Today in History: Yankees' Lou Gehrig breaks record for consecutive games played
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: New York Yankees' rookie Lou Gehrig, straight off Columbia University campus. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - 1926. Lou Gehrig, first baseman for the New York Yankees, works out at first base before a game at Yankee Stadium in 1926. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
NEW YORK - 1928. Lou Gehrig, first baseman for the New York Yankees, watches a high fly during a game at Yankee Stadium in 1928. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MARCH, 1928. Lou Gehrig works out at first base for the New York Yankees at their spring training facility in St. Petersburg, Florida in March of 1928. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
Portrait of New York Yankees first baseman, Lou Gehrig (1903 - 1941), seated with three baseball bats over his shoulder, circa 1930s. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth team up for final championship together. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A portrait of Lou Gehrig, considered by many to be the greatest baseball player ever, New York, New York, circa 1932. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 17, 1933: New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig poses with the trophy he was awarded by newspaperman Edger G. Brands in recognition of Gehrig playing in his 1,308th consecutive major league game on August 17, 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri. Gehrig broke a former record by former Yankees shortstop Everett Scott. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
circa 1935: Portrait of American baseball players Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) (L) and Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999), both of the New York Yankees, kneeling with their baseball bats in uniform. (Photo by New York Times Co./Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 10, 1935: Lou Gehrig at bat Indians vs, Yankees, League Park. Gehrig homered in the first inning as the Yankees defeated the Indians 6-3. (Photo by Louis Van Oeyen/Western Reserve Historical Society/Getty Images)
circa 1936: Headshot of American baseball player Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) wearing his New York Yankees uniform. (Photo by New York Times Co./Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 20: New York Yankees' Lou Gehrig (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
George Herman (Babe) Ruth (1895 - 1948) hugs former teammate Lou Gehrig (1903 - 1941), 1939. (Photo by Waite Hoyt Collection/Cincinnati Museum Center/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 04: The Luckiest Man on the Face of the earth stands stoic in face of deadly disease that forces him into early retirement. Lou Gehrig, the man who became the Pride of the Yankees, delivers one of the most famous speeches of all time. Officially, it was Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium, but the slugging first baseman weakened by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would never play again. Yankees retired his number, 4. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
If you ask any member of the current generation, "Iron Man," in baseball, refers to Cal Ripken Jr. But for decades before the Baltimore Oriole earned that crown, one man embodied the moniker more fully than anyone else.
On this day in 1933, Lou Gehrig became baseball's Iron Man, breaking the record for most consecutive games played with 1,308. Ripken broke the record in 1995, and will likely hold it for decades more, if not forever. It's an amazing feat, but Gehrig's story is so rich, it's worth telling now, even a decade after he was dethroned.
Gehrig's streak of 2,130 straight games played came to an end in 1939, and only at the hands of the disease that bears his name. Suffering from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, the New York Yankee called it a career at 35, knowing he wasn't long for this world. Then came the famous "Luckiest Man" speech. Two years later, the baseball legend was dead at the age of 37.
Click through the gallery above to relive the icon's most memorable baseball moments, and be sure to check the video below for more discussion about that all-time great speech at Yankee Stadium.