Lou Gehrig, also known as “The Iron Horse,” is one of the most iconic and beloved figures in baseball history. Despite tragically succumbing to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at a relatively young age, Gehrig’s legacy has endured, and his famous quotes and speeches continue to inspire and resonate with people to this day.
From his emotional retirement speech at Yankee Stadium to his various insights on life and baseball, Lou Gehrig’s words continue to offer wisdom and perspective for those who seek it.
In this article, we will explore some of the most famous and impactful Lou Gehrig quotes, examining the context in which they were spoken and the enduring lessons they still offer.
“For the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
“It’s a pretty big shadow—Babe Ruth’s—it gives me lots of room to spread myself.”
“I might have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”
“There is no room in baseball for discrimination. It is our national pastime and a game for all.”
“The ballplayer who loses his head, who can’t keep his cool, is worse than no ballplayer at all.”
“I love to win, but I love to lose almost as much. I love the thrill of victory, and I also love the challenge of defeat.”
“The Babe is one fellow, and I’m another and I could never be exactly like him. I don’t try, I just go on as I am in my own right.”
“You don’t get the breaks unless you play with the team instead of against it.”
“I have always been a team man, and I never had lost sight of the welfare of the Yankees, and the debt I owe to baseball, and to the fans.”
“We were mighty short on infielders in those days.”
“I am a slave to baseball and only because I really love the game, hate to think of taking even one day away when we are playing.”
“It’s taken me three years to get into this game. It’s going to take more than a crack on the head to get me out.”
“It’s a pretty big shadow (Babe Ruth’s) – it gives me lots of room to spread myself.”
“In the beginning, I used to make one terrible play a game. Then I got so I’d make one a week and finally, I’d pull a bad one about once a month. Now, I’m trying to keep it down to one a season.”
“Irrespective of any other players on our club, I am the man to whom the team looks as a pacesetter. Every year I am told I am the hitter who must lead the Yankees to the pennant. That suits me fine.”
“What do you think of the nerve of that big monkey (Babe Ruth). Imagine the guy calling his shot and getting away with it.”
“Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.”
“When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body—it’s a blessing.”
“My so-called collapse was my own fault. I forgot to look at the calendar. I spent the off-season riding in a car and sitting in a boat. I rode to get a newspaper two blocks away. I should have been jogging, and should have come into training camp with my legs fit for the task.”
“I just can’t understand. I am not sick. The stomach complaint which was revealed last year in three separate examinations I underwent has been cleared up by observance of a strict diet. My eye is sharp, yet I was not swinging as of old. I reduced the weight of my bat from 36 to 33 ounces, thinking a change might work to my advantage, but it didn’t. I went back to the 36 and it was the same.”
“When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter—that’s something.”
“When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed—that’s the finest I know.”
“The other day, I was on my way to the car. It was hailing, the streets were slippery and I was having a tough time of it. I came to a corner and started to slip. But before I could fall, four people jumped out of nowhere to help me. When I thanked them, they all said they knew about my illness and had been keeping an eye on me.”
“Talk about it? Sure. Why not? It’s no disgrace. The day comes to all ballplayers. But please don’t turn on the tremolo, and do an obituary.”
“The agriculture lobby is very strong in the state of Wyoming. So I don’t know if we’re going to be successful or not, but we’re going to give her a go.”
“The enjoyment of a cigar after a hard week gives me a feeling of well-being and relaxation that a Valium could not match. While there may be a more ideal form of stress reduction, I haven’t yet discovered anything else as effective and easy.”
“Joe (McCarthy), I’m not helping this team any. I know I look terrible out there. This string of mine doesn’t mean a thing to me. It isn’t fair to the boys for me to stay in there. Joe, I want you to take me out of the lineup today.”
“I decided last Sunday night on this move. I haven’t been a bit of good to the team since the season started. It would not be fair to the boys, to Joe (McCarthy) or to the baseball public for me to try going on. In fact, it would not be fair to myself, and I’m the last consideration. It’s tough to see your mates on base, have a chance to win a ball game and not be able to do anything about it. McCarthy has been swell about it all the time. He’d let me go until the cows came home, he is that considerate of my feelings, but I knew in Sunday’s game that I should get out of there. I went up there four times with men on base. Once there were two there. A hit would have won the ball game for the Yankees, but I missed, leaving five stranded, and the Yankees lost. Maybe a rest will do me some good. Maybe it won’t. Who knows? Who can tell? I’m just hoping.”
“I’m not a headline guy. I know that as long as I was following Ruth to the plate, I could have stood on my head and no one would have known the difference.”
“I am out, but not down. I believe I will be back in the lineup in three weeks. I am doing a lot of running and getting myself into shape.”
“I have been in ballparks for 17 years, and I have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?”
“What are you going to do? Admit to yourself that the pitchers have you on the point of surrender? You can’t do that. You must make yourself think that the pitchers are just as good as they always have been or just as bad.”
“When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine-looking men as they’re standing in uniform in this ballpark today? Sure, I’m lucky.”
“You have to get knocked down to realize how people really feel about you. I’ve realized that more than ever lately.”
“I am going through a period of readjustment. It means working hard, listening, watching, keeping up courage, and rebuilding legs and determination.”
“No, only that one occasion, when I had the lumbago, was I near quitting. And I have had busted fingers and toes, pains and aches just as all other men have them. I determined to go on and on, and I did. Until the day came.”
Which quote impacted you the most?
Indeed, Lou Gehrig was more than just a baseball player – he was an inspiration to everyone who heard him speak. In a time when people are looking for heroes, we can all take some lessons from the life of Lou Gehrig. Share this blog post with your friends and family and let us know which of these quotes impacted you the most.
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