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MLB will celebrate Lou Gehrig Day for the first time on June 2

Liz Roscher
·2-min read
NEW YORK - MAY 31, 1938.  Lou Gehrig, first baseman for the New York Yankees, poses on the dugout steps of Yankee Stadium shortly before he plays in his 2000th consecutive game.  (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
Lou Gehrig Day will be celebrated by MLB every year on June 2. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)

Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that it's establishing a new day to celebrate one of the game's most important figures: Lou Gehrig.

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Lou Gehrig Day will be celebrated every June 2 starting in 2021, commemorating both the day he started his incredible 2,130-game streak in 1925, and the day he died in 1941.

Gehrig was a legendary New York Yankees first baseman who played 2,130 consecutive games, which was an MLB record until it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in Sept. 1995. He played 17 years in the majors, but his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS has no cure.

The disease, which became known as Lou Gehrig's disease, sapped Gehrig of his power, control, balance, and strength. The diagnosis forced Gehrig to retire after playing just eight games of the 1939 season. At his emotional retirement ceremony on July 4, 1939, Gehrig made his famous speech declaring himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." He became the first MLB player to have his jersey retired when the Yankees did it in 1939, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the same year.

Gehrig died just two years later at the young age of 37. Since his diagnosis, Gehrig has been the face of ALS, and naming a day for him every year solidifies the connection between MLB, Gehrig, and the fight against ALS.

Gehrig joins Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as the only players to have a day named after them by MLB. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, players and coaches will wear a Gehrig patch on their jerseys, and a "4-ALS" logo (Gehrig's jersey number was 4) will be displayed around stadiums.

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