The Farewell Speech
"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and I have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure I'm lucky. Who wouldn't have considered it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrows? 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 groundskeeper and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies, that's something. When you have a father and mother work all their lives so that 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. I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. And I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for." - July 4, 1939 at Yankee Stadium on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day
"I decided last Sunday night on this move. I haven't been a bit of good to the team since the season started. It would not be fair to the boys, to Joe (McCarthy) or to the baseball public for me to try going on. In fact, it would not be fair to myself, and I'm the last consideration. It's tough to see your mates on base, have a chance to win a ball game and not be able to do anything about it. McCarthy has been swell about it all the time. He'd let me go until the cows came home, he is that considerate of my feelings, but I knew in Sunday's game that I should get out of there. I went up there four times with men on base. Once there were two there. A hit would have won the ball game for the Yankees, but I missed, leaving five stranded, and the Yankees lost. Maybe a rest will do me some good. Maybe it won't. Who knows? Who can tell? I'm just hoping."
"I just can't understand. I am not sick. The stomach complaint which was revealed last year in three separate examinations I underwent has been cleared up by observance of a strict diet. My eye is sharp, yet I was not swinging as of old. I reduced the weight of my bat from 36 to 33 ounces, thinking a change might work to my advantage, but it didn't. I went back to the 36 and it was the same."
"I'm not a headline guy. I know that as long as I was following (Babe) Ruth to the plate I could have stood on my head and no one would have known the difference."
"In the beginning I used to make one terrible play a game. Then I got so I'd make one a week and finally I'd pull a bad one about once a month. Now, I'm trying to keep it down to one a season."
"It's a pretty big shadow (Babe Ruth's) - it gives me lots of room to spread myself."
"Joe (McCarthy), I'm not helping this team any. I know I look terrible out there. This string of mine doesn't mean a thing to me. It isn't fair to the boys for me to stay in there. Joe, I want you to take me out of the lineup today."
"The ballplayer who loses his head, who can't keep his cool, is worse than no ballplayer at all."
"There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all."
"What are you going to do? Admit to yourself that the pitchers have you on the point of surrender? You can't do that. You must make yourself think that the pitchers are just as good as they always have been or just as bad."
"What do you think of the nerve of that big monkey (Babe Ruth). Imagine the guy calling his shot and getting away with it."
"Gifted with no flair whatever for the spectacular, except as it might be produced by the solid crash of bat against ball at some tense moment, lost in the honey days of a ballplayer's career in the white glare of the great spotlight that followed Babe Ruth, he nevertheless more than packed his share of the load." - Sportswriter Bill Corum of the Journal American
"He just went out and did his job every day." - Hall of Famer Bill Dickey
"He was the guy who hit all those home runs the year (Babe) Ruth broke the record." - Franklin P. Adams
"His greatest record doesn't show in the book. It was the absolute reliability of Henry Louis Gehrig. He could be counted upon. He was there every day at the ballpark bending his back and ready to break his neck to win for his side. He was there day after day and year after year. He never sulked or whined or went into a pot or a huff. He was the answer to a manager's dream." - Sportswriter John Kieran in The New York Times
"I did not go there to look at (Lou) Gehrig. I did not even know what position he played, but he played in the outfield against Rutgers and socked a couple of balls a mile. I sat up and took notice. I saw a tremendous youth, with powerful arms and terrific legs. I said, here is a kid who can't miss." - Yankee scout Paul Krichell
"I had him for over eight years and he never gave me a moment's trouble. I guess you might say he was kind of my favorite." - Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy
"I'm very pleased and very proud of my accomplishments, but I'm most proud of that (hitting four-hundred home runs and three-thousand hits). Not (Ted) Williams, not (Lou) Gehrig, not (Joe) DiMaggio did that. They were Cadillacs and I'm a Chevrolet." - Carl Yastrzemski
"I never heard of (Lou) Gehrig before I came here and I always thought Babe Ruth was a cartoon character. I really did. I mean, I wasn't born until 1961 and I grew up in Indiana." - Yankee legend Don Mattingly (1985)
"I never knew how someone dying could say he was the luckiest man in the world. But now I understand." - Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle farewell address (1969)
"It may have been a child's perversity, but I like to think now that I was in tune with changing times when I selected not the Babe (Ruth), but (Lou) Gehrig as my hero. Handsome, shy, put together along such rugged lines that he was once screen-tested - wrapped in a leopard skin - in Hollywood for the role of Tarzan, a devastating hitter with men on base, Gehrig served perfectly as the idol of a small boy soon to reach adolescence." - Frank Graham in Farewell to Heroes (1981)
"I would not have traded two minutes of the joy and the grief with that man for two decades of anything with another." - Eleanor Gehrig
"Lou Gehrig was to baseball what Gary Cooper was to the movies: a figure of unimpeachable integrity, massive and incorruptible, a hero. Today, both are seen as paradigms of manly virtue. Decent and God-fearing, yet strongly charismatic and powerful." - Kevin Nelson in The Greatest Stories Ever Told About Baseball (1986)
"So they unhitched the Iron Horse from the old wagon, but Marse Joe McCarthy didn't order him to be taken behind the barn and destroyed." - Sportswriter John Kieran in The New York Times
"There was absolutely no reason to dislike him, and nobody did." - Sportswriter Fred Lieb"They can talk about Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby and Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial and all the rest, but I'm sure not one of them could hold cards and spades to (Ted) Williams in his sheer knowledge of hitting. He studied hitting the way a broker studies the stock market, and could spot at a glance mistakes that
others couldn't see in a week." - Carl Yastrzemski
"Whatever Lou (Gehrig) does in the future doesn't count. He has had fourteen great seasons, and I mean great. If I could have only ten of them, I'd be satisfied. Here's a fellow who has lasted 'til he's thirty-six, and only this morning I was wondering, and me twenty-four, how long I'll last. Say, if I could go ten more years, 'til I'm thirty-four, I'd be glad to call it a career." - Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio
"Whether your name is (Lou) Gehrig or (Cal) Ripken, (Joe) DiMaggio or (Jackie) Robinson, or that of some youngster who picks up his bat or puts on his glove, you are challenged by the game of baseball to do your very best day in and day out. That's all I've ever tried to do." - (Cal) Ripken, Jr.