Today in Sports History [8/17/1933] – Lou Gehrig’s 1,308th Consecutive Game
On this day in 1933, New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig played in his 1,308th consecutive game, breaking former Yankee Everett Scott’s record for consecutive games played. Gehrig would go on to play in 2,130 games in a row, a record that would stand for over 50 years. Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Gehrig’s record on September 6, 1995 against the Anaheim Angels when Ripken played in consecutive game number 2,131. He would go on to play in 2,632 consecutive games.
Gehrig set his record against the Browns in St. Louis more than eight seasons after the streak began on June 1, 1925. He was honored during the game as AL President William Harridge presented Gehrig with a silver trophy. The Yankees lost that game 7-6 in 10 innings, despite home runs from Babe Ruth and Bill Dickey.
Looking at his career, Gehrig’s offensive numbers were nearly as remarkable as his consecutive games streak. He led the American League in RBIs five times and drove in at least 100 runs 13 years in a row. He led the AL in home runs three times, runs four times and in hitting once.
Gehrig batted cleanup, right after Babe Ruth. It was Gehrig who was named American League MVP in 1927, on a Yankee team many now consider as the greatest team in baseball history. He won the award again in 1936, another championship year for the Yankees. In total, Gehrig helped the Yankees to six World Series titles.
In 1938 Gehrig’s batting average dropped below .300 for the first time in his career. He started to experience some sort of chronic illness that was affecting his energy and strength. Initially, doctors struggled to diagnose him and Gehrig was forced to take himself out of many games. He was eventually diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease now often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He retired and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. He passed away two years later.