The inaugural Lou Gehrig Day will be held this year on Wed., June 2 to celebrate the HOFer who continues to inspire the movement to end ALS. We look forward to working with our Clubs and @LG4Day to continue baseball's support of the ALS community pic.twitter.com/LGPm8mUB7Z— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 4, 2021
June 2 will forever be known as Lou Gehrig Day.— MLB (@MLB) March 4, 2021
Each year, we will celebrate his legacy and honor those we've lost to ALS. Together, we will help in the fight against this disease. #4ALS pic.twitter.com/jFP0Z7ym6L
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to celebrate the legacy of Lou Gehrig, whose humility and courage continue to inspire our society,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a prepared statement. “While ALS has been closely identified with our game since Lou’s legendary career, the pressing need to find cures remains. We look forward to honoring all the individuals and families, in baseball and beyond, who have been affected by ALS and hope Lou Gehrig Day advances efforts to end this disease.”
As noted in Manfred’s statement, Gehrig of course has always been the person most closely identified with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), just as much if not more so than his “Luckiest Man Alive” speech on July 4, 1939 during Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium.
81 years ago today, Lou Gehrig gave his famous “luckiest man alive speech” pic.twitter.com/Da56GB1JtO— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) July 4, 2020
As noted by MLB Communications, Gehrig joins Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente as players who are annually honored by the league with a day of their own.
Gehrig joins Jackie Robinson & Roberto Clemente whose legacies are celebrated annually with dedicated days during the MLB Championship Season. #LG4Day (Photo Credit: Milo Stewart Jr./@baseballhall) pic.twitter.com/awiSIbhfyz— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 4, 2021
According to MLB’s announcement, Gehrig’s legacy will be honored in several ways. Uniformed personnel will wear a jersey patch celebrating Gehrig and the “4-ALS” logo (in recognition of the legend’s No. 4 jersey) will be displayed around ballparks across the league.
Further, Lou Gehrig Day will serve as the centerpiece of the league’s efforts to raise awareness as well as funds for ALS and research into a disease that is diagnosed in an estimated 5,000 people in the United States every year.
Gehrig died at the young age of 37 on June 2, 1941, less than two years after his iconic speech. A member of the Major League Baseball All-Century and All-Time Teams, the Hall of Famer Gehrig was a seven-time All-Star, six-time World Series champion and two-time AL MVP.
The Yankees legend known as “The Iron Horse” played in 2,130 consecutive games — only Cal Ripken Jr. exceeded that remarkable feat — and accomplished the Triple Crown in 1934, when he led the American League in batting with a phenomenal .363 average.
Jeff Passan provides a detailed recounting of the grassroots and more official efforts that led to Thursday’s announcement in an in-depth piece shared on ESPN.