Major League Baseball and all 30 Clubs are paying tribute to Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig on the 75th anniversary of his iconic "Luckiest Man" speech by joining forces with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) organizations to raise awareness for the disease, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Hall of Fame first-baseman made his speech upon retiring from baseball on July 4, 1939, and died from the disease two years later at the age of 37.
Major League Baseball will donate $300,000, collectively, to the organizations that are leading the fight against ALS -- ALS Association, ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and Project A.L.S. -- while Clubs playing at home on July 4 will conduct special on-field ceremonies to commemorate the anniversary of the speech and honor the legacy of Gehrig.
As part of this effort, Major League Baseball is unveiling a special commemorative 75th Anniversary patch, which will be worn by all players, managers, coaches and umpires on July 4. The New York Yankees will be commemorating this initiative on July 2nd. Additionally, a special video will be played in all ballparks featuring one first baseman from each Club reciting a line from Gehrig's speech.
ALS is a disease that attacks nerve cells called motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, leading to weakness and eventual paralysis of all voluntary muscles, including those used for breathing and swallowing. An estimated 30,000 people in the United States have ALS and death often occurs within five years of diagnosis. Currently, there are neither effective treatments nor a cure for ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease; however, ALS research is at a pivotal and hopeful moment with more than 30 known genes linked to ALS and dozens of clinical research trials enrolling worldwide.