Derek Jeter's assault on Lou Gehrig's all-time Yankee Stadium hit record has rekindled an interest in the Iron Horse who died in 1941. Back in the 20s, 30s and 40s, everyone knew of Lou Gehrig and his exploits with the bat. But today, those who do know of him usually reference the 1942 Gary Cooper film Pride of the Yankees, that also starred Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan and numerous cameos by former Yankees, including the Babe, and Gehrig's closest friend Bill Dickey.
Although a great film (it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards) it was the Hollywood version of what happened to Lou, and loaded with inaccuracies, and didn't really bring the disease to life. I wanted to know how this great hero dealt with the disease and the knowledge that he was dying.
I've told you that I've been reading Jonathan Eig's outstanding book Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig. This is the true story of Lou Gehrig--his rise from poverty in NY row houses through his glory days and tragic end. It really should be required reading for ALL Yankee fans.
I stumbled across a piece by Eig in the Wall Street Journal In the Bronx, a Parting Shot that ran on Sept. 4. Eig whets readers appettite with his brilliant writing about Lou, the disease and the times.
Before watching Derek break Lou's record tonight, take a few moments to read Eig's article, and consider getting the book.