MLB commemorates 4th annual Lou Gehrig Day

June 2nd, 2024

On June 2, 1925, a 21-year-old Lou Gehrig took the field as the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees, replacing veteran Wally Pipp.

Pipp would never start at first for the Yanks again, and Gehrig would become one of the greatest players in baseball history, as well as a man they called the Iron Horse -- for 2,130 consecutive games, a streak that began the day before he took the starting job at first, Gehrig never took a day off.

Sadly, Gehrig’s legendary career would be cut short, and on June 2, 1941, he died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a theretofore mysterious disease that would come to bear Gehrig’s name. It causes a progressive loss of the body’s motor neurons, which control voluntary muscle contraction.

On the 80th anniversary of his death, MLB commemorated the inaugural Lou Gehrig Day across baseball on June 2, 2021.

Sarah Langs,’s unparalleled researcher and reporter, as well as a beloved figure throughout the baseball world for her incredible passion for the game, has been fighting her own battle with ALS. As the baseball world commemorates the fourth annual Lou Gehrig Day on Sunday, her voice brings us inspiration and hope for the future.

“Today, on Lou Gehrig Day, I’m reminded of the incredible strength, compassion and unity in the MLB community,” Langs says in a special video that will be played in stadiums all across the Major Leagues on Sunday.

“As a journalist and someone who is battling ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, every day presents its challenges. But through it all, the support from Major League Baseball and every big league team has been unwavering.”

MLB and the 30 clubs have supported several ALS-focused organizations over the years, raising funds and general awareness about the disease. As the search for a cure continues, the sport in which Gehrig so thoroughly excelled has been at the forefront of the fight against the disease that bears his name.

“Through the years, MLB and its clubs have stood by the ALS community in truly inspiring ways,” Langs says in the video, which also features many people we lost due to ALS this past year. “From raising awareness to fundraising efforts to caring for those battling the disease, their commitment to the cause has been incredible.”

That commitment has been driven by the inspiration that those with ALS have given through their courageous battle against the disease.

In 2009, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Gehrig’s famous “Luckiest Man” retirement speech at Yankee Stadium, MLB formed the “4-ALS” charitable campaign to raise funds for four ALS organizations.

In 2014, MLB, the 30 clubs and their players supported the wave of millions of dollars raised through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which led to new discoveries that have advanced the search for a cure.

In 2017, MLB supported the ALS Association’s “Home Health Initiative” -- an organization that helps provide in-home care to individuals and families affected by ALS -- through the MLB Fights ALS campaign, which was a league-wide fundraising effort in early August of that year.

In 2019, MLB and all 30 clubs raised funds through the annual Winter Meetings Charity Auction to benefit five ALS organizations: the ALS CURE Project, the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital, the ALS Association, Project Main Street and the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

And in 2021, Lou Gehrig Day was established. On this, the fourth Lou Gehrig Day, decals featuring “4” -- also the number Gehrig wore during his Hall of Fame career -- designed in Yankees uniform color and font will be worn on all player, manager, coach and umpire uniforms. There will also be red “4-ALS” wristbands available to be worn during games, as well as commemorative base jewels and lineup cards.

The partnership between MLB and the ALS community is strong, fueled by the strength shown by those who have so heroically faced Lou Gehrig’s disease. And as only Langs could put it as she fights the battle herself, that partnership is only getting stronger.

“With the support of Major League Baseball and its amazing fans,” she said, “as well as the strength and spirit of the ALS community, I know that one day, we will find a cure.”