the luckiest man on the face of the earth

4 Jul

Today it is 75 years since New York Yankee Lou Gehrig stood in Yankee Stadium between two games of a doubleheader with the Washington Senators: July 4, 1939.

He was 36 years old and dying. He declared himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth – and he thanked the groundskeepers and the stadium ushers.

It is a declaration of independence of sorts, declaring his independence from much of what his world and our world declares important and upon which they and we can become so dependent for what we call happiness and fulfillment. He was dying, and he declared himself lucky. He declared himself independent of earthly health and earthly long life for his happiness. And in thanking the big shots and big guns of the baseball world, he spoke his gratitude to the little people in the baseball organization: the groundskeepers and the ushers.lougehrig

“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 to 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 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 the white coats remember you with trophies, that’s something. When you have a father and mother who 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. So I close by saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an  awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

Watch major league baseball’s 75th anniversary tribute, with the first baseman from every MLB team speaking the words of the famous speech, including our own Cincinnati Reds first baseman, Joey Vuotto:


2 Responses to “the luckiest man on the face of the earth”

  1. Sharon Bohlen July 4, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Thanks for a beautiful post, Fr. Rob! The older I get, the more I understand that attitude is everything – Lou had a grateful heart, so he truly believed – felt in his heart – that he was the luckiest man on earth. We should all be so blessed!

  2. Char July 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this, lots of lessons and love here!!

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