Lou Gehrig's consecutive game-playing streak came to an end on April 30, 1939. On that day, he went hitless against the Washington Senators. He had just played his 2,130th consecutive game.

On May 2, the next game after a day off, Gehrig approached manager Joe McCarthy before the game in Detroit against the Tigers and said, "I'm benching myself, Joe.''

Gehrig stayed with the Yankees as team captain for the rest of the season, but never played in a major league game again.

As Gehrig's debilitation became steadily worse, his wife, Eleanor, called Mayo Clinic, and her call was transferred to Charles William Mayo.

He told Eleanor to bring her husband in as soon as possible.

They flew to Rochester from Chicago, where the Yankees were playing at the time.

Gehrig arrived on June 13, 1939.

He was picked up at the airport by a Post-Bulletin sports writer named Joe Kernan.

Here is how Gehrig spent his week in Rochester, according to a brief chronology penned by Kernan and rewritten by former P-B columnist Greg Sellnow a few years ago.

Tuesday, June 13 — Gehrig checks in at the Kahler Hotel. A clerk asks him if he'd like to tour the rooms and pick out one he likes. "No,'' Gehrig responds. "I'm not fussy.''

Wednesday, June 14 — Mayo doctors begin a battery of tests. Gehrig pays a visit to a former teammate, Julian Wera, who is now living in Rochester. Newsmen and photographers jumped into a car and whizzed the national hero up to the Piggly Wiggly store, where the former Yankee rider of the hot corner was ''carving out a piece of beef steak for somebody's frying pan.''

Thursday, June 15 — Gehrig watches an adult softball game at Soldiers Field and is not impressed. "There's too much loafing in softball,'' he's quoted as saying. He also criticizes players for smoking on the bench and fraternizing with the opposing team. He gives a talk to youth players and signs their baseballs.

It is said he patiently signed autographs throughout his visit to Rochester.

Friday, June 16 — Tests continue, and Gehrig says an announcement about his condition will be coming soon.

Saturday/Sunday, June 17-18 — Gehrig takes a cruise of Lake Pepin with Mayo's Dr. Paul O'Leary, who would become a close friend. A much-anticipated announcement about Gehrig's medical condition has been delayed until Tuesday.

Monday, June 19 — On his 36th birthday, Gehrig visited a Boy Scout camp and attends a private dinner in his honor at the Kahler.

Tuesday, June 20 — Gehrig leaves Rochester. He tells reporters upon his departure that a diagnosis has been made but that it would be inappropriate for him to talk about it before speaking to the Yankees front office.

Wednesday, June 21 — It is announced in New York that Gehrig has a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It will be many months before fans learn that his condition is fatal.

Gehrig died on June 2, 1941. He was 37.

What's your reaction?

0
0
0
1
1