The Fourth of July is not only a day of independence and celebrating the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. It is also memorable for some historic moments in the history of the New York Yankees franchise.
The most historic moment in the history of the New York Yankees came on 4th of July 1939 when legendary New York Yankee, Lou Gehrig, made his famous “luckiest man on the face of the earth speech” before he was forced to retire from the game of baseball after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Gehrig played 17 seasons in the Major Leagues, all with the Yankees, from 1923 to 1939. In 1939 Gehrig was elected to baseball Hall of Fame and became the first major league baseball player ever to have his uniform number retired number (4). Gehrig was an All-Star in seven consecutive seasons, a Triple Crown winner once and a winner of the American League MVP award twice.
Gehrig had a lifetime batting average of .340, a slugging average of .632 and a .447 on base percentage. Gehrig has 493 career home runs, 1,995 career RBI and 2,721 career hits. His numbers and hitting also culminated into earning himself six World Series championships with the Yankees.
Gehrig held one of the all time greatest Major League baseball records of 2,130 consecutive games played which was a record held for 56 years until it was broken in 1995 by Cal Ripken Jr. Gehrig’s streak came to an end in 1939 when he was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This disease forced Gehrig to end his career at the age of 36, and was the cause of his death two years later.
Gehrig’s famous speech took place on July 4, 1939 at the old Yankee Stadium stating “today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” A monument in Gehrig’s honor was dedicated by the Yankees in 1941 and is currently residing at the current Monument Park in the new Yankee Stadium. Gehrig, to many, is considered the greatest New York Yankee of all time.
Fourth of July is also memorable in New York Yankees history because it is the birth date of former Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner was the principal owner and managing partner of the New York Yankees franchise for 37 years, from 1973 until his death in 2010.
The Yankees earned themselves seven World Series championships and 11 pennants under the tenure of George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner was also considered one of sports most controversial figures for his outspokenness role in player’s salaries. It was on July 13, 2010, the morning of the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, when Geroge Steinbrenner passed away after suffering a heart attack.
Steinbrenner was 80 years old and his birthday came just nine days prior to his passing. The Steinbrenner family added a monument to Monument Park on September 20, 2010 to honor George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner is considered the greatest businessman not only in the history of the Yankees but also in the history of sports.
The Fourth of July is a special day in New York Yankees history and will continue to be year after year. We will never forget the famous Lou Gehrig speech and we will also never forget the legacy of George Steinbrenner. Two legendary figures in history of one of the worlds greatest sports franchise, the New York Yankees.