On this day in 1939 New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig took himself out of the line-up- this was huge news because Gehrig “The Iron Horse” had played in 2130 games in a row. Something wasn’t right with Gehrig and he felt he his poor play was hurting the team. In June he would go to the Mayo Clinic and find out that he had ALS- now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He would retire from baseball and within two years would be dead at the age of 37.
Gehrig’s consecutive games played record was always considered to be untouchable. Gehrig had smashed the earlier record of Everett Scott who had played in 1307 consecutive games. Certainly no one would break Gehrig’s record- that was what I always heard as a young baseball fan. Along came Cal Ripken Jr. Oddly enough when Ripken came up to the major leagues his manager Earl Weaver made a comment that ‘for the next 15 years all a manager would have to do is put down Ripken’s name in the line-up every day and let him play.” Weaver and no one else could have known that was the truth. Ripken would go on to break Gehrig’s unbreakable record- ending up playing 2632 consecutive games.
Never say never but I don’t think anyone will get the opportunity to break that record now. Ripken and the Orioles came under some criticism for that streak. The thinking was that Ripken would have put up better numbers had he took a day off now and then. Also there was a feeling from some that Ripken’s streak became too big of a priority, took too much attention from the rest of the team. I don’t know- a man gets up everyday and goes to work- for 2632 games in a row. Hard to criticize that kind of work ethic. No team though is ever going to let a player get even half way to the record, I don’t think. Anyone getting 400-500 consecutive games played will get a ‘day off’ to end the streak in the future.