Tag Archives: New York Yankees

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech July 4, 1939

“Did My Speech Sound Silly? Did it?”

Lou Gehrig to a friend minutes after making his “Luckiest Man” speech on July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day.

Gehrig and Ruth at Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day July 4 1939 photo Binghampton NewsEarly in the day before being honored at Yankee Stadium, Lou Gehrig told a reporter, “There hasn’t been a day since I came up that I wasn’t anxious to get in uniform and out on the field. But today I wish I was anywhere but in this stadium.”

For the ceremony Lou Gehrig was standing on the field for one hour in between games of a doubleheader with the Washington Senators, as accolades and gifts descended upon him.

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Postmaster James Farley, Yankee general manager Ed Barrow and current and former teammates and opponents were there. Besides gifts, they all gave Gehrig the one thing he did not want – sympathy.

Yankee manager Joe McCarthy was weeping as he addressed Gehrig and the 61,808 spectators. Over the loudspeaker McCarthy said solemnly, “Lou… what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you came to my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man you were never that.”

Gehrig emotionally stirred, was crying.

Babe Ruth came up to Gehrig and hugged him. Ruth whispered through his own tears what everyone had told him for the last hour. “C’mon kid.  C’mon kid, buck up now. We’re all with you.”

After being urged to say something, the emotionally drained Gehrig spoke without any preparation.

With dozens of film cameras rolling a silence fell upon the field. Incredibly, there is no complete audio visual record of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech.

Reporters such as the Associated Press baseball writer Sid Feder and the Washington Post’s Shirley Povich either paraphrased or quoted Gehrig directly. Without a transcription, the following has come down through the years to be accepted as the words Gehrig spoke.

Baseball’s Greatest Speech

“Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

“When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such a fine looking men as they’re standing in uniform in this ballpark today? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.

“So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

Lou Gehrig’s speech is universally acknowledged as anything but silly.

Gehrig died of his “bad break,” amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), on June 2, 1941, 17 days shy of his 38th birthday.

Yankees Tommy Henrich Out At Home During A Hot Game – 1949

Henrich Is Out, But Yanks Still Win

Ed Rommel BobSwift and Tommy Henrich Yankee Stadium June 24 1949

Home…But Out

New York – In the 7th inning of today’s game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, Yankee Tommy Henrich was out at home when he tried to score from 3rd base. Tiger catcher Swift makes the out as ump Rommel calls the play. The Yanks won the game 5-4. June 24, 1949. photo – Tony Bernato, New York Daily Mirror for International News

15,384 intrepid fans sweated out a two hour forty four minute game at Yankee Stadium on Friday, June 24, 1949.

The Yanks and Tigers were playing an afternoon make-up from a rain out on May 26. The thermometer topped out at a muggy 88 degrees. Abandoning formality, umps Art Passarella and Jim Boyer removed their coats and worked the game in shirtsleeves. Home ump Eddie Rommel stayed traditionally dressed. From 1933 until 1952 three man umpire crews were the norm for regular season games. Continue reading

Rare Photograph Of The Yankees Playing At The Polo Grounds – 1920

Yankees Take Two From The Athletics At The Polo Grounds September 6, 1920

Athletics Yankees Sept 6 1920 Polo GroundsMonday, September 6, 1920 was Labor Day and the New York Yankees played a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics.

A fan having a front row seat took this photograph during one of the games.

At bat for the Yankees is Ping Bodie, with Aaron Ward waiting on deck. In the foreground coaching first base is manager Miller Huggins. Continue reading

What Are Orioles Diering, Miranda & Ferrarese Celebrating In 1956?

Chuck Diering, Willy Miranda & Don Ferrarese Did Have A Good Reason To Celebrate… We Just Had To Figure Out What It Was.

Diering Miranda Ferrarese Yankee Stadium 1956

Orioles shortstop Willy Miranda is so tired that he required his teammates dry his hair off with a towel.

Actually its a  celebration of sorts taking place in the locker room thanking Mr. Miranda.

When I first came upon this photograph it had no identifying features except the names of Chuck Diering, Miranda and a badly misspelled Don Ferrarese. No year, no place, no story – nada. Continue reading

Lou Gehrig’s Mom Visits During Spring Training 1930

Lou Gehrig With His Real Mom, March 22, 1930

Lou Gehrig wit his mother at St. Petersburg Florida on March 22, 1930 at Yankees spring training

Lou Gehrig and his mother Christina March 22, 1930 in St. Petersburg, FL at Yankees spring training.

Above is Yankee legend Lou Gehrig with his real mother in contrast to movie Gehrig and mom.

Elsa Janssen and Gary Cooper The Pride of the Yankees 1942

Elsa Janssen and Gary Cooper

Mrs. Gehrig: “I want you to be somebody.”

Lou: “Sure, Mom.”

Mrs. Gehrig Like your Uncle Otto, Louie. He went to university. He graduated. Don’t you see, Louie? That’s why I’m cooking at Columbia, so you can go there some day……and be an engineer like your Uncle Otto. Lou you are going to become an engineer like your Uncle Otto.”

Those are the words Mrs. Gehrig says to young Lou Gehrig in the 1942 movie The Pride of the Yankees. Continue reading

Aaron Boone = Inept Manager & Yankees World Series Hopes Are Dwindling

Aarony Booney Lets Analytics Make His Decisions Instead Of What He Is Seeing

Aaron Boone – “maybe that wasn’t a good move” ALCS game 4 after Carlos Correa homer

Aaron Boone just helped push the Yankees right to the brink of playoff elimination tonight with his over-managerial moves. In game 4 of the ALCS, Boone mysteriously removed starter Masahiro Tanaka after 85 pitches when Tanaka gave up a squiggler that first baseman DJ LeMahieu could not handle. Continue reading

George Kell & Yogi Berra – Try To Strike Us Out!

The Most George Kell Ever Struck Out In A Season Was 37 Times, Yogi Berra 38

George Kell Is Out At Home Plate Yogi berra Applies the tag 1955 Both players rarely struck out.

Calling While He’s Out

Chicago: Umpire Ed Hurley (left) calls White Sox George Kell (second from right) out at home on Kell’s try at scoring from first base on Walt Dropo’s first inning double against the Yankees July 20th in Chicago. Yogi Berra (right) makes the putout. In foreground is Sox player Jim Rivera.  Chicago won 8-6. Credit: United Press Telephoto 7/20/55

Yogi Berra and George Kell were both described by sportswriters as “short and chunky.” Proving that appearance doesn’t reflect talent, both players were inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, Berra in 1972 and Kell in 1983.

The Hall of Fame is not the only thing the two players had in common.

While today’s players don’t seem to give a second thought to striking out five times in a game, Berra and Kell rarely heard the words “strike three,” from an umpire. Continue reading

Mickey Mantle’s Final All Star Game – July 9, 1968

51 Years Ago Today – Mickey Mantle Plays In His Last All-Star Game July 9, 1968

Mickey Mantle final All Star game July 9 1968 strikeout photo Sam C Pierson Jr. Houston Chronicle

Mickey Mantle’s final All Star game July 9, 1968 Mickey Mantle swings through a Tom Seaver fastball. photo: Sam C Pierson Jr. / Houston Chronicle

Mickey Mantle hit the first home run ever at the Houston Astrodome, in an exhibition game on April 9, 1965. The Astrodome was then the new home of the National League’s, Houston Astros.

When Mantle next returned to the Astrodome in 1968 it was for the All-Star Game. Continue reading

Yankees Rookie Bill “Moose” Skowron Can Hold A Lot Of Bats

Bill Dickey With Rookie Moose Skowron In Spring Training – 1953

Lake Wales, FL Feb. 21 – BIG GUNS – New York Yankees coach Bill Dickey (left) looks over the big bats carried by Bill Skowron, rookie outfielder at the Yankees baseball school here today. Skowron, from Austin, Minn., hit .341 for Kansas City last season and won the American Association’s most valuable player title while blasting 31 home runs. (AP Wirephoto 1953)

Evidentlly Bill “Moose” Skowron could swing seven bats at once. You would think with the kind of season that Bill Skowron put up in the minors in 1952 he would at least get on the roster with the big team in 1953.

Nothing doing. The 22-year-old Skowron spent the entire 1953 season in the minor leagues with Kansas City. Continue reading

George Steinbrenner May Be Dead, But His Yankee “Hair Policy” Remains In Effect

George Steinbrenner’s “No Long Hair Or Beard Rule” Is Still Followed

Thurman Munson’s 1976 Topps baseball card shows something you won’t see on any Yankee today, a defiant beard.

At Yankee Stadium’s home opening game on April 11, 1973, the new owner and managing general partner, George M. Steinbrenner III was on hand to see his team. As he watched his players line up along the foul lines and remove their caps for the national anthem,  Steinbrenner pulled out an envelope from his suit pocket. He began writing down a series of numbers on the back of the envelope.

After the game the envelope was given to manager Ralph Houk.

“What is this?” Houk wanted to know.

Sparky Lyle 1974 Topps Baseball card showing his “long” hair

Players who need a haircut was the reply.

Still not knowing any of his players names, Steinbrenner had listed the players numbers who had hair that was not to his liking.

Among the stars on the list were Bobby Murcer,  Fritz Peterson, Thurman Munson, Sparky Lyle and Roy White.

Houk posted the list in the locker room and reluctantly informed his hippie players to go to a barber.

Steinbrenner had been perturbed about the long hair since first seeing the Yankees in spring training. Now it was time to do something about it.

This incident marked the beginning of George Steinbrenner’s 37 year odyssey of interference and unpredictability as owner of the Yankees.

To Steinbrenner, short hair and being clean shaven represented order and discipline. No one mentioned to Steinbrenner that baseball was not the military.

Mike Burke, part owner and president of the Yankees, had very long hair himself. Burke was not very concerned about Steinbrenner’s meddling and downplayed the hair cutting incident.

NEW YORK – JANUARY 3, 1973 Yankees President Michael Burke & George Steinbrenner at press conference at Yankee Stadium where the announcement is made that an ownership group led by Steinbrenner are the new owners of the Yankees. (Photo by: Olen Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Burke, who had been Yankee president since 1966, was instrumental in putting the deal together for Steinbrener and his 13 limited partners, to buy the Yankees from CBS. Burke was led to believe he would be considered a co-partner on an equal level with Steinbrenner.

When Steinbrenner spoke to the press on January 3, 1973 , he said he would be an absentee owner and Burke would run the team. “We’re not going to pretend we’re something we aren’t. I’ll stick to building ships.”

Burke should have more concerned about Steinbrenner’s controlling behavior and desire to be solely in charge.  Soon after the haircut incident, Steinbrenner started firing off memos left and right asserting his control of the team. Less than 3 weeks after opening day, Burke resigned. The truth was Burke had been forced out as president of the Yankees and later gave up his ownership stake.

Yankee Third baseman Graig Nettles asked with a straight face, “Was his hair too long?” Continue reading