Major League Baseball announced they will hold the inaugural ‘Lou Gehrig Day’ this season on Wednesday, June 2. The New York Yankees legend joins Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as the only players whose legacies are to be celebrated annually.
MLB chose June 2 as the date to honor Gehrig because he became the Yankees’ starting first baseman that day in 1925, marking the start of his incredible streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.
Gehrig also passed away from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on that day 16 years later. ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that can strike anyone at any time.
There are an estimated 20,000-30,000 people living with ALS around the world. People with the disease lose the ability to control their muscles, which affects their ability to walk, talk, eat and eventually breathe.
The focus of Lou Gehrig Day will be to remember the legacy of icon and all those lost to ALS; raising awareness and funds for research of the disease; and celebrating the groups and individuals who are in pursuit of a cure.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to celebrate the legacy of Lou Gehrig, whose humility and courage continue to inspire our society,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“While ALS has been closely identified with our game since Lou’s legendary career, the pressing need to find cures remains. We look forward to honoring all the individuals and families, in baseball and beyond, who have been affected by ALS and hope Lou Gehrig Day advances efforts to end this disease.”
On Lou Gehrig Day, each home team will host ceremonies and display “4-ALS” logos in ballparks, commemorating Gehrig’s uniform No. 4. Additionally, all players, managers and coaches will wear a special “Lou Gehrig Day” patch on uniforms.
Players, managers and coaches also will have the option to wear red “4-ALS” in-game. Clubs with an off day on June 2 will observe Lou Gehrig Day the following day.
MLB has long supported the movement to end ALS
In addition to commemorating Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man Alive” retirement speech every July 4, MLB has regularly supported the movement to find a cure for ALS.
Most recently in 2019, MLB raised funds through the annual Winter Meetings Charity Auction to benefit five ALS organizations: ALS CURE Project, Healey Center for ALS at Mass General, The ALS Association, Project Main Street and ALS Therapy Development Institute.
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