NEW YORK – Major League Baseball will hold its first Lou Gehrig Day on June 2, adding Gehrig to Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente on the short list of players honored throughout the big leagues.
Each home team will have “4-ALS” logos in ballparks to mark Gehrig’s No. 4, and all players, managers and coaches will wear a Lou Gehrig Day patch on uniforms and may use red “4-ALS” wristbands. Teams that are off on June 2 will observe Lou Gehrig Day on June 3.
MLB said Thursday that the day will focus on finding cures and raising money for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which is known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the legacy of Gehrig and others who died of the progressive disease that attacks nerve cells controlling muscles throughout the body.
June 2 marks the 96th anniversary of when Gehrig made started at first base for the New York Yankees in place of Willy Pipp, starting his record streak of 2,130 consecutive games played. The mark stood until September 1995 by Baltimore's Cal Ripken Jr., who played 2,632 consecutive games in a streak that ended in 1998.
Gehrig died of ALS at age 37 on June 2, 1941. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1939.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that Gehrig's “humility and courage continue to inspire our society” and “the pressing need to find cures remains.”
MLB's committee includes Oakland outfielder Stephen Piscotty, whose mother died of ALS; Colorado outfielder Sam Hillard, whose father has been diagnosed with ALS; and Milwaukee catcher Jacob Nottingham, whose family includes six people who died of ALS.
MLB teams and players helped raise millions of dollars in 2014's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The New York Yankees often mark the anniversary of Gehrig's farewell speech on July 4, 1939.
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