Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of    Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig                   Great Life Cut Short By Mercury Poison...
basemen of all time, Jonathan Eig shows how Gehrig never see med toconquer his self-doubt, only to manage it better. Jonat...
these records stood for a half century, and in the absence of steroids andsports medicine. Not for nothing was he "The Iro...
giving their all. He moped over his own errors, and often wept at losses,particularly when he failed to come through in th...
In his decline, Gehrig caught the imagination and the sympathy of baseballfans everywhere. Where    For More 5 Star Custom...
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Luckiest man the life and death of lou gehrig by j great life cut short by mercury poisoning

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Luckiest man the life and death of lou gehrig by j great life cut short by mercury poisoning

  1. 1. Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig Great Life Cut Short By Mercury Poisoning?Lou Gehrig started his professional baseball career at a time when playersbegan to be seen as nati onal celebrities. Though this suited charismaticmen such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, Gehrig avoided the spotlightand preferred to speak with his bat. Best known for playing in 2,130consecutive games as well as his courage in battling amyotrophic lateralsclerosis (a disease that now bears his name), the Iron Horse thatemerges from this book is surprisingly naïve and insecure. He would cry inthe clubhouse after disappointing performances, was painfully shy aroundwomen (much to the amusement of some of his teammates), andparticularly devoted to his German-immigrant mother all his life. Even afterearning the league MVP award he still feared the Yankees would let himgo. Against the advice of Ruth and others, he refused to negotiateaggressively and so earned less than he deserved for many seasons.Honest, humble, and notoriously frugal, his only vices were chewing gumand the occasional cigarette. And despite becoming one of the finest first
  2. 2. basemen of all time, Jonathan Eig shows how Gehrig never see med toconquer his self-doubt, only to manage it better. Jonathan Eigs LuckiestMan: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig offers a fascinating and well-rounded portrait of Gehrig, from his dugout rituals and historic games to hisrelationships with his mother, wife, coaches, and teammates. His complexfriendship with Ruth, who was the polar opposite to Gehrig in nearly everyrespect, is given particularly vivid attention. Take this revealing descriptionof how the two men began a barnstorming tour together following their1927 World Series victory: Ruth tipped the call girls and sent them on theirway. Gehrig kissed his mother goodbye. Eig also shares some previouslyunknown details regarding his consecutive games streak and how he dealtwith ALS during the final years of his life. Rich in anecdotes and based onhundreds of interviews and 200 pages of recently discovered letters, thebook effectively shows why the Iron Horse remains an American icon tothis day. --Shawn CarkonenPersonal Review: Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of LouGehrig by Jonathan Eigy only real familiarity with Lou Gehrig, prior to reading this book, were hisbaseball stats and The Pride of the Yankees, an adoring and largelyinaccurate film.Jonathan Eig has written what will be the definitive biography of LouGehrig for decades to come. Based on primary sources, some onlyrecently rediscovered, this is the most well-rounded portrait of "The Prideof The Yankees" as there may ever be.I found the Lou Gehrig who appeared on these pages to be---well, far moreboring than legend makes him. Gehrig was the quintessential "quiet man,"whose preferred activity away from baseball was fishing.Despite Gehrigs fame, he was not a fan favorite, large ly because he waspainfully shy and hardly could carry on conversations with strangers. Hewas an impressively handsome wallflower who blushed and becametongue-tied when he spoke to women. He lacked charisma. Thesportswriters that could make or break a players public image largelyignored him except as an adjunct to Ruth. (He was known as "BabeGehrig" in his earliest playing days for his prowess at the plate.) He wasnot quotable. His kindnesses were kept private. He had no vices (exceptpipesmoking). For most of his career he played in the shadow of BabeRuth, who WAS eminently quotable, who loved the spotlight and engagedin showy philanthrophies, and who was an epicurean in all realms ofhedonism. The public embraced the seemingly teddy bear-like Babe. AfterRuths departure, the press embraced Joltin Joe DiMaggio, making himthe next Yankee icon.During all these years there was Gehrig, playing in game after game,setting records. His consecutive games record of 2,130 was eventuallybroken by Cal Ripken Jr. and was his hits record by Derek Jeter, but both
  3. 3. these records stood for a half century, and in the absence of steroids andsports medicine. Not for nothing was he "The Iron Horse." In so many wayshe was a living embodiment of all the best American virtues, an icon in andof himself. Still, the public kept their distance from the indefatigueable "IronMan." As much as paragons are extolled, they are often unloved.Yet, Gehrig was hardly inhuman. He came from an immigrant family thathad buried three children, leaving him the sole surviving son. As a result,he was hugely overprotected. He grew up with the immigrant mentality ofnever risking his employment. Hence, for years the Yankees shamefullyunderpaid him, playing on his fears of being c ut from the lineup. His fatherwas a cipher, but his mother dominated him to such an extent that he oftenbrought her along on Yankees road trips."Babe tipped the two call girls. Gehrig kissed his mother goodbye." Thisbrief quote illustrates like nothi ng else the vast difference between the twomen. The Babe was a celebrity, the Iron Horse a naive albeit extraordinaryballplayer. They were friends by dint of their sequential place in theYankees batting order, and by their incredible talents on the fi eld whichmade them natural allies. The Yankees took advantage of this, touringthem together and creating competing novelty teams (The "Busting Babes"and the "Laruppin Lous") which they each captained in exhibition games.Gehrig remained the sidekick for years, a relationship which suited theBabe perfectly, but did little for Lou. Yes, they were friends, but they werenever truly close. No one seemed close to Lou Gehrig, except perhaps hismother. Gehrig stayed away from the usual male vices of li quor andwomen (Eig speculates that he may have been a virgin well into histwenties); no woman was good enough, not by Lous lights but by hismothers. Mrs. Gehrig interfered successfully in every relationship Lou haduntil he was thirty when he married his wife. A grand war erupted betweenthe two Mrs. Gehrigs that lasted their lifetimes.Eleanor Twitchell Gehrig may have been played by Theresa Wright in themovies, but she was a harder, more savvy woman than the film portrays, aformer flapper, and a somewhat jaded drinker. She was dedicated tohaving Lou promote himself (once, he was asked by "Huskies" cereal, asponsor he endorsed, what his favorite breakfast was, and he answered"Wheaties!"), and she was dedicated to driving a wedge between motherand son. Eig never comments on the Gehrig marriage, but it seems that itwas hardly bucolic---Gehrig suspected Ellie of having an affair with BabeRuth, and never spoke to Ruth again. He seemed to have no close malefriends, and no confidants.Gehrigs rock solid dependability led Manager Joe McCarthy to name himteam Captain, but (as Eig states) "he was not a fiery captain." He washelpful and friendly to the rookies and the younger men who sought thebenefit of his experience, but he looked askance at some of the behaviorsof his more seasoned teammates. He snubbed men he thought were not
  4. 4. giving their all. He moped over his own errors, and often wept at losses,particularly when he failed to come through in the clutch.Much of Gehrigs insecurity seems fearsomely misplaced. He played inevery Yankee game from 1925 to 1941. He was a bulwark of the Yankees,and indeed a bulwark of the game of baseball as a whole. A power hitterpar excellence, Eig gives us a picture of Gehrig around 1935: "His torsoformed a perfect V . . . not an ounce of fat on his belly . . . his thighs werewider than most mens waists . . . calves the size of hams."This seemingly superhuman specimen though, was carrying a ticking timebomb inside himself. Exactly when ALS first attacked Lou Gehrig isunclear. Eig postulates an early onset date of January 1938 and a lateonset date of June 1938, but Eig also documents a few anomalousmoments in Gehrigs life that may (or may not) have been harbingers ofthe disease---a chronic cramping backache which recurred at intervals in1937, and "a strange tingle in his spine" that same year. Gehrig fell into abatting slump at the end of the 37 season. Of course, having played some1800 consecutive baseball games to that point may have just beenwearying.ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a disease in which the motorneurons become brittle and nonfunctional. This leads to progressivemuscle wastage, and eventual death. There is still no effective treatmentavailable, and most patients die within five years.ALS devastated Lou Gehrig. His power at the plate simply vanishedovernight and his ability to field faded. Once he fell over backward from themomentum of a caught ball. Gehrig figured he needed more work, andpushed himself harder in batting practice, but at best he could wring out anoccasional good game. Fans booed him and opposing players razzed him.The Yankees were mystified. All athletes eventually lose their edge, butGehrig didnt lose his edge, he fell off the edge. Cle arly, something wasvery wrong, but a kind of shared delusion of denial set in amongteammates, friends, family, fans, and Gehrig himself, which carried himthrough the 1938 season. In photographs taken over that year Lou seemsto be shrinking, but no one seemed to take notice.By Opening Day of 1939, denial was no longer an option, but neither JoeMcCarthy nor Gehrig wanted to face facts. Gehrig had often said hewanted to play 2500 consecutive games, and over the years McCarthy andGehrig had cooperated in keeping the streak alive (once, a flu-riddenGehrig took the first at-bat in a game, struck out messily, and retired to theclubhouse). In 39, Gehrig bravely played eight games, but hisdeteriorating skills were costing the Yankees their standing in t he league.He benched himself in his 2,130th game, although he continued to dressfor the games and captain the team. For a while.
  5. 5. In his decline, Gehrig caught the imagination and the sympathy of baseballfans everywhere. Where For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!

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