Although his performance in the second half of the 1938 season was slightly better than in the first half, Gehrig reported physical changes at the midway point. At the end of that season, he said, "I tired mid-season. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get going again." Although his final 1938 statistics were above average (.295 batting average, 114 RBI, 170 hits, .523 slugging percentage, 689 plate appearances with only 75 strikeouts, and 29 home runs), they were significantly down from his 1937 season, in which he batted .351 and slugged .643. In the 1938 World Series, he had four hits in 14 at-bats, all singles.
When the Yankees began their 1939 spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida, it was clear that Gehrig no longer possessed his once-formidable power. Even Gehrig's base running was affected, and at one point he collapsed at Al Lang Field, then the Yankees' spring training park. By the end of spring training, Gehrig had not hit a home run. Throughout his career, Gehrig was considered an excellent baserunner, but as the 1939 season got under way, his coordination and speed had deteriorated significantly.
By the end of April, his statistics were the worst of his career, with one RBI and a .143 batting average. Fans and the press openly speculated on Gehrig's abrupt decline. James Kahn, a reporter who wrote often about Gehrig, said in one article:I think there is something wrong with him. Physically wrong, I mean. I don't know what it is, but I am satisfied that it goes far beyond his ball-playing. I have seen ballplayers 'go' overnight, as Gehrig seems to have done. But they were simply washed up as ballplayers. It's something deeper than that in this case, though. I have watched him very closely and this is what I have seen: I have seen him time a ball perfectly, swing on it as hard as he can, meet it squarely — and drive a soft, looping fly over the infield. In other words, for some reason that I do not know, his old power isn't there... He is meeting the ball, time after time, and it isn't going anywhere.
He was indeed meeting the ball, with only one strikeout in 28 at-bats; however, Joe McCarthy found himself resisting pressure from Yankee management to switch Gehrig to a part-time role. Things came to a head when Gehrig had to struggle to make a routine put-out at first base. The pitcher, Johnny Murphy, had to wait for Gehrig to drag himself over to the bag so he could field the throw. Murphy said, "Nice play, Lou."
On April 30, Gehrig went hitless against the Washington Senators. Gehrig had just played his 2,130th consecutive major league game.
On May 2, the next game after a day off, Gehrig approached McCarthy before the game in Detroit against the Tigers and said, "I'm benching myself, Joe," telling the Yankees' skipper that he was doing so "for the good of the team." McCarthy acquiesced, putting Ellsworth "Babe" Dahlgren in at first base, and also said that whenever Gehrig wanted to play again, the position was his. Gehrig himself took the lineup card out to the shocked umpires before the game, ending the fourteen-year streak. Before the game began, the Briggs Stadium announcer told the fans, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first time Lou Gehrig's name will not appear on the Yankee lineup in 2,130 consecutive games." The Detroit Tigers' fans gave Gehrig a standing ovation while he sat on the bench with tears in his eyes. A wire service photograph of Gehrig reclining against the dugout steps with a stoic expression appeared the next day in the nation's newspapers. Gehrig stayed with the Yankees as team captain for the rest of the season, but never played in a major league game again.
Other articles related to "illness":
... Funeral service was held that afternoon ... The following day it was revealed that he had been consecrated a bishop ...
... mood and doing tantrums Sinusumpong ng (asthma, or any other illness) - the person is not in good mood because of a recurring illness, say, asthma ... Pasumpong-sumpong - a disease or an illness, such as allergy, that happens once in a while and quite unpredictable ...
... for drugs that might have caused Spencer's illness ... Thirteen suspects that the woman's illness is related to her drug use, but she then finds out that the woman has a long medical history and has seen several doctors over the past few ... When it is determined Spencer's illness, Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, is fatal, Thirteen volunteers to tell her, saying that no one should hear such a death sentence from the ...
... management strategy based on the observation that symptoms of the illness tend to increase following minimal exertion ... It is not aimed at treating the illness as a whole ... Those whose illness appears stable may gradually increase activity and exercise levels but according to the principle of pacing, must rest if it becomes clear that they have exceeded their limits ...
... Epidemiology is the scientific study of factors affecting the health and illness of individuals and populations, and serves as the foundation and logic of interventions made in the ... behavioral and biomedical knowledge relevant to health and illness ... requires the clinician to rate how much the patient's illness has improved or worsened relative to a baseline state ...
Famous quotes containing the word illness:
“Neurosis has an absolute genius for malingering. There is no illness which it cannot counterfeit perfectly. If it is capable of deceiving the doctor, how should it fail to deceive the patient?”
—Marcel Proust (18711922)
“... how I understand that love of living, of being in this wonderful, astounding world even if one can look at it only through the prison bars of illness and suffering! Plus je vois, the more I am thrilled by the spectacle.”
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“Men have their own questions, and they differ from those of mothers. New mothers are more interested in nutrition and vulnerability to illness while fathers tend to ask about when they can take their babies out of the house or how much sleep babies really need.”
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