The Luckiest Man…

It’s not often you can say that Major League Baseball gets something
exactly right, but such is the case tomorrow when MLB recognizes the
anniversary of what is arguably the greatest sports speech ever given.
It was exactly 70 years ago Saturday that an earnest and already
diminished Lou Gehrig told 50,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, “Today I
consider myself the luckiest man…”

Baseball will use this anniversary to raise awareness and funds to
combat ALS, the deadly affliction that has come to be known as Lou
Gehrig Disease.

It’s tempting to romanticize players from the past, even if it means
overlooking the mean-spiritedness of Ty Cobb or the womanizing of the
Babe. Still, you have to wonder how someone like Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig
would feel about the current state of baseball affairs.

Would the Iron Horse write off Mr. Ramirez’ recent doping
indiscretion as simply “Manny being Manny”? Or would old Number 4
understand why Mark Maguire refused to talk about the past or why the
surprisingly small Sammy Sosa suddenly lost his ability to speak
English when Congress wanted to ask him about steroid use?

Such questions may echo silently through the breeze tomorrow at the New Yankee Stadium…


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