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MoreGehrig reader writes about his very unique connection to Lou Gehrig

Mr. Woods had this disc specially made in Turkey for Eleanor Gehrig in the early 1970s.

(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 now.

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?

If you have questions or comments for Mr. Woods, please fill and submit the form below; your words will be sent via e-mail directly to him.

Dear Mr. Woods-
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Thank you, Mr. Woods, for your wonderful story!