Major League Baseball will honor the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man” retirement speech tomorrow, part of a campaign against the disease that now bears his name, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. “It’s one of the great moments in American sports and, arguably, American popular culture,” a professor says of the speech, immortalized by Gary Cooper, playing Gehrig, in The Pride of the Yankees.
The backbone of the Yankees dynasty of the 1920s and ‘30s, the first baseman, then 36, was feted that Independence Day by dignitaries, players, and fans, but didn’t memorize a speech. “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” is the line most remember; Gehrig died less than 2 years later. “There are certain speeches that are made that people will remember for the rest of time,” says Mark Teixeira, who also plays first base. “I think Lou Gehrig’s is one of them.”