Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig
Lou played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees, from 1923 through 1939. In 1939, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was the first MLB player to have his uniform number retired.
Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, a trait which earned him his nickname "The Iron Horse". He was an All-Star seven consecutive times, a Triple Crown winner once, an American League AL Most Valuable Player twice, and a member of six World Series champion teams. He had a lifetime .340 batting average, .632 slugging average, and a .447 on base average. He hit 493 home runs and had 1,995 runs batted in (RBI).
A native of New York City and attendee of Columbia University, Gehrig signed with the Yankees in 1923. He set several major league records during his career, including the most career grand slams (23) (since broken) and most consecutive games played (2,130), a record that stood for 56 years and was long considered unbreakable until surpassed by Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1995. Gehrig's streak ended in 1939 after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disorder now commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease in North America. The disease forced him to retire at age 36 and was the cause of his death two years later. The pathos of his farewell from baseball was capped off by his iconic "Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth" speech at the original Yankee Stadium.
Gehrig was voted the greatest first baseman of all time by the Baseball Writers' Association in 1969, and was the leading vote-getter on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team chosen by fans in 1999. A monument in Gehrig's honor, originally dedicated by the Yankees in 1941, currently resides in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award is given annually to the MLB player best exhibiting his integrity and character.