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We Still Don't Know Everything Lou Gehrig Said in His Famous Speech

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

WNYC
yankee14.jpg Lou Gehrig

Nearly 75 years ago, Americans all over the country heard Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig tell a crowd of 61,000 in the Bronx he considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

The 36-year-old had received a devastating diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — also known as ALS — and doctors said he had only few years to live. Those lines struck a chord with fans. But what many don't know is that his entire speech was never completely recorded.

"There are four sentence altogether that have survived," said Jonathan Eig, author of The Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig. "It's very frustrating, it's one of the most important speeches in baseball history, maybe one of the most important speeches in American history, certainly one of the best known."

While it is surprising that a complete recording of the speech has not survived over the past 75 years, Eig said at the time, people didn't recognize that this was an historic event.

Eig spoke Tuesday with WNYC's Richard Hake.

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