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The day Eleanor Gehrig "touched" the life of one young boy

It was Old-Timers Day 1973 in New York, billed as the “50th Anniversary Tribute to Yankee Stadium,” featuring as many of the living 1923 Yankees players as they could find. I was 12 years old.  My aunt and uncle took me to the game, and we arrived at a “heavenly early” time, so early that most of the players were probably still asleep.  Anyway, soon they all began to arrive, DiMaggio, Mantle, Dickey, et. al., and I started to cry from joy.


As I wiped my eyes on the sleeve of my shirt my uncle yells, “Tim, Tim, over here, over here!” As I run toward him, sniffling during the last stages of this cry, a large limousine pulls up and both the back doors are opened by security personnel.  With absolute disbelief, my mouth wide open, I watched Mrs. Babe (Claire) Ruth and Mrs. Lou (Eleanor) Gehrig exit the vehicle.  The ladies looked resplendent in what I called “Easter Hats,” wide-brimmed classy 1920’s hats with outfits to match.  I was trembling!  They moved slowly through the throng that habitually gathered at the press entrance prior to games back then and right past me.  Since we were right up front, thanks to our early arrival, I thrust my little hand out toward them.  As they walked by, waving like royalty, Mrs. Gehrig touched my hand. Only a diehard Gehrig fan could imagine how I felt, this hand that had taken such care of the great Lou Gehrig and had hugged him so tight had just touched me. 


To this day I cry when I think of it, as I’m doing now. 


The pregame introductions got under way to thunderous applause when, near the end, Mel Allen says, “ Ladies and Gentlemen, sitting in the box seats near the Yankee dugout, please welcome Mrs. Babe Ruth and Mrs. Lou Gehrig.”  You have never, and will never, hear such an ovation in your life!  The fans rose as one amidst a thunderous roar to salute not only the ladies, but their husbands who made that very day possible.  Yep, I started to cry again and, to this day, that one afternoon was the most perfect day of my life!


Written by Tim R.

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