MLB, National ALS Registry Join in Honoring ‘Lou Gehrig Day’

Margarida Maia, PhD avatar

by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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Lou Gehrig Day

Lou Gehrig Day

Today, the National ALS Registry is joining the Major League Baseball to celebrate Lou Gehrig’s life and legacy and to raise greater awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

This year’s inaugural “Lou Gehrig Day” on June 2 honors the famous New York Yankees baseball player whose career was cut short by ALS. Since then, the disease has also been known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

June 2 was chosen by Major League Baseball as the official date for Lou Gehrig Day, as it marks the day in 1925 when Gehrig took over as the Yankees’ regular first baseman and began his record-breaking streak of 2,130 consecutive games.

It also marks the day Gehrig, who earned the nickname “Iron Horse,” died at age 37 in 1941 — two years after his diagnosis — of ALS complications.

The National ALS Registry, launched in 2010 by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), collects epidemiological and clinical data about people living with ALS. Data compiled include that taken from U.S.-based databases as well as information shared by patients.

The registry also serves as a repository of biological samples that researchers worldwide can use, and provides funding to key research projects aiming to advance the understanding of ALS with an ultimate goal of developing a cure.

Patients interested in learning more about the National ALS Registry, or taking part in it, may do so here.

When the Yankees held a Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day on July 4, 1939, at Yankee Stadium, weeks after Gehrig retired from the team, Gehrig gave one of the most famous speeches in the history of sports. “For the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break,” he told the audience. “Yet, today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

Under a long-term agreement with the Major League Baseball, the digital collectible company Candy Digital is selling a non-fungible token (NFT) of Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” farewell speech. An NFT is essentially a digital asset — such as a digital art, a video, or a speech — that is essentially certified to be unique, and can be bought, traded, or shared.

The Gehrig NFT will be released on July 4, and its proceeds will support ALS charities.