When I was a mini-Barndon I went to a carnival with my family. One of the stands at the carnival had old pictures of former Yankees and other Yankees memorabilia. I went up to the stand and talked to the man about one picture, this one to be exact. I asked the man what was happening in the picture, and he proceeded to tell me a story about Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and the Yankees.
The man handed me the picture, and a biography of Lou Gehrig for free. He told me he wished I knew more about Lou Gehrig originally, and that Gehrig inspired him to fight his own difficulties and not complain about any of them.
I was not much of a reader, but I decided to try to read a chapter or two. By the end of that night, I finished the entire book. I was amazed by Gehrig's story, and how great of a person the story made him seem like.
I was hooked. I never was a huge Yankees fan, or even a huge baseball fan, until around 2003, but I consider myself a Lou Gehrig fan since the day I read the biography.
The next day I watched "The Pride of the Yankees" and searched for more and more reading material on Gehrig. I read Gehrig's speech, and bought more Gehrig memorabilia. I heard the story of how my grandpa met Babe Ruth for the first time, but was left disappointed that he did not meet Gehrig, too. (Silly me)
I honestly can't explain why I have not been a Yankees fan for longer. Prior to 2003 I was a "Mets fan" but only followed Robin Ventura, my favorite player at the time. When Ventura was traded to the Yankees, I became a "Yankees fan" but still did not follow the team, or the sport, much.
I gave up on Robin Ventura pretty quickly, and continued to lack interest in baseball. Finally, on July 21, 2003 I went to my first Yankees game. I wanted to see Lou Gehrig's monument, mainly, and when I got to the game I was informed Monument Park was closed. I decided to stay for the game, and witnessed the Toronto Blue Jays demolish the Yankees.I don't know what happened that night, but walking around Yankee Stadium, seeing the pinstriped jerseys, hearing Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America," seeing monument park from way up above, and seeing a few people wearing Lou Gehrig jerseys, even though he had not played in over 60 years, I was hooked.
You can call me a front runner, a band wagoner, a terrible person, Barndon, whatever you want, but if it wasn't for Lou Gehrig, I would still be a guy that couldn't care less about baseball, and "rooted" for whichever team Robin Ventura was on.
Lou Gehrig is the reason I am a Yankees fan. Lou Gehrig is my favorite Yankee of all-time. Who's yours?
For what it's worth I have spent 2003-present catching up on every Yankees game of meaning I have missed, reading every box score possible, watching every highlight possible, reading every book possible, and regretting every day that I was not a Yankees fan. Why was I such a huge Robin Ventura fan? To this day, I don't know. How could I let myself even root for the Mets in a single game? By not being a baseball fan, and by being an idiot. Hope that answers some questions.