That machine was Lou Gehrig, the “Iron Horse”.
Some things you may or may not know about Lou Gehrig.
- Four times he had over 160 RBI in a season, with a high of 184 in 1931.
- In one other season, 1937, he had 159 RBI.
- The 160 RBI plateau has been reached only 21 times in all of baseball history and by only 17 people. Babe Ruth (3), Hank Greenberg (2) and Jimmie Foxx (3) are the only other players to reach it more than once.
- Two of them, Sammy Sosa (160 in 2001) and Manny Ramirez (165 in 1999) have been linked to steroid use.
- When Ramirez did it in 1999, it marked the first time it had happened since 1938 when Foxx had 175 RBI for the Red Sox.
- Gehrig’s 184 RBI is the American League record, Hack Wilson holds the Major League record with 191 for the Cubs in 1930.
- In a 17 year career covering 2164 games, 9663 plate appearances and 8001 at bats, he averaged an RBI for every 4.8 plate appearances and one for every 4 at bats!
Lou Gehrig’s 162 game average was .340 with 37 home runs and 149 RBI!
In 148 career games at Fenway Park, Lou hit .350 with 27 homers and 155 RBI.
In early 1925, the Yankees offered to trade Gehrig to the Red Sox for their first baseman Phil Todt. This was said to “repay” the Red Sox for the Ruth deal. Sox owner Bob Quinn said no thanks! YIKES!
Phil Todt played seven years with the Red Sox and one with the A’s and had a 162 game average of .258, with 10 homers and 77 RBI. His career RBI total was 453.
Lou Gehrig went to Columbia University on a football scholarship and majored in engineering.
He played shortstop for the Yankees for one at bat in 1934.
In 1943 a US merchant marine ship was named after Gehrig and on what would have been his 40th birthday, June 19, 1944, that ship landed on Normandy Beach, 13 days after D-Day!
In 1923 while pitching against Williams College he had 17 strikeouts, which is still a Columbia University record.
Lou died on June 2, 1941 from the disease know as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuro muscular disorder, which today is well-known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Recent research suggests that Henry Louis Gehrig may not have even had Lou Gehrig’s disease. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/sports/18gehrig.html?_r=1
Lou Gehrig’s number 4 was the first number in the history of professional sports to be retired!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, July 15, 2012.