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Assessing the structure and impact of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech

Jul 1, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

Gehrig_1

Friday marks the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech. It’s hard to think of any moment in baseball history of greater eloquence, emotion and grace:

Today Richard Sandomir has a fantastic feature on Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech over at Sports On Earth. He talks about both the original and Gary Cooper’s version from “Pride of the Yankees.” He discusses the structure of the speech itself, the ways it helped elevate Gehrig and how, in turn, Gehrig’s stature helped elevate the words. And how Cooper’s version, while cinematic, may have preserved the original in our cultural memory when it may have otherwise been forgotten.

You’ve seen or heard the speech several times. It’s neat to look at it from this new and interesting angle.

 

  1. raysfan1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    “The Pride of the Yankees”–still my favorite baseball movie.

  2. gothapotamus90210 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    “WFC!” quoting Chase Utley, gets my vote.

  3. baseballici0us - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    One of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard. Along with Jimmy Valvano’s ESPY speech are immortal in my opinion.

    Jimmy V’s Speech in case you’re curious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E

  4. chew1985 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Gehrig is baseball’s greatest hero, with acknowledgements to many others who came d*mn close. He was one of the strongest human beings ever-in every sense of the word.

    There were many stories written about him in his final years that you can find on the Google written by the toughest New York writers, especially Shirley Povich. Gehrig completely won them over as a man of dignity, even before his famous speech.

    Another gift to the sport was his unselfishness in complementing Ruth year after year in the batting line-up and allowing Ruth to gobble up the press coverage and solidifying baseball as the National Pasttime.

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