Seventy-five years ago, perhaps the most memorable sporting event wasn’t even a game, but a speech given in Yankee Stadium by one of the game’s biggest stars. At the time, there was simply no bigger star than Lou Gehrig.
A powerful, college educated slugger with a boyish face and a dimpled smile, it must have seemed surreal for fans who watched his “Luckiest Man” speech that day. He was only a couple of months away from his final days as an active player and he knew something was wrong with his body but was not totally aware of all the devastating effects he would continue to suffer over the final two years of his life.
Thus on July 4, 1939 no one truly knew what Gehrig’s future was but he might have had a hint when he uttered these famous words: “You have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. ” Only ALS, the fatal ailment that would become known by his name, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, could stop him from extending his playing streak past what remains a remarkable 2,130 consecutive games. We still refer to Gehrig often, even if the great Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed his streak nearly two decades ago.
Gehrig had many cards issued during his playing days but one of our favorites is the 1934 Goudey #37. We like that card because not only does the card feature a gorgeous image of a forever smiling first baseman but also has the “Lou Gehrig Says” notation at the bottom of the card. Gehrig had made a deal with Goudey to lend his name and comments to the cards in the series.
Gehrig appears in a second card in the ’34 Goudey series and neither is cheap but we found a respectable PSA 2 (Good) copy for just under $1,000. In conjunction with eBay, this 1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig is our Card of the Day. It’s available here.
Gehrig cards will always be among the safest long-term investments with some room for growth. Either way, it’s a true classic from the pre-War era.
Click here to see dozens of other vintage Gehrig cards.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]