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Lou Gehrig adored movies. To him they were an escape from the pressures of family and the ever-demanding role as a Yankee. He preferred low-grade Westerns and to sit in the back alone. Chances are scant that while he sat there eating candy watching shoot-'em-ups he foresaw generation after generation sitting in theaters hearing to his name through the sound system.

All Gehrig fans worth their title know about the biographical film Pride of the Yankees, which was released in 1942, a year after Gehrigs death, with its unforgettable final shot of Gary Cooper (Gehrig) walking alone through the dugout and into the dark tunnel. Some know about the horrible Western that Gehrig starred in, Rawhide, in 1938 (for details, read Redicovering Gehrig by Watching Rawhide). There was a second biographical movie, focusing on Gehrig and his wife, released as a made-for-TV feature in the late 1970s. A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story starring Blythe Danner and Edward Hermann was based on Eleanors autobiography. While these are the three films most people associate with Gehrig's name, words, and/or likeness has made a number of cameos over the years. Here's a list of films Gehrig has vicariously played a part in:

Mermaids (1990) - Mrs. Flax, played by Cher, falls for a man named Lou (Bob Hoskins). Lou is a huge baseball fan, and, as might be expected from a man named Lou, loves Lou Gehrig. He says that among his many desires in life is to own Gehrig's glove. He comes very close to his dream by seeing Gehrig's glove during a trip to the Hall of Fame.

The Goonies (1985) - Schoolboy Mikie (Sean Astin) is trapped in a cave with 6 of his friends trying to find gold. They come upon the skeleton of an explorer who had been killed in the cave in 1937. Mikie finds the explorer's journal and examines the Lou Gehrig baseball card that is tucked inside it. An interesting side note: the card is supposed to be pre-1937; however, the card Mikie finds was actually printed in the early 1970s.

The Scout (1994) - Al Percolo (Albert Brooks) plays a Yankee scout who tries to convince a very hesitant couple to allow their son to play baseball on the college level. Part of his argument was that Lou Gehrig went to college. The mother says that Gehrig also had some horrible disease. "Yes," Al says, "but he didnt get it in college."

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - Over Christmas dinner, Gehrigs famous luckiest man line is quoted, complete with a makeshift echo effect. "Its baseball," an uncle says. "A historical reference."

A League of Their Own (1992) - Dottie Hensen (Gina Davis) is the Queen of Diamonds of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She is described as an essential player who "plays like Gehrig and looks like Garbo."

Field of Dreams (1989) - Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) soliloquizes about his baseball-fanatic father: Instead of Mother Goose, I was put to bed at night to stories of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the great Shoeless Joe. As his says each name, the audience sees each players face on Cracker Jack baseball cards.


"Everybody Loves Raymond"  Twice he has been mentioned on this show.  Ray, a sportswriter, wrote an article about Lou Gehrig.  In another episode, to get out of the doghouse for taping over his and Debra's wedding with a football game, Ray arranges for the couple to renew their vows.  Ray forgets to write his vows and improvs, borrowing the famous line from Gehrig's retirement speech: "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."


To learn about Gehrig appearances in other media (radio, videos, magazines, songs, etc.), visit Library o' Gehrig.

Written by S. Kaden, 2003