When you’re looking for gifts for a man living with ALS, you want to give something that supports and encourages him without suggesting his condition defines him.
You don’t want him to think you see only his diagnosis when you look at him. You want to give him something that assures him you see his dignity and strength. You want him to know your care is unwavering, and you respect the courage with which he’s facing each day.
Of all possible gifts for a man with ALS, this one shows him you see him as a hero.
What Made Lou Gehrig a Hero On and Off the Baseball Diamond
In his 17-season professional career (1925-1939), Lou Gehrig became a hero on the baseball field.
As first baseman, he led the New York Yankees to seven pennants and six World Series triumphs. He achieved a lifetime .340 batting average. And, his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played earned him his “Iron Horse” nickname—which he retained until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke it in 1995.
His uncharacteristically poor start to the 1939 season led to Mayo Clinic doctors diagnosing him with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The nobility and gratitude he showed as he said goodbye to the sport, teammates, and fans he loved made him a hero off the field, too.
The Yankees proclaimed July 4, 1939 “Lou Gehrig Day.” After receiving tributes and trophies from such VIPs as Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and his former Yankee colleague Babe Ruth, Gehrig reluctantly addressed the crowd, some sixty thousand spectators strong.
Why the Lou Gehrig Speech is So Memorable and Meaningful
Lou Gehrig’s speech is arguably the most famous in baseball history. Some commentators even call it “Baseball’s Gettysburg Address” for its similar length and staying power.
Acknowledging his “bad break,” Gehrig immediately declared himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth.” His humble and grateful words echoed around the ballpark as he turned the attention back on his fellow players, his parents, and his wife.
“I might have been given a bad break,” Gehrig concluded, “but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”
When word artist Dan Duffy was handwriting the speech to create his Lou Gehrig art, he found himself reflecting on members of the Greatest Generation.
“These guys are of few words,” Dan says, “but when they speak, it’s meaningful.”
He admires how Gehrig didn’t complain and focused his speech on people who’d made his life meaningful. “He said,” Dan observes, “in a really elegant way, that to have these people in your life is a blessing.”
As Dan slowly wrote and read Gehrig’s words, he even found himself fighting back tears at times. “Man,” he thought to himself, “if I cry right now, it’ll totally ruin this piece of artwork!”
Dan spent 50 hours getting Gehrig’s words and likeness just right. “I really wanted to give this piece the respect it deserved,” he says.
Art of Words’ Lou Gehrig Art and Sports Prints Support ALS Charities
This June 2, Major League Baseball (MLB) will observe its first organization-wide Lou Gehrig Day.
Players, managers, and coaches on all teams will wear Gehrig’s number, #4, on a special patch to raise awareness of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, with which an estimated 5,000 Americans are diagnosed every year.
And, Art of Words is taking a turn at bat to support the cause.
“ALS has been at the foundation of my company since I began,” Dan explains, “as soon as I became a Major League Baseball licensee.” For example, his prints have raised money for the Philadelphia Phillies’ work with ALS charities.
Now, the New York Yankees will feature Dan’s handwritten portrait of the “Iron Horse''—endorsed by Gehrig’s family and licensed by the Lou Gehrig Society—in the official Lou Gehrig Day program. A portion of the proceeds from not only this print but also every Art of Words sports print will benefit The Lou Gehrig Society and Project Main Street.
Art of Words has set a goal of donating at least $40,000 to these two ALS charities in 2021—$40,000 in honor of Gehrig’s jersey number.
When you buy this unique Lou Gehrig art, you’re helping Gehrig’s words continue to make a meaningful impact.
Even better, when you choose to give this print as a gift for a man living with ALS, you’re showing him how lucky and blessed you feel to have him in your life, and how you will be cheering for him every day ahead.Browse Art of Words’ complete collection of sports prints, and sign up for alerts to receive a coupon for 10% off your purchase.