4th annual MLB Lou Gehrig Day now on deck for June 2

Major League Baseball aims to honor famed player, raise ALS awareness

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by Mary Chapman |

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The fourth annual Major League Baseball (MLB) Lou Gehrig Day takes place on June 2, a date set aside to pay tribute to the legendary New York Yankees first baseman whose career was halted by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will again play a major role in the event, which seeks to increase awareness of the rare neurodegenerative disease and raise funds to support those living with ALS and to search for a cure.

At 17 ballparks nationwide, the nonprofit and members of its extended community will gather to celebrate the famed slugger who died at age 37, according to an MDA press release. In addition to ALS families, participants are expected to include care center staffers and corporate and organizational partners.

League-wide, home clubs will observe the day by hosting ceremonies and displaying “4-ALS” logos in the ballparks — the 4 representing Gehrig’s uniform number. In addition, players, managers, and coaches will sport a “Lou Gehrig Day” patch on their uniform. Check the MLB schedule for opportunities to attend a game and join in activities that celebrate the player known as the Iron Horse.

The ALS community and MLB teams honor Gehrig on June 2, as that was the date on which he became the Yankees’ starting first baseman. It also marks the date of his death in 1941 from ALS complications.

“We commend Major League Baseball for their steadfast support of Lou Gehrig Day, empowering baseball enthusiasts to contribute to ALS breakthroughs,” said Donald S. Wood, PhD, the MDA’s president and CEO.

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Gehrig’s widow, Eleanor, was involved with the MDA from its 1950 founding, seeking to join the fight against the disease that claimed her husband’s life.

According to the organization, her involvement helped to sharpen its ALS focus, leading to the expansive field of scientists, clinicians, and advocates who continue to work to find a cure. To that end, the MDA said it “salutes the work” of The Lou & Eleanor Gehrig Society.

“Since the 1950s when Eleanor Gehrig stepped into the role of Campaign Chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, we have been catalyzing efforts to unravel the mysteries of ALS and generating advancements in treatment,” Wood said.

The release adds: “Decades of progress are now leading to scientific breakthroughs.”

Both to demonstrate admiration for Gehrig and to call attention to the so-called ALS warriors advocating for better treatments and a cure, those gathered at games with the MDA will sport limited-edition custom jerseys. Supporters who donate at least $100 also will receive an “End ALS with MDA” jersey.

The MDA’s Let’s Play interactive community initiative, in which members use gaming and livestreams to connect with those living with a neuromuscular disorder, will celebrate Lou Gehrig Day on June 2 at a game featuring the San Francisco Giants vs. the New York Yankees.

In the event’s run-up, the organization is encouraging supporters to join its special Twitch streams led by host Kenny Small, also known as Beaniez. The presentations will feature Lou Gehrig stories and trivia, ALS discussions, and more. Participants also may engage with the MDA on Discord and X during the countdown for facts and insights into the significance of Lou Gehrig Day.

On June 2, supporters are welcome to experience a pregame livestream directly from Oracle Park, in San Francisco. During the game, they will be able to enjoy behind-the-scenes coverage, Q&A sessions, and live game updates.

The MDA asks ALS community members to share their Lou Gehrig Day stories throughout the MLB team celebrations, including on July 4 to mark the 85th anniversary of Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech in which he said his farewell to baseball. After his death, ALS became known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“MDA invites the community to commemorate the spirit of this day in their own way — playing baseball, educating people about ALS, or sharing personal thoughts on overcoming challenges to raise awareness about ALS and celebrate Gehrig’s unforgettable impact on the world,” the release states.

To mark Lou Gehrig Day, the MDA will officially participate in a series of games:

  • May 23, Detroit Tigers
  • May 26, Chicago White Sox
  • June 2, Baltimore Orioles
  • June 2, Boston Red Sox
  • June 2, Chicago Cubs
  • June 2, Houston Astros
  • June 2, Kansas City Royals
  • June 2, Miami Marlins
  • June 2, Milwaukee Brewers
  • June 2, Philadelphia Phillies
  • June 2, San Francisco Giants
  • June 2, Seattle Mariners
  • June 3, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • June 3, Los Angeles Angels
  • June 4, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • June 11, St. Louis Cardinals.

Elsewhere, the ALS Network will honor the legacy of Lou Gehrig on June 2 at a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies. The organization is offering a limited number of complimentary tickets for individuals with ALS and the patient’s caregiver, with additional tickets available for purchase. For more information, send an email to [email protected].

Also, I AM ALS is offering ways to participate in the day, including by sharing ALS baseball stories, purchasing commemorative swag, reading an article about Gehrig, and honoring the legacies of the late Bryan Wayne Galentine and Adam Wilson, ALS patients who were instrumental in the creation of Lou Gehrig Day.