball,
but in everyday life also. He rarely sought the spotlight, and neither do I. He was also a "quiet man," as I try to be also.
I have had many, many dreams about him, have visited Yankee Stadium once, His Grave twice, and the Hall Of Fame 3 times. Because I live in Alabama, this is a long drive, but I enjoyed each visit to New York.
His famous number 4 became my uniform number during my ballplaying days. I use it in connection with my e-mail Hotmail address.
I have 4 diamonds on my specially made wedding ring. There were 4 in my family, however I have been widowed for some time
Sometime around December 1968, or January 1969, I wrote Mrs. Gehrig (Eleanor) a fan letter. She responded in kind with
a letter back to me. Of course, I treasure this letter to this day. I have a 1933 Goudy Card of Lou, bought for $4.00 in 1976, another treasure to keep and pass on down to the kids. I also have many photos and
magazines featuring Lou, but it's The Letter from "Mrs. Lou" that I treasure the most.
Now, as time goes onward, I have 4 grandsons, one of whom is named Gehrig Austin. A tribute to me, his dad, and
again, Lou Gehrig, the "Quiet Hero."
Years ago, during my high school days, I "lost" the book about Lou which I had checked out of the school library. I paid
for it, of course, and still treasure it today. I had that book so memorized that I could let anyone read a sentence on any
page and I would tell them the sentence before and after it.
I have visited a museum in St. Augustine, Florida. There is a "wax" statute of Mr. Gehrig there. This figure shows a bruise
on the side of Lou's head, something I didnt know about until I made this visit about 20 years ago.
In closing, to this day, I still cannot explain my fondness for a man who died long before I was even born and also
lived many, many miles away from me. But, with a "hero" like Lou Gehrig, how can a person go wrong?
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